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Above Trash

As Told By: Lynn Kim Do

A mixed Vietnamese girl name Diu Thi Do born from the war between a Vietnamese woman and American soldier have always felt like "trash", something to be thrown away. She was abandoned by her mother and never knew her father. She was raised by her grandmother in Vietnam. Then an opportunity arose because of the the Amerasian Homecoming Act, a bill passed by Congress that allowed children and their families to come to America to find their American father. Her mother and family took advantage of this bill to come to America -- she was the golden ticket. Decades later, with some luck, kind strangers, and the onset of the internet, she was able to reunite with her father. This is the story about how Diu finally rose above "trash". Told by her daughter -- Lynn Kim Do.


  • My Name is Lynn Kim Do
  • I am based in Jersey City, NJ, USA
  • This story is about my mom
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  • Childhood Address: Thủ Đức, VN
  • Departure Location: Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Departure Year: 1985
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  • Camp 2: Bataan (Philippines)
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  • Resettlement Location: South Plainfield, NJ 07080, USA
  • Resettlement Year: 1985
  • My Story

    Lynn [00:00:00] And when my mother was born, her mother didn't want her and her father disappeared. Her grandmother raised her.

    Mom [00:00:07] My grandmother funny, she said she picked me up from trash. Sometimes, I think I believe it. Because I'm not like her personality, I do not look like them. That's what I said.

    Lynn [00:00:17] It wasn't until my mother was 15 years old that her mother came back into her life because an opportunity arose. The Amerasian Homecoming Act, a bill passed by Congress that allowed children and their families to come to America to find their American father. And this opportunity laid solely in the hands of this 15 year old girl. So when she was 15, she got into a plane with four strangers, three half brothers that she met for the first time, and her mother.

    Mom [00:00:44] She did the paperwork and she mentioned about my father, Marvin Sorrell.

    Lynn [00:00:49] Her father's name, Marvin Sorrell. She had to memorize it like it was her birthdate, Social Security number. She didn't get another chance to find her father until 15 years later. She was 30 years old. She was doing the nails of a client, a client she didn't know very well. A TV show popped up.

    Mom [00:01:06] A person that found father or lost friend, or you know, on the TV show. And then I said, well, one day I'm going to go onto that show.

    Lynn [00:01:13] And the client goes. What do you know about him? His name is Marvin Sorrell. That’s all she knew, she didn't even know how to spell his name. One quick thing that's very important. This is the year 2000— Internet was a new fascinating thing. Yellow Pages still existed, home phones still existed. All of this came together and ended on a piece of paper that the client handed my mother. One name— Marvin Sorrell— five numbers underneath. She goes this is my chance to meet and find my father. First number a kid picked up — “I don't know who you’re talking about” —hangs up. On her second phone number, the Marvin Sorrell is too old. He passed away. The third one was too young, the fourth and fifth didn't check out, and she was really, really disappointed. And the next day she went to work. She told everyone the news. Then her coworkers and the clients in the salon goes—

    Mom [00:02:00] Why don't you call back the first number? It's just a little kid.

    Lynn [00:02:04] That night, she called again, a woman picked up. She goes,.

    Mom [00:02:09] Is Marvin Sorrel there. And she said, Yes.

    Lynn [00:02:12] Did he serve in the Vietnam War? Check! Was he 47 when he served? Check.

    Mom [00:02:16] I'm like excited and nervous

    Lynn [00:02:19] She handed the phone to her husband. My mom ran through the questionnaire again in which she said, Yes, ma'am.

    Mom [00:02:26] Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am, every word

    Lynn [00:02:27] He's Alabamian resident. She finally found her father. She got a chance to meet him for the very first time. And as she got to know him, talk to him face to face for the first time. She realized something —

    Mom [00:02:42] I realized my personality when I met him. So I can see me in him. So I'm feel like I'm not just a girl picked up from some trash.

    Lynn [00:02:53] She no longer came from trash. She believes that she came from someone this time.

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