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Vietnamese-American woman reunites with her sisters after 47 years of searching

11:34 | 15/07/2020

The miracle came to Margaret Tran, a Vietnamese woman living in California, the U.S at the right time she intended to give up the search for her birth family. "I always yearned for family love" and her desire came true thanks to a DNA test.

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Feeling birth mother’s warmth in just a few hours

Margaret Tran came into the world almost alone as her young birth mother gave her up to a stranger in Saigon when she was just a few hours old.

Until 1985 when Margaret’s adoptive mother applied to a program to bring children of the Vietnam War - born to U.S. soldiers - to America, Margaret knew her origin, according to ABC 7 News.

vietnamese american woman reunites with her sisters after 47 years of searching
The four sisters share the same father, Wayne but different mothers finally met. They talked with each other through Zoom as they still can not meet in-person Photo: ABC7 News

And then Margaret Tran was told the fateful meeting day between her and her adoptive mother. "She knocked on the door, my (adoptive) mom opened the door and she said, 'Do you want her? Can you take care of her?'" Margaret told Eyewitness News. "And so, she took me and held me in her hands and I was smiling at her. And she said, 'Well this is my lucky child, OK, I'm going to take her”, Margaret Tran said to Eyewitness News.

Margaret and her adoptive mother began a new life in the United States. Margaret graduated from Garden Grove High School and later joined the Army Reserves. She has an overwhelming love for her adoptive mother but always wonders of her birth parents. Did she still have family out there, somewhere?

"I did three or four different DNA tests and for 20 years nothing," said Margaret.

War rages, Love blooms... And then a family

It is reported by ABC 7 News that Staff Sgt. Wayne Franklyn served eight years in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War as part of the 46th Communications Squadron. Wayne learned to speak Vietnamese. He met and fell in love with an orphaned Vietnamese woman named Mai, 18. Wayne helped Mai to get her younger brothers out of an orphanage. They married in 1970 and had three daughters together.

vietnamese american woman reunites with her sisters after 47 years of searching
The photo of Margaret Tran and her adoptive mother Photo: ABC7 News

"In 1974, my father took my mother and three sisters to the US," said Teresa "Tree" Franklyn, the youngest sister. Lien Franklyn-Walt, the oldest sister shared she will never forget her family's wonderful memories in Vietnam. "What I remember most is always the beach, eating out, going to the market with my mom," says Lien.

"He did not like talking about the war," says middle child Wanda Warshauer. "He always wanted to go back there is what he told us."

Margaret's search journey for her birth family

Margaret's adoptive mother passed away in 2012. Despite being busy with work, Margaret now with two children never gave up hope that she'd find her birth family.

Twenty years had now passed since Margaret took her first DNA test in 2000. No matches, nothing to go on. "I was about to give up," she says.

“I asked my adoptive mother in heaven. Mom, please help me”. "And I think she answered my question, she was up there for real and was helping me", recalled Margaret.

Miraculously, in June, Margaret received good news thee DNA testing company 23andMe. Margaret's results coincided with a person named Rebecca.

But who is Rebecca?

Rebecca turns out to be Wayne's niece, the first cousin to Lien, Teresa, and Wanda.

vietnamese american woman reunites with her sisters after 47 years of searching
Wayne and Vietnamese woman, Mai married in 1970 and had three daughters together Photo: ABC7 News

The first person to be informed with good news in Mr. Wayne's family is the middle child, Wanda. She reminisced “Aunt Sandy called me and said, 'Wanda - you need to sit down, I have something important to tell you”.

"She shared that Rebecca had done the 23andMe and that it had connected with a first cousin who's half-Vietnamese, half-American... and it's not Lien, Wanda or Terry."

Margaret, meanwhile, right after connected to Rebecca, quickly untangled the family tree over Facebook and finally finding out her three sisters.

According to Teresa, Margaret messaged her and asked “I'm wondering if Ms. Mai and Mr. Wayne are my parents and you three are my sisters?”

And the truth is that all four women have the same father but different mothers.

The four women quickly connected over Facebook and within days were on a group Zoom call sharing stories and photos that show a striking family resemblance, added ABC News.

vietnamese american woman reunites with her sisters after 47 years of searching
The four sisters are looking forward to an in-person meeting day Photo: ABC7 News

Their father, Wayne, passed away in 2013, but the women believe he had a hand in bringing them together now and see a piece of him in each of their smiles.

"My father... the Franklyn trademark are the dimples, we all have the same dimples," says Wanda.

Lien, Wanda, and Teresa firstly worried about their mom’s reaction, but she instantaneously welcomed Margaret into the family. "She said, 'Oh my God - look at her beautiful face. She looks just like you, how can I not love her?”

"I can't believe that after 47 years, I finally met my birth family," says Margaret. "I was screaming out loud to the whole world”.

The four sisters are looking forward to an in-person meeting day because they live scattered across the U.S. in California, Missouri, Connecticut, and Maryland.

Margaret still continues searching for her birth mother with the only information- she is half-Vietnamese and half-Cambodian. But now, with assistance from her three new sisters, it is expected that her dream of living in a big family will come true soon.

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Malie Nguyen