Last week, when we read the story about Earl Hicks, the Michigan man who reunited with his Vietnamese children after decades apart, we were touched and wanted to print the story and share it with our readers.
There is also a good lesson to be gleaned from it.
The story illustrates that if you have a loved one who is lost or missing, never give up hope in finding and reuniting with them.
As Asian Americans, many of us are only one or two generations established in the United States. Many of us still have family and relatives on the other side of the world. It is easy to lose touch with them, but this does not always have to be the case.
Though Hicks initially had no means of finding out where his children were and if they were safe, he never gave up hope. Likewise, his son and daughter, Thach and Thu Pham, also had no way of knowing whether their father was still alive, but they didn’t give up hope, either.
Their efforts paid off, and the family was recently reunited.
In our sister paper, the Seattle Chinese Post, people often post ads searching for information on lost friends or loved ones. We have a large Vietnamese population in Seattle, as well as a sizable Cambodian community in Tacoma.
Most of these individuals were refugees due to war. Refugees groups are known for having relatives and family members on both sides of the ocean, so it is evident that in our community, this is a prevalent issue.
So besides not giving up hope, what can we do?
We just celebrated Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day is just around the corner. Of course, these holidays are very commercialized, but so what? We don’t have to be jaded.
Why not use them as an opportunity to give thanks to the important people in our lives? Those days are as good as any.
Consider using new avenues to communicate. There is new technology nowadays to keep in contact with family far away. We no longer have to wait for letters to come in the mail or pay high prices for long distance phone calls.
Use the Internet to connect with one another, through e-mails, instant messaging, or better yet, by using a Web cam, where you can actually see your family members face-to-face.
After all, as shown in this week’s paper, Indonesia has recently hopped on the Facebook bandwagon and is allowing its citizens to use the site for networking.
Perhaps the best lesson to learn from Hicks’ story is that a happy ending is possible in these situations.
Of course, Hick’s case is not necessarily a typical one, as many other families do not get to reunite. But it illustrates that it can happen.
How many of us just give up hope because we think something is impossible? Are any of our situations seemingly more bleak than Hicks’?
Think about it this way: If someone else can get a happy ending, why can’t we?