TW// Amerasian Baby Abandoned, Adopted & Overcomes Obstacles To Open Allambie Orphanage

TW// abandonment, racism, physical and mental child abuse, death

This episode talks about topics that might make our audience uncomfortable. Please consider your own journey and safety. 

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Perfect for people with hearing issues or non-native speakers. This transcript is made by AI so is not 100% accurate.

[00:00:00] Niall Mackay: Thank you for joining us today. We are joined for this final episode by the founder of,

[00:00:06] Allambie orphanage,

[00:00:07] Vietnam during the Vietnamese war as a baby, she was found on the street and pleased in an

[00:00:13] orphanage.

[00:00:14] herself She’s Airmersain which is

[00:00:17] half Vietnamese and half black with an American soldier father. She was then adopted into a white English family, which unfortunately wasn’t as

[00:00:27] happy as hoped despite

[00:00:29] this difficult upbringing. She became a trained chef, gained a business degree and started a very successful beauty business, but she sold all of her possessions, including a 500,000 Ponant home and sports car to

[00:00:45] fund the Allambie orphanage

[00:00:47] here in Vietnam.

[00:00:48] I’m excited to share today the story of my guest, Suzanne Thi Hien hook. Thank you for joining us today.

[00:00:55] Suzanne Hook: Thank you for having me

[00:00:59] Niall Mackay: as a Scotsman. I don’t have many English people on the show, but I’ll, I’ll, I’ll let your English accent pass for today. That’s okay.

[00:01:09] It’s great. Good to hear a British accent. I don’t think I’ve had, I’ve not had an English person on the show for quite some time, you know, if ever I’m trying to think. No, not, and that’s not by design. I’m not one of these Scottish people that is anti English.

[00:01:23] Suzanne Hook: Oh, that’s good to hear.

[00:01:27] Niall Mackay: So how is England at the moment with obviously we’ve you, you guys have a comeback, a lockdown before we have, and everyone’s pretty much got the vaccination that wants it, right?

[00:01:37] Suzanne Hook: Yeah. I mean, lockdown is lifted now. I mean, we’ve all, most of us have had our second jobs. We’re now going for the boost to jobs.

[00:01:48] But yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s been tough, but with Glad’s becoming out the other end, basically, we’re just hoping that borrows allows us to have Christmas this year because we weren’t allowed to have Christmas last

[00:02:00] Niall Mackay: year. Yeah, that’s right. It wasn’t that it was good. It got kind of canceled at the very last minute, didn’t it?

[00:02:06] Yeah.

[00:02:06] Suzanne Hook: Yeah, it did. And it, yeah, it really upset a lot of people. So this year we’ll sort of on tender hooks. Is it going to be canceled? Hopefully not. Cause everybody had gone out and sourcing. I mean I bought laser feed and then it was all canceled. So yeah. But we’re, I I’m just pleased that we’re coming out the other round and you know, the government happened really great with the rollout, the jabs and everything say, yeah,

[00:02:35] Niall Mackay: That’s good to hear.

[00:02:36] Yeah. I don’t show, I don’t know how much you knew about the kind of situation here in Saigon in Vietnam, but we’ve just come out of a super lot bone as we call it, but there was nothing super about it. You know, we we couldn’t even leave the house. We were having groceries delivered either by the military or by volunteers and the vaccine rule, as you know, probably what it’s like here in Vietnam, it took a little while to get started, but then once it got started, it was just like, bang.

[00:03:01] I think, think someone told me what was the peak vaccination was like a million vaccines in one day or something crazy like that. So they, they just went for, well, let’s go.

[00:03:16] Let’s talk about,

[00:03:17] Allambie orphanage

[00:03:18] then tell is more about the orphanage that you started here.

[00:03:21] Suzanne Hook: Yeah, Allambie orphanage

[00:03:23] it. A lot of people ask me, you know, was it something that I’d always wanted to do?

[00:03:28] And the answer truthfully is no, it wasn’t on my radar. You know, I was happily, I was, I was married. And really it all came about because in 2006, I actually went back to Vietnam for the first time to see my country. And I, I went for just two week holiday and and fell in love with Vietnam. But hopefully when you only go there for a holiday, you only see the best parts.

[00:03:55] And so I decided to actually go back out there by myself with the blessing of my husband, he stayed back in the UK. So after the two week holiday, I then went back three months later, I actually spent a year in 2007 in Vietnam. And I did a TEFL course and taught English, but in between my spare time, I worked at two orphanages.

[00:04:20] So I worked at government run and the private run, and I realized that there was so many children still being abandoned. And I think the first time I walked into an orphanage, it was like somebody had smacked me in the face because it’s, it’s a sudden reality that, oh my God, this, this was me all those years ago in the wall.

[00:04:46] Just, you know, seeing these kids in an orphanage to sitting on the floor, looking blank, staring at the walls, not being motivated. And yeah, it was a wake up call and I, you know, it made me realize just how lucky I was. And then for the next couple of years, I kept in touch with the orphanages and would fly out, you know, every year and spend a month with the kids.

[00:05:15] And then on this particular, on my last visit, one of my last visit, which was in 2010, beginning of 2010, there was one child that I sort of got to know quite well, how English wasn’t that great. But you know, we kind of understood each other. And I remember having this conversation with her and saying, so how, you know, what are your dreams and ambitions?

[00:05:40] And she was 16 at the time. And she was like, she’s wanting to go to school and I want to go to college and I want to get tourism. And I want to work in a hotel, but that’s not going to happen because

[00:05:55] the orphanage was. The

[00:05:58] owner was basically using her slave labor to look after the babies. So she wasn’t allowed to go out and and she said, say, nobody loves me.

[00:06:09] Nobody cares about me. So I might as well go and kill myself. I was absolutely devastated and I just sort of sat there and I tried to convince her and myself that she had something to live for, but I realized that actually she didn’t and she asked me, you know, can you, can you not stay? Or can I come

[00:06:29] and live with you

[00:06:30] And I said, you know, I can’t because I have to go back to the UK to earn the money so I can come and see you. And, you know, after that conversation, I was actually leaving the very next day to get on, to go back to the UK. And I remember thinking goodbye to this young girl and trying to convince them not to do anything stupid.

[00:06:49] And, and I sat on that plane. That’s the UK. And as you know, the flight to the UK is about 14 hours this little time to be sitting on the plane. And all I could think about was this last conversation. And I literally got off the plane, got home, sat on the computer and the set up all night, doing research on orphanages and how to go about it.

[00:07:11] And I suddenly realized that actually, what I wanted to do was actually

[00:07:15] give this. girl Some hope.

[00:07:17] And I decided there, and then to actually open up my own orphanage, and then it was a case of how do I go about it? So me and my husband had already split up into 2009 and it was an amicable split, you know, and I always say, you know, there was three people in our marriage towards the end and it was always me, my ex-husband and Vietnam Vietnam was the other mistress because I’d fall in love with Vietnam.

[00:07:46] And and after 2007, when I came back to the UK, I really struggled to go back to my old way of life. And there was always that pool to Vietnam. And I always knew at some point I’d go back. I just didn’t know what, what capacity. And so in 2009, I made the actual decision to actually walk away from my marriage.

[00:08:10] It was one of the hardest things I I had to do and I, and we talked it through and I was very honest and we were both very honest with each other. And I said to my ex-husband, you know, I, I need to go back to Vietnam. I want to go back to Vietnam. I don’t know as what I’m going to do, but I don’t want to have to choose between new and Vietnam.

[00:08:34] I don’t want to get to the point where I started to get resentful. And so I told him I wasn’t happy. And so, you know, we’re very, we’re very open and honest and we both decided to walk away from each other, but it was still very important that we remain friends, which we have done. So as I’m sitting there, you know, in, into the beginning of 2010, during my research, I decided that I wanted to open up my own orphanage.

[00:08:59] And I could have done it a couple of ways. I could have gone down the NGA route and or I could gone down the company route and got a corporate company to sponsor me. But actually I decided if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this all myself, the way I want to do it. And so the only way to do that was to actually fund it myself.

[00:09:19] So I

[00:09:19] remember phoning ex-husband

[00:09:21] and asked him to come around because I was still

[00:09:23] living in the marital home. He

[00:09:26] came round and I sat him down unless they’d let you know, you know, I’ve just come back from Vietnam. And he was like, yeah, yeah, how’s the trip. And I said, yeah, it was great, blah, blah, blah. And I said, well, I’ve decided I know what I want to do with my life now.

[00:09:37] And he’s like, what’s that? And I said, I want to open up my own orphanage and I’ve decided I’m going to fund it myself. And so I need to sell the house. And he was just like, Okay. All right. And he’s like, if that’s what you want to do, let’s do it. And and that’s, you know, that was what my relationship with my ex-husband was like, we were very much still together in, as in supporting each other.

[00:10:04] And so we literally, for about a month, we researched everything. I decided to sell the house and the home and the car. So put that on sale. And then I literally flew back to Vietnam four weeks later just to see this, this little girl. And and I told her what I was doing. I said, look, I’m actually going to come back for you.

[00:10:29] Give me six months. I still give myself a deadline, six months. I’ll be back out. I’m going to get you away from the orphanage now. And I know I’m going to support you. I’m going to get you into school. And that’s what I did. So I got home and moved from the orphanage. We got her into a little room and I paid for it and we got her into school.

[00:10:48] I then flew back to England and then literally those six months, but just a of six months. Cause it was, it was like having to get a website up and running. I’ve got no idea how to do a website. So I literally just went on Facebook on my Facebook page and I said, does anybody know how to do a website?

[00:11:09] This is what I’m doing. And the thing is I I’m a very private person. So, you know, I’d been supporting these orphanages for the last couple of years, very privately. So to suddenly, you know, have to sort of go onto Facebook and say, look, I need help because I’m doing, this was a huge thing for me. And luckily.

[00:11:30] A guy came forward, who was actually with another Vietnamese adoptee girl. He happened to be a web designer. And so we met up and he decided my website for free. And then he came on board the charity as well. And it’s just one of those things. It’s like, you know, bowling alley, where you throw a ball down the alley and suddenly, you know, you, you have this idea and then suddenly everything clicks into place.

[00:11:55] You know, you get a strike and suddenly all these people come forward and, and it’s kind of like, you know, we want to support you. We’ll help you. And so six months later it was kind of it actually, I couldn’t believe just how everything fell into place. And I, you know, I got the perfect cash buyer and, you know, solve my car straight away.

[00:12:17] And literally six months later, I was literally getting on the plane to Vietnam of just a suitcase and a laptop and a vision in my head. Cause there was only so much you can do or planning. And you know, we kind of planned everything on paper. You know, we got the charity registered in the UK. I’d done a lot of media and press, which came as a surprise to me cause I really didn’t think anybody would be interested in suddenly I was catapulted into the sort of media forefront, which was quite daunting.

[00:12:50] And again, that came about because I was selling my house and suddenly, you know, my, my estate agent put this ad in this sort of ad in the paper saying, you know, mad English woman decides to sell house to going up, open up loft niche. And and then media girl who just lived in the same area, saw it and then contacted me and said she worked for ITV and could she come interview me?

[00:13:16] And I was like, Ooh. And then it just snowballed from there and say, you know, suddenly, you know, I was kind of in the press and for me, that was, that was quite daunting. And yeah, and then I, I literally arrived in Vietnam. And then I actually went and got the young girl the very next day I have to make, when I got to Vietnam and I sat in the hotel, I literally just burst into tears.

[00:13:41] Cause I was like, what have I done? I’ve left all my friends to go and do this thing. This is too much for me. And and then I went and got her the next day. And then literally it was just, you know, a hundred percent full speed ahead. A month later we got the Lambie house and and then, you know, moved Sharyn moved the young girl in and and then built up from there and, and you know, and so far we’ve put 13 kids through school.

[00:14:16] Some have gone on to college. They’ve all discovered their own dreams and passions. And the thing is a Lamby orphanage was not like any other orphan there’s. A lot of orphanages in Vietnam are very big, very institutionalized and have, you know, on average between 40 and a hundred kids. To me, obviously I had to do within my means, you know, I wasn’t, I mean, a lot of people think I was a millionaire, but I, I certainly wasn’t a millionaire.

[00:14:47] I had a certain amount of money and, you know, and I had to be able to support these kids with that money. And and yeah, and it, it was kind of, I want,

[00:14:58] I wanted Allambie to be a home

[00:15:00] most, most importantly, I think for me being a Vietnamese orphan myself and being adopted and the fact that my adoption wasn’t great.

[00:15:11] The thing is with

[00:15:14] any adopted kid, any

[00:15:15] foster kid, Any street kid. The most important thing for us is actually as the sense of being wanted we all want to belong and that’s not, you know, everybody, I would say that’s, you know, once the sense of wanting to be wanted and wanted to belong. And you know, I wanted to create a safe home environment for these kids and a home where they knew they were safe, they knew they were loved.

[00:15:45] And that was very important to me.

[00:15:49] Niall Mackay: We’ve shared some emotional stories on this podcast,

[00:15:52] And I’ve, I saved myself from being reduced to tears, but I was as close as I’ve ever been. And I’m as close as I’ve ever been right now to being reduced to tears on this.

[00:16:03] It’s really beautiful. And your story of this girl that you’re here.

[00:16:06] I’m not going to lie. I thought I was going to go in a different direction as Pauly while I was in TSA. I was like, oh my God, please tell me this girl is okay. So the fact that you were able to get, get back and,

[00:16:16] And help a sixteen-year-old that was being a piece of the TV, like a sleeve is beautiful.

[00:16:20] So that’s incredible.

[00:16:23] Unbelievable story. So we’ve touched on that a little bit. Do you want to go back and then share with the listeners, if you feel comfortable about your adoption and what happened after being, as I said, in the introduction you were found on the street after the war?

[00:16:39] Suzanne Hook: Yeah. I mean, the thing is a lot of people when, you know, when they say, when they find out I’m adopted and I think this is the reaction to most people.

[00:16:52] When you say you adopted, so I need to cough. Sorry. When you say, when you say you adopted. The reaction is, oh, isn’t that lovely? Your parents must be lovely people. You must’ve had a lovely childhood. And I have to say no, because to me, adoption is very much like a lottery ticket. You don’t know the family, your getting If you get this ticket and you’re either going to get the golden ticket and you’re going to get an amazing family, or you’re going to get the booby prize and get a terrible family. Sadly for me, I got a booby prize. Now I was born in 1969. Not even sure if that’s actually my, my actual year.

[00:17:41] Because the thing is I was born in the height of the Vietnam.

[00:17:45] War I was found quite young underneath a Bush as a baby by a policemen. This is what I’ve been told by policemen and taken to the nearest orphanage in Saigon, which at the time was called the can. The orphanage itself is still there. It’s now actually the home for the blind people where they do blind, blind,

[00:18:15] Massages.

[00:18:17] And the buildings are being used exactly the same, but in the war, it was actually called Hawaii to can. And because I’m mixed race, you know, as we all know the Vietnam war, the Americans got involved and,

[00:18:36] you know, in war there’s always casualties, you know, there’s injuries. And the Vietnam war, the other casualty was actually orphan children. And with a mixed race children, we weren’t actually wanted because with mixed race children, obviously our skin is darker. Our Hair is different. And you know, some Vietnamese saw the American, the Americans coming in as not a good thing.

[00:19:10] And so everything connected to the Americans was seen as bad. And, you know, there was a lot of children that were produced in the war. And for us being in the orphanage, we were always the last to get food. We’re always the last to be looked after. Luckily for me, some English nurses,

[00:19:29] We’re connected to a religious organization, came to Vietnam and the war, and actually starts to look after us children realize the lows, the children here that have been orphaned, let’s say certain word back to the UK saying, you know, these children need to be adopted.

[00:19:49] Now, when you’re found on the street, you know, I was literally found in the street, taken, see orphanage. I was white. I was given a birthday. I was given a name and that was my identity. So up to this day, I still don’t know my real birthday. I still don’t know my real name.

[00:20:08] And that’s something that I have to live with.

[00:20:11] And that’s really hard because when you tell it your identity, you really don’t know who you are. Also. The fact that I don’t know how I was conceived, you know, I was either conceived by love from a Vietnamese woman to an American soldier. My mother was either a prostitute and got pregnant, or my mother was raped and those are the three scenarios.

[00:20:38] And I’m being very brutal here,

[00:20:40] Because I have to be, I have to be very realistic with me and my backgrounds and, and so that’s something I’ve had to live with. So when I got adopted, it became very big news in the UK and to my, my adoptive parents were linked to this rigid religious organization. So they came forward and said they want to adopt a Vietnamese girl.

[00:21:09] It all went through, took a couple of years. So I actually arrived in the UK in 1972 at the age of three. Now I can’t actually remember my arrival.

[00:21:22] I was in the newspapers because I was messing with airports. So there’s photographs,

[00:21:27] And again, the media interest and growing up, my, my adopted parents were both whites.

[00:21:36] My dad is Irish and my mom is English and they had two kids on their own. And then they adopted me. And then a year later they actually adopted another Vietnamese baby from a different orphanage.

[00:21:50] But growing up, my parents were very religious and I would say fanatical to the point where they were in my mind,

[00:22:08] religion was everything. And so growing up for me was very, very hard in a religious environment. My mom was very much in control of the house and growing up, both all my siblings turned to Christianity and became born again, Christians. And for some reason I didn’t, I just, I just kind of rebelled against them to the point where my mum in public would call me Suzanne.

[00:22:44] Cause that was the name that they had given me as my English name,

[00:22:50] at home, I was called devil. child And every time I was naughty, every time I upset her, it was literally, you are the devil’s child and she would literally scream in my face. Your mother didn’t want you, the Vietnamese nurses didn’t want you you’re Rick’s you’re mixed race You’re ugly. You’re this you’re that nobody wanted you.

[00:23:15] We say you should be grateful. You should thank us. And this is how you, you pay us. And that was literally my life. And so I left home at 18.

[00:23:27] Sometimes a lot of the time my mom would hit me,

[00:23:30] Would often not feed me.

[00:23:33] And it wasn’t until years and years later that I realized that it was actually child abuse that I went through.

[00:23:40] But the thing is when you grow up in an environment, a new. Sheltered from the outside world, because I wasn’t allowed to mix with non-Christian religious people. So my violent was very enclosed and it wasn’t until I left home 18 that I sort of saw the bigger worlds on the outside. And it was, it was an eye opener.

[00:24:04] But those years of my adoptive parents were horrific. And, and I’m not going to go into detail as to how horrific, but that’s basically the gist of it.

[00:24:15] And, and so, you know, for me, my adoption, wasn’t great.

[00:24:19] I never felt. In fact, my mother never told me she loved me.

[00:24:23] She, she only ever hugged me once in my whole life.

[00:24:26] And that was when I was age 21 when she did finally hug me. And because she’d never heard me before, I didn’t know how to react. And at the age of 21 to finally have your mom hug me and I still don’t know to this day, what she did it.

[00:24:38] But you know, with my other siblings, she treated them differently because they had given their life to God and they were Christians.

[00:24:45] And so they were the chosen ones and they were special.

[00:24:48] And was I on the other hand? Didn’t and it was kind of, she tried every single way to sort of make me become a Christian and every single way I, I rebelled. And even though, you know, it would have been, my life would have been far easier if I had just conformed, but I think there’s always been that.

[00:25:14] Independent fighting streak in me.

[00:25:17] Even from the days in the orphanage, when my nurses would write to my,

[00:25:23] Parents in England telling them of their child, they were adopting. And then those letters that were things that I look back and, and it was like, you know, she’s got, you know, this, this little baby is very, she’s a fighter, she’s done this and she’s done that.

[00:25:37] And so I have always been very truthful with myself to the fact that I, I won’t conform just to make other people happy. And so if it means I’m standing on the Elta circle, then I’d rather do that. And I always say that I am unique.

[00:25:59] I don’t want to be a copy. Why would I want to be a copy of everybody else?

[00:26:03] Why would I want to follow other people?

[00:26:06] I am in charge of my aim book. I couldn’t write the beginning, but you know, I can write the ending and I came right in the middle. And as soon as I left home, I worry, I rewrote that book to the way that I wanted it to be.

[00:26:25] Niall Mackay: I never liked to give, you know, meaningless, empty platitudes.

[00:26:29] And so it was probably doesn’t mean anything, but I am so, so sorry to hear that. And,

[00:26:34] And it just makes me sure. It’s all mad and sort, sort of sad,

[00:26:37] Because you all right. You know, like what you said right at the beginning about adoption. And then it’s the kind of theory to movie version is like, oh my God, you’ve been adopted.

[00:26:44] That’s so amazing. And yeah, it doesn’t always tell, know that.

[00:26:48] I mean, as a, as a, I like to think as a seen normal person, I just can’t comprehend why any human being would act that way. Do you still have a relationship with your parents?

[00:27:01] Suzanne Hook: No, I don’t.

[00:27:02] My, my adopted mom,

[00:27:05] About 18 years ago and funnily enough, you know, she got breast cancer.

[00:27:11] I’d actually stopped talking to my parents at that point. And then I found out she’d got breast cancer.

[00:27:18] And I actually went to see them and then she had the operation and had the breast removed and then she got second weekends.

[00:27:30] And then we were told she had brain tumors and there was nothing that could be done.

[00:27:37] And even though my mom wasn’t really speaking to me, what I decided to do was I actually gave up my job that I was doing at the time. And I actually nursed her until she passed away. And a lot of people ask me why. And to this day, I can’t really say why. It was more of a case of my adoptive mom. Religion was everything to her.

[00:28:06] And she was, she was a very shy person outside of religion. And she was never comfortable in a room full of strangers. If you spoke to her about Christianity, she was, she could speak to the cows, came home. And so for my mom, I just, I just didn’t want her to die in a room full of strangers and. Because she had these brain brain tumors and our body was shutting down.

[00:28:35] She, I got her moved to a hospice and yeah, unsafe about four weeks. I went in everyday. I fed her, I washed her,

[00:28:52] Sat with her and you could see that her brain was shutting down slowly. And, and, and when, you know, when it comes to somebody dying, you know, that they do say to you, do you want to be there?

[00:29:08] And it’s, you know, it’s not something that you really want to do. You don’t want to actually see someone die.

[00:29:14] But I said yes, because I really didn’t want her to die in her own. And my family, my dad, my Christian dad said, no, my siblings.

[00:29:29] My younger brother who was adopted, said yes. And on the day she died, I’d been with her for most of the day. And then I left once I’d fed her. And as I was driving home, I got the phone call to say that she’d deteriorated very quickly, couple of hours later. And so, you know, they said she, I don’t think she’s going to make the nice, so I actually drove back to the hospice and I stayed with her.

[00:30:00] They contacted my brother. My brother said he would be there. He never turned up. And so. At the end. It was literally me and my mom and I sat there and I held her and I thought, how ironic is this? If my mom knew, because obviously everything had been shot down in her brain. She wasn’t there. She was just, you know, you’re a skeleton and just surviving.

[00:30:26] And, and, and I just thought if my mom knew that the devil’s child was the only person here holding her and the so-called Christian people in my family were not here. She would be, I don’t know what her reaction would have been, you know, would she still be calling me the devil’s child? And yeah, I, I watched her pass away and I held her while she died.

[00:30:57] And,

[00:30:58] And oh, after she died, I then find the rest of my family and said, she’s past. And a lot of people say to me all, you know, was it science and you, it, it was sad, but not in the reasons that you would think it was sad because I knew that

[00:31:23] she died and I knew that she died and I never knew she loved me.

[00:31:36] Niall Mackay: So, sorry,

[00:31:40] obviously, strong,

[00:31:41] Person. And,

[00:31:42] It’s incredible that you did that, as you said, everyone’s question is why, so I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t ask you though. Do you want to take a break at this point? You okay.

[00:31:57] So, were you able to make any sense of why she acted this way? Because to me, I can’t, I can’t understand it at all.

[00:32:09] Suzanne Hook: No, never have I met after my, after my mom died, I didn’t speak to my adoptive parents. Didn’t speak to my dad and didn’t really speak to my brothers and sisters after that.

[00:32:22] At the funeral, a lot of people saying, oh, you must miss your mom.

[00:32:25] And I said, no, I don’t. I said, because she was never the mom that I had wanted, you know, she’s not the mum that you envisage as adopted child, you know, as you say, in the Hollywood films like Annie and that, you know, they go off and they find their parents and they live happily ever after that, didn’t actually happen with me and say,

[00:32:45] I, I’m always honest with people.

[00:32:47] I say, no, I don’t miss her.

[00:32:48] I feel very cheated the fact that she was never the mom that I wanted her to be, that she should’ve been, and that for her to actually admit, she loved me, I would have to conform to her way of thinking and that’s me, it’s not love.

[00:33:06] And so for me, with my orphan Allambie orphanage kids, it was very important to me that they knew that I loved them unconditionally and that no matter what they did, I would always be there for them.

[00:33:22] And I would always love them. And so, you know, I always made sure I told them they were beautiful they were handsome. They were clever, even when they failed their exams, I was like, okay, you know, I’m still proud of you.

[00:33:34] You tried your best and I still love you and say, you know, maybe next time let’s just try and aim for one point, you know,

[00:33:40] And that’s something that’s very important because I, what I did with my Allambie kids was I literally did everything with them that I had wanted from my adoptive parents.

[00:33:52] And so I took the idea in my head and I transformed it and put it into reality. And,

[00:33:59] And you know, in, in these Hollywood movies, you see the mom starts and we have brushes around the kitchen and stupid things like that. And that is exactly what we did at Lamby. You know, it was a very happy place, you know, I’m not saying my kids were angels because they weren’t, you know, when you, when you put those in kids from different backgrounds, with our own issues from their past.

[00:34:28] At times it was hard. And then other times, you know, the house was just full of laughter and, and that, to me, it was very important. And so after my mom died, I kind of thought beating myself up about, you know, why did they do this and why did they adopt me? And, and just realize that actually, I don’t know, you know, that, that also died with her and my dad’s, I didn’t speak to him.

[00:34:58] So I just decided that actually, do I really need that old? So, you know, I know who I am and I know the people that are in my life that love me for who I am, and these are my friends and other people that I kind of adopted as my own parents.

[00:35:18] And that was enough.

[00:35:22] Niall Mackay: That’s an amazing viewpoint. And it’s a meeting that you can find that after going through such a traumatic upbringing.

[00:35:31] And again, I’m just so sorry that you had to do that, you know, on a personal level. Obviously I hate that we’re all such selfish human beings, but it makes me think about myself.

[00:35:41] And I had,

[00:35:42] Makes me realize even more what,

[00:35:44] You got me going,

[00:35:51] you know, what makes me realize what an amazing upbringing that I had? You know, like any kid I’d have tough times, we didn’t have the most money and things like this, but,

[00:36:00] I guess your description makes me realize you don’t realize that. The opposite could be. So you have that. And so maybe anyone listening might realize is, well, it makes me want to, you know, call up my mom and be like, yeah, thank you.

[00:36:17] So,

[00:36:18] Yeah, I can’t imagine. And it’s amazing that you’re able to turn that round into something. Sure. Positive with the orphanage. I was going to ask Leo. So you went to Vietnam for the first time, 2007, you said 2006, 2006. What were your opinions then of Vietnam before 2006,

[00:36:42] Suzanne Hook: before 2006, to be honest, my opinion of Vietnam was very negative because of my upbringing.

[00:36:51] I was quite, I was ashamed that I was. Adopted. I was ashamed that I was Vietnamese. I was ashamed that I was half black.

[00:37:00] I was ashamed of my skin color.

[00:37:04] And so, you know, when I was growing up, when I left home, I didn’t really tell people that I was adopted. I was just, you know, I’m Suzanne, didn’t talk about Vietnam, never acknowledged my Vietnamese name because when you, when you’re in that environment and you’re growing up and you’re being told, like, you know, no one’s wants you.

[00:37:29] You’re ugly. You’re mixed race. And, and you know, you actually start believing that you are doing, you are stupid. You are this, you are that. And so when you’ve been ingrained for years and years and your self-esteem and your confidence is very light.

[00:37:49] Because of that, you know, I went into relationships with an understanding of, I wasn’t bothering, you know, I wasn’t worthy of love. I wasn’t worthy of, you know, nice things.

[00:38:03] And you know, some relationships were very abusive and even they, for years, even though when I left home, I was still trying to get my mom and dad to love me.

[00:38:18] And I tried and I tried and the tried,

[00:38:19] And so for me, growing up, Vietnam was never a good thing. Never. And then often my mom died. I felt that I was released from that. And then I decided to actually go and see Vietnam for myself. And I was very apprehensive. And I also thoughts that. That would be people that look like me because the thing is when you grow up in a white environments, you know, I went to a white school and in those days it was like, there was one Asian, one Chinese, one bark in a, and it was very white dominated my whole life, you know, within the church, it was very white dominated.

[00:39:07] And so I grew up with a very confused identity. Cause I didn’t know if I was, what do I call myself because I certainly am not white. And it was quite obvious. I was different for my adoptive parents and family.

[00:39:24] And I’m not, I usually look in, but I’m also not black looking. And so. I didn’t know what to call myself.

[00:39:36] And so when I went to Vietnam for the first time, I assumed that I’d get off the plane and that’d be laser people that looked like me. And I would finally feel that I belong somewhere, got off the plane, walked out. And so the heat that suddenly hits you. And you’re like,

[00:39:56] Niall Mackay: I remember that first time as well.

[00:39:57] Suzanne Hook: Yeah. And then you just see these, these rows and rows of Vietnamese people waiting at the airport and like literally scans all their faces and no one the black me and I felt a huge disappointment because it was suddenly a shock of reality that still no one looks like me and that’s two weeks, it was an emotional journey.

[00:40:31] ’cause I asked you what, you know, actually wasn’t visited my old orphanage, which was called a Lamby.

[00:40:37] Cause I was in two orphanages. I was in Hawaii to camp first and then move to another orphanage, full preparation for the flight to the UK. And that was called a Lamby. And when I went back to Vietnam in 2006, it was just, I just, I don’t know, it was like this magical place that I’d always sort of been in the back of my mind and it was the place that I was born and it was a place that.

[00:41:15] Had a huge part in my beginnings, but I actually knew nothing about it. Couldn’t remember anything about it. So I was going in with very fresh open eyes and it was just, wow. You know, all these motor bikes, the smells, the sounds, it was just intoxicating. And, and yeah, it was just, even though I still didn’t see anybody that looked like me and I realized that I most probably would never meet anybody that looked like me, but I literally fell in love with Vietnam and it wasn’t, it suddenly wasn’t this big Sort of stigma. And so that’s why I decided to go back three months later to actually live there because for me, I needed to understand my background. I needed to try and come to terms with it. And so that’s what I did. And that year that I lived in Vietnam, I immersed myself in the Vietnamese culture. I made sure that I didn’t live in an expat area.

[00:42:25] I lived within the Vietnamese areas

[00:42:31] so that I could understand Vietnam. I could understand the culture. I slowly, may friends of Vietnamese people who I still am friends with even now, all these years later.

[00:42:46] And I can honestly say that year I went on an emotional roller coaster of feelings of discovery of myself. And at the end of that, I actually came to terms with my past and I was actually really proud to turn around and say, do you know what my name is? Suzanne Thi Hien Hook and I’m half black American, this is who I am.

[00:43:15] Take it or leave it.

[00:43:16] And yeah, it

[00:43:19] Niall Mackay: was

[00:43:21] Suzanne Hook: say for me that, you know, going back in 2006 was the beginning of my journey, which then led me. To this young girl, which then led me to like, not the orphanage, say, you know, things happen for a reason. You don’t know at the time why these things happen, but my mom dies.

[00:43:45] It gave me the relief to go back to my country. And I, and I am very proud to say that I am Vietnamese and people say to me, do you class yourself as Vietnamese? Or do you class yourself as blight? I class myself as Vietnamese because that’s where I was born. I acknowledged I am black. My dad’s they say is a black American soldier.

[00:44:09] So I,

[00:44:12] I’m a little Dolly mixture, as I say, you know, I’m, I’m lots of little things and that’s what makes me unique because I am not like anybody else. I’m not a copier. And I am proud to be that.

[00:44:26] Niall Mackay: For anyone who’s watching on YouTube, and if you’re listening to this, you won’t be able to see the smile is beaming on my face.

[00:44:32] Because this has been just our emotional to listen to. And I knew some of this background, but to hear it from you as I was being emotional, but to hear you see this so proudly and so strongly, my name is Suzanne TN hook,

[00:44:45] And accepting who you are. It’s just, it’s, that’s just amazing to listen to you say that and to hear the strength in that, and obviously to heal that it must have been such a cathartic experience to come here.

[00:44:57] And,

[00:44:57] And I’m glad that you’ve had that and you’ve been able to deal with it in that way. So,

[00:45:01] Yeah, that is just amazing. I could just hear the strength in your voice there saying that.

[00:45:05] So that’s beautiful and I love that you call it a Dolly mix-up or a Dolly mixture because a lot of our listeners are not from the UK, so they wouldn’t even know what a Dolly mixture.

[00:45:14] Just a bag of candy, a bag of candy made up of all sorts of different candy, but that is a incredible that you’ve accepted that. And you can see that so proudly. No. And my last question on that is

[00:45:26] have you,

[00:45:27] you know,

[00:45:27] with DNA

[00:45:28] and all of this stuff, technologies we have these days,

[00:45:31] have you ever made any attempts to track down either your mother or father, or is that even possible?

[00:45:36] I don’t know.

[00:45:39] Suzanne Hook: I have tried. Yeah, I’ve done my DNA I’ve done my DNA tests on ancestry,

[00:45:44] And other DNA sites. And it’s for Vietnamese. Adoptee it’s a very personal decision. And it’s one that I would, when I would say to people when they’re going to do it be prepared because it is a roller coaster of emotions.

[00:46:13] And for me when I did it for years, I’ve I, you know, I thought about it, but then I was always too busy and I was doing the orphanage. And, and as the orphan, just coming to an end, I decided, well, I moved out now, let’s just, let’s do this. You know? Cause what I don’t want to do is, is have to leave and then find out all these years later that my mom was actually there.

[00:46:41] So I did this DNA test and

[00:46:49] a lot of people try to help me. And,

[00:46:57] and

[00:46:57] there was one point where I thought I’d found my mother in Vietnam and.

[00:47:12] And then found out that actually this woman wasn’t my mother and I was completely and utterly crushed. I then also found, I haven’t quite found my American father. We’re not hundred percent sure if the family that I have found is the family, but again, disappointment. And it’s, it’s, it’s one of those things that I always say, when you go and do a DNA test, you are actually open up Pandora’s box.

[00:47:53] And when you open up Pandora’s box, you have to deal with the consequences of that. May that be good or bad?

[00:48:06] For me, the whole experience was exhausting. It was emotional. It had highs and lays at the end. It just came as a big disappointment and a lot of heartbreak. And so after that, I then decided that actually I couldn’t mentally cope with that because I was so upset and heartbroken that I have decided to actually stop looking.

[00:48:44] I may go back through it in a couple of years when I feel that I can emotionally cope with it, but mentally it does completely screw you up.

[00:48:55] So I would say to anybody who does a DNA test and wants to try and find that birth mother and birth father. Make sure you have a really good support mechanism around you,

[00:49:12] which I, I didn’t really have because I had a couple of friends in Vietnam, but again, it’s one of those things that they find they don’t really understand when you’re adopted. They don’t understand how important this is, because for yourself like your, you know, your birth mother, you know, your birth father, they tell you stories of all, you know, when you were younger, you did this when you were, you know, I don’t have any of that.

[00:49:46] And so for me, it’s like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box. And you are just picking up pieces and trying to see if they fit. Sadly for me, none of the pieces fitted. And so I still have this box with no picture and maybe one day when I’m strong enough and mentally I can cope with it, then I may go back to sweat.

[00:50:11] But right now, no. And say, I just, I just have to come to terms the fact that I may never know.

[00:50:20] My real parents may never find those answers, but for me, I have the people in my life that I call family. I have my Lambie kids. I have a good support mechanism and that. That’s all I need at the moment. And I’m happy with my life and I don’t need to find my birth mother or my birth father to, to say that I am Vietnamese.

[00:50:52] I don’t need that. I know who I am and my birth mother, for whatever reason gave me up. I have no I’m not angry at her. I’m not disappointed at her. She has a reasons. And because of that, I was given a second chance and flow now safety. And so even though my childhood was crap, I still was given a home. I still had a roof over my head I still had a chance of an education. And years later I took that and I used that and I turned it around and say for that, I am grateful for my Vietnamese mother leaving me because if she hadn’t, I don’t know where I would be.

[00:51:48] Niall Mackay: Well, you know, I didn’t want to actually ask that question, but you answered it without me having to ask, I was gonna ask, have you, do you have, basically what you just said, they will have you kind of weighed up and be like, you just answered that despite having a crap upbringing, are you still thankful in a way for, you know, like you said, getting the education and getting the chance to where you all know.

[00:52:13] So,

[00:52:14] Thank you for answering it without me asking, because it’s thank you so much for sharing this story. It’s a, I can’t imagine how tough it is to come on with some random Scottish guy that you’ve never met and share this story and with our listeners. And I know they will be really, really great. To hear this, as I said, it’s something that we’ve never intended with this season over the last couple of seasons, it’s becoming more and more to the forefront on this podcast, as we speak to more and more people.

[00:52:41] And similar to, like you said yourself, about you kind of going back there and I’m going back to Vietnam and reconnecting with your roots. This is something that we’re finding out through this podcast. And just through general life, that’s becoming a really common path. No, for,

[00:52:56] Kind of first-generation Vietnamese children whose families left either because they were Vietnamese boat people or because they were, you know, they left after the war or for whatever reason that they left the country, the parents of Vietnamese, but they were born in another country.

[00:53:11] So obviously UK Germany, Switzerland, America, we’ve had all these people on the show and a lot of them come back to Vietnam because they want to reconnect with the roots. So even though they didn’t have the same path as you and were adopted, they were still born and brought up in a different country.

[00:53:28] And knew they were Vietnamese, but didn’t really know what that meant. And so came back and the common thing that I hear from all of these guests that come on is their parents are just like, why are you going back to Vietnam? Because you know, they left and they can understand why they would want to do that.

[00:53:46] But,

[00:53:46] It makes complete sense why you would want to reconnect with your roots. And it’s so amazing to hear that you did, and you you’re proud of that and you’re proud Vietnamese or,

[00:53:54] Again, thank you so, so much for sharing this.

[00:53:56] One of the, I remember years ago when I first came here in Vietnam, I was making, talking on Reddit and a comments thread about being in Vietnam.

[00:54:05] And some guy asked me this question and it was from a good place, but it seemed like the most ignorant question, everyone. Oh, do you see lots of like a marriage when you’re over there in Vietnam? And I’m like, dude, the war was like 50 years ago, man. Like how many people do you think walking into.

[00:54:21] You know,

[00:54:22] Mayor Asian and it’s I think just because we’re Americans and we’re not the Vietnam war is still so fresh that they think that that’s that’s life here.

[00:54:30] Whereas life moved on a very long time ago.

[00:54:36] Suzanne Hook: Yeah. I mean, the thing is with the Vietnam war there w there are still lots of Amerasian in Vietnam. And after the Vietnam war, you know, when the north fondly caps at the south, you know, the orphanage were all closed very, very quickly.

[00:54:56] And the children that weren’t adopted, especially the admirations would kind of dumped on the streets and I’ve the years you’ve had the American comeback and, and, you know, And acknowledge that there was loads of Emma, Rachel babies, and children.

[00:55:14] And then you had, I think it was in 1985. Don’t quote me on that. But 1985, where they thought to allow the MRA patients, children, if they could prove that they had an American father, blah, blah, blah, to,

[00:55:32] File papers, to go to America and get citizenship and stuff. And the thing is, years later, when I was running the orphanage, I was lucky enough to actually meet some Vietnamese,

[00:55:53] Orations that were still in Vietnam.

[00:55:57] And that to me was my, I, I, I. Because,

[00:56:06] and, and, you know, I mean, I have been asked this question before, you know, do you think if you want adopted, what would your life be in Vietnam if you hadn’t been adopted, do you think it would have been better? And for me, I’ve always said, I don’t know. I finally got those answers years later when I met the amortizations and you know, I talk a lot about a sense of belonging because to me that’s very important because I don’t really belong in the, in the black community.

[00:56:45] I don’t, we belong in the Vietnamese community. I certainly didn’t belong in my family because I don’t look Asian. I don’t look black. I don’t look Y and it’s kind of, you know, where do I see.

[00:56:56] This opportunity came where I suddenly, you know, fitting a wedding in this room full of admiration, children, adults now from the wall, all various ages.

[00:57:11] And I literally sat there and it was like all various shapes, but there were people that looked a bit like me, not exactly like me, but they, you know, they, they had the dark skin tone. They had like, you know, it was, it was literally this wound full of admirations all different colors. And I sat there and I listened to their stories and I listened to the way they were treated after the war, the heartbreak, they had to go free, the treatment that they got.

[00:57:45] I liked that and they all said me and. The one thing that I got from them was they all called themselves American. They all class themselves as American. And they were saying to me, you know, you’re one of us, you’re like us, you know, your admiration, you know, welcome to the family. But, and I sat there and I literally was near tears because I actually sat there.

[00:58:16] And I thought for years, and years and years I’ve wanted to meet another admiration. Somebody that looked like me and I finally did it and I still didn’t feel I belonged because I actually felt like I was laying there because I hadn’t gone through their suffering. I know that my doctor, parents weren’t great.

[00:58:38] I know I had a really shit childhood and blah, blah, blah. But when I listened to their stories, that was 10 times worse. And I sat there and I was just thinking. I’m not like you, I haven’t suffered the way you have. I haven’t been rejected by my own country. I haven’t been rejected. I haven’t been projected to the state where I have to go and sell my blood to get food.

[00:59:09] I haven’t got to the stage where I have had to live on the street and I felt like a fraud I honestly did. And I was so negative because I was just, I didn’t know how to deal with it. And the fact that they class themselves as American and they, they all saw America as the land of heightened glory. I like didn’t want to be known as Vietnamese.

[00:59:40] They were, we are American. And it’s very funny because when you’d look at documentaries about Vietnam war, From the American side, they call it the Vietnamese war from the Vietnamese side, they call it the American war and say, for me, I’m just like more, what do I call it? Do I call it Vietnamese? Or do I call it the American war?

[01:00:06] And to this day, I still don’t know. I say I was born in the Vietnam war.

[01:00:11] And that my dad is black American soldier. That’s all I know. And so I feel I acknowledged the American side. I acknowledged the black side by all signals, Vietnamese side. And I, you look at these admirations and they’ve all come through the other and they are making lives for themselves on different levels.

[01:00:36] But I know that actually being adopted was. I was saved. And those nurses that flew out and in a war zone saved my life. It wasn’t my adoptive parents that saved my life. I always say that I always say

[01:00:57] it was actually the VA.

[01:00:58] It was actually the nurses that saved my life and, and, and gave me that second chance.

[01:01:05] And so to me, it was very important that I give something back

[01:01:10] because I think as a society, we, we are all very selfish at times on different levels. And we are all very materialistic at times on different levels. And I didn’t realize really how materialistic I had become over the years because I was married to a man that was very high up in a company.

[01:01:37] My lifestyle was very, I suppose, Privileged,

[01:01:44] To the point where I would fly first class, you know, I lived in America for a year. I would travel to the south of France, my winter wardrobe. I would travel to New York for my summer wardrobe. I own 300 pairs of shoes. I would, you know, we had a cleaner in our house.

[01:02:03] I drive a Mercedes convertible. So I had a very privileged life with my, with my husband at the end of the day, they money doesn’t make you happy. It doesn’t buy you happiness. And for me, I realized I actually, wasn’t happy when I lived in Vietnam in 2007 and I realized actually all this money doesn’t make you happy.

[01:02:33] I could die tomorrow. And what, what am I going to do with that? And so for me of the hearing and speaking to this young girl, I just decided, you know, there is nothing stopping me. I, I have the chance to actually give this girl a second chance. Like I was given a second chance. I just decided to do it in a very big way.

[01:03:02] I suppose, the very among these people, when I get an idea, I just jump straight into the deep end and then it’s either sink or swim. And so I literally jumped into the deep end and I gave everything up and I’m believe me, it was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. Believe me when I say, when you give everything.

[01:03:27] It is actually quite liberating. And

[01:03:29] you realize that actually, you don’t need a big house. You don’t need a flashy car. You don’t need 300 pairs of shoes. Actually, all you need to do is just be true to yourself and you will find happiness. And for me, getting that young girl and going on to this path of Omar, my own orphanage, you know, this young girl now is now a young woman.

[01:03:53] She’s a very independent young lady. She works in one of the top hotels in tourism. She speaks fluent English and obviously Vietnamese

[01:04:02] And she is happy. She’s independent. She’s a strong, independent woman.

[01:04:11] I, all my kids have all grown up to be independent and strong and they have, they all fake. English.

[01:04:21] They all have,

[01:04:22] The English sense of humor and, and they’re all. And I am, I, you know, I am just so proud of them, really proud of them and they are true to themselves. And as I say to them, you know, we can’t do anything about our past, but you know, you’re in charge of your depend. Now when you can change the future and they have, they have written their stories and they bring with them their stories, to the extent that they have found that passion, they have found what they, that drives them.

[01:04:55] And I, in the Lamby, what we did was we literally just gave them that safe environment that they could explore that and they could explore their own sexuality and they could explore who they are as their own identities.

[01:05:13] We just gave them the tools and, and they picked it up and they ran with it and I am so proud of

[01:05:21] Niall Mackay: incredible, absolutely incredible.

[01:05:24] Well, look, we’ll finish up. And before we do though,

[01:05:27] Tell people, listening, how can they support a Lamby? What can they do to help? Where can they find more information?

[01:05:34] Suzanne Hook: I Lambie, so is actually close.

[01:05:37] I actually had to close your finish down in 2000 and. 18 and came back, you came 2019, sadly because my health,

[01:05:48] Dave and Lamby is closed.

[01:05:50] We still support other orphanages. And, you know, I have friends out in Vietnam who help other orphanages and they do quiz nights where, you know, anybody can go to these nights and, and there’s prizes. And the money that is raised is then,

[01:06:09] Dished out to other orphanages. I have very good friend called Matt Ryan, who actually runs a fish and chips shop called union jacks.

[01:06:20] Niall Mackay: And we, we knew Matt. We knew Matt Ryan. Well, he,

[01:06:23] He ends up on this podcast

[01:06:24] Suzanne Hook: often and he does a lot for charity. And so if you want support other charities, you know, there are lots of orphanage out there and small orphanages. And so I would, you know, Matt Ryan is, is a really good guy to, to go to. He will be able to tell you what orphanages he supports and what to do and where to go.

[01:06:53] And so for me, you know, with the land being, we still have kids going through the system, but we, you know, we have enough money to get them through to college. And so the money that we have now, we actually still look after other orphanages,

[01:07:08] Itself is actually closed, but there are still lots of orphanages out there.

[01:07:13] And, you know, there’s orphanages called,

[01:07:15] Orphanages for girls have been abused as you know, other orphanages called the bamboo.

[01:07:23] Niall Mackay: Yeah. I didn’t actually tell you so what my career is in charity and fundraising, and that’s what I did for a few years here in Saigon. I worked for.

[01:07:32] School where we,

[01:07:32] We did the can of charity program for the school.

[01:07:35] So I’ve worked with,

[01:07:36] Many of these organizations. So those green bamboo,

[01:07:38] Those little rules in D seven, miss on chances and amazing one that helps people with disabilities. And I didn’t even tell you to this season of the podcast is actually we gifted sponsorship to blue dragon children’s foundation.

[01:07:53] And Saigon children’s charity in Saigon, obviously. So this whole season they’ve been on the front cover of all the artwork was a show out to them at the beginning, in the middle of the podcast as well. We’ll give another one to them now. And the links are actually in the notes, or if anyone wants to donate to Saigon children’s charity or,

[01:08:11] Blue dragon children’s foundation, please do that.

[01:08:13] Or any one of these amazing organizations that Suzanne and myself just mentioned.

[01:08:17] One of the most amazing things happened a couple of weeks ago, Suzanne you’ll like this. I woke up, I got an email from the woman at blue dragon who had talked to often because we were big supporters of blue dragon. And she’s like new somebody just committed a monthly donation to blue dragon because they held you talking about as on the podcast and have the ad on the podcast.

[01:08:38] So,

[01:08:38] Even if there’s only one person that’s donated because of this sponsorship, then,

[01:08:43] I’m sort of happy. So,

[01:08:44] I hope you can donate.

[01:08:46] Suzanne Hook: I mean, yes. I mean, the thing is a lot of people say, oh, you know, I don’t know if I can help. I don’t know if I’ll make a difference. And what I’ve told people over the years is every little bit helps.

[01:09:04] Literally, especially when you’ve got, you know, running an orphanage and you’re putting the kids through school, as you know, in Vietnam, nothing is free. So we have to pay for the school fees. We have to pay for the books that they learned from. We have to pay for the pens, that paper, everything. And so, you know, if somebody is going to donate, even if it’s like 1 million Vietnam dong or 500 or $20, believe me, when I say this, it goes a long way.

[01:09:37] You know, it really does make a difference to these kids because like $1 million, what actually. Put a kid through school for a month. It will pay for this, you know, that the shoes it will pay for their school books, $20 will help pay for the parking, the bicycles of school. And so when people say, I don’t am, I can make a difference believing when I say this and I, for me, I have been very lucky with the land.

[01:10:05] Be there. I have met a lot of people that have donated given up their time and, you know, even giving up your time to go and go and visit these orphanages, spend an hour with these kids. It makes a huge difference because they’re interacting with the outside world. They’re hearing different accents and the kids in these orphanages.

[01:10:32] It’s very, very simple. All they want to do is go to school. Get an education, both for themselves and have a sense of belonging. Those are the three things that they want. And, you know, with these orphanages, when they have these children, they do struggle. It is hard financially. And so when I, I ask people to really, if you can donate to the links that we, that you’ve put up and it does make a difference and that $20, that $1 million, that 500 Vietnam dog.

[01:11:11] It will make a difference. And, and I would also like to just say, you know, to anyone that’s listening that has helped my orphanage or Lamby over the years, I could not have done it without you guys. I could not have done it without your support and with your supports and your help and your understanding and your love and the time that you gave us and the money that you gave us.

[01:11:38] I have been able to help 13 kids go through school, have an education and come out the other rounds, confident young people. And so that, I actually want to just say, thank you, thank you for taking that time. And I, you know, yes, I, I opened up the orphanage and yes, I set it up, but you know what I didn’t do on my own.

[01:12:02] I did it with a lot of help from support and Vietnam from around the world. And I really just want to say on behalf of me and my kids. Thank you. Because it was amazing. It was, it was amazing 10 years and I am so thankful for what we achieved during that together.

[01:12:26] Niall Mackay: I can’t think of a better time to finish.

[01:12:29] I’m not going to ask the final questions that I sent you because I think this is perfect to finish at this point. Thank you so so much. I cannot thank you enough for finishing this season seven of a 7 million bikes, final episode 10 for sharing your story for taking your time out of your day.

[01:12:45] I hope we can stay in touch and,

[01:12:48] I hope we can raise some money.

[01:12:49] So again, listen to Suzanne, go in the links. Look at those. You can donate directly, give whatever you can. So Suzanne have an amazing day and thank you so so much.

Many people struggle to find English entertainment in Vietnam. Seven Million Bikes hosts the popular show A Vietnam Podcast, stand-up comedy and events. Have fun, connect with others and share experiences of Vietnam.