In 1975, Cara was airlifted to the United States through Operation Babylift at the end of the Vietnam War. Now, 38 years later, this Vietnamese adoptee rejoices in motherhood as she further defines her own family. This documentary will follow Cara's journey as she makes her first trip back to her Motherland to trace her Vietnamese roots... and by chance of a miracle, find her birth mother.
A MOTHER'S LOVE is a feature documentary that will tell the story of a young Vietnamese adoptee and now new mother, Cara, who was abandoned as a 4-month old infant during the Vietnam War. Cara was one of the thousands of children who escaped Vietnam during the final days of the war through Operation Babylift and was adopted by an American family. As an adoptee, Cara has struggled with issues of abandonment, attachment, guilt, trust and identity, all common themes for adoptees. A Mother's Love shares her journey she had to go on in order to come to terms with the aftermath of her abandonment and what she felt she needed to do for herself to have a stronger sense of self so she could be the type of mother she wanted to be for a child.
A Mother's Love is also a documentary about Cara's journey as she moves forward in beginning to search out her past, her ethnic roots and any other defining details that can help her piece together her pre-adoptive life. In a perfect world, she hopes to gather enough information that will lead her back to her birth mother.
Cara became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy 8-pound boy late last year, November 2011. This project was born when her feelings to locate her birth mother intensified, following her own entrance into motherhood. In becoming a mother, Cara has fully realized the sacrifice of love it must have taken for her birth mother to give her up so as to save her life.
A Mother's Love is a documentary that will touch the hearts of many. It is an inspiring story about one woman's entrance into motherhood and how being a mother has changed her life and changed her heart towards her own birth mother. A Mother's Love is also an inspiring story about a Vietnamese adoptee and all the emotional milestones that she has reached, as she strives towards ongoing personal growth.
It is our hope that A Mother's Love will demonstrate how limitless the human heart can truly be .... From the adoptee's perspective, A Mother's Love reflects upon the emotional, and sometimes heart-wrenching, journey of self and how one adoptee was able to turn her self-destructive behaviors and choices into healthy ones and finally arrive to a place of peace with her own feelings of abandonment and with who she is .... a true demonstration of how strongly resilient one can be if they so choose that path.
Watch Cara’s story featured on Mother's Day, May 13, 2012, on NBC News affiliate Channel 5 via this link.
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
The minimum amount needed to start this project is $55,000.00. An estimated $150,000.00 is what we will need to bring this project to completion.
*Film Research -
DNA testing for mothers in Vietnam as well as an on-the-ground search for mothers that gave children away. Numerous interviews with key players in this story, which will take us to Georgia, New York, and Texas, as well as leaving room for other interviews as research helps additional facts unfold.
*Trips to Vietnam for production -
1. Production costs to film research done prior to Cara's trip to Vietnam. This includes the on-the-ground search, DNA testing of mothers, interviews with key players in Vietnam, airfare for crew, expenses, etc.
2. Production costs to film Cara's initial trip and document her journey back to her birth place and hopefully reunite her with her birth mother.
3. Production costs to film the reunion of other Vietnamese adoptees with their birth mothers if facts unfold in that way. All the DNA testing of mothers conducted for the purpose of this documentary will be kept in a specific database. If our efforts turn up links to other babylift children, then we will document those reunions if so desired... either way, we feel our efforts will not go in vain. If Cara is unable to find her birth mother, she wants to provide an opportunity for other Vietnamese adoptees to have the same chance she is afforded in being able to bring peace and closure to that part of their lives.
Our goal is to DNA test birth mothers in the village where Cara was abandoned at 4 months of age. Included in this on-the-ground search will be the request of local support from Vietnamese organizations to help locate Vietnamese women who would fit the filtered criterion, which would warrant a DNA test.
We will conduct interviews with numerous key figures involved in Cara's story. Those including the woman who made the sign that was hanging around Cara's neck when she arrived in her mother's arms on Mother's Day, the woman who ran the adoption agency whom Cara was adopted through, as well as other main players whom were instrumental during Operation Babylift and who may have information that can help piece together Cara's story. We will also be interviewing other individuals such as a survivor of the first Babylift flight out of Vietnam, which crashed, the CEO of Family Tree DNA, who will discuss the science involved in DNA testing and the vital role DNA testing has taken in helping link adoptees with biological family they may not have known they had or did not know their whereabouts ... Finally, Family Tree DNA will speak to the possible reality that we may not be able to locate Cara's birth mother, but how the use of the DNA tests taken during this documentary will be added to a database at Family Tree DNA for the hopes that it could assist other adoptees in their journey to reunite with biological connections.
As the year progresses, we will document every facet of this emotional journey, ending with the documentation of her initial trip back to Vietnam in April 2013.
Cara has very few facts surrounding her pre-adoptive life in Vietnam. Due to the chaos of the Vietnam War and the fall of Saigon, her adoption was only legalized in the United States. Prior to being airlifted out of Vietnam, she was given a Vietnamese name, Vu Thang Tung, which she has since confirmed is a boy's name. Even her birth date is an estimation, as Cara has no documentation which can fully prove her actual date of birth. It is estimated that Cara passed her first birthday somewhere between Vietnam and the United States...
Cara has not yet determined the specific Babylift plane or date in which she escaped Vietnam, but she knows it was only days before Saigon fell on April 30, 1975. What she does know to be fact is the beautiful truth that she flew into the Buffalo International Airport and into her adoptive Mother's arms on May 11, 1975 .... Mother's Day.
Cara was raised in Mayville, New York, a small rural Western New York State town on Chautauqua Lake. She was a competitive gymnast, had a healthy appreciation and involvement in the cultural arts, including Peace Child and a peace video, "Together We Can" and spent many days of her youth traveling to diverse areas, ranging from the Adirondack Mountains to the Bahamas. Cara completed her undergraduate work at The State University of New York at Brockport, where she graduated with a Bachelors of Social Work and a minor in Dance. Cara moved forward to pursue and obtain her Masters in Social Work from The State University of New York at Buffalo. Cara worked in the field of Social Work for approximately 10 years before she relocated to Georgia in 2005 where she made the simultaneous decision to change her career path to the area of law.
Currently, Cara lives in South Florida, works for a small law firm and enjoys every second as a mother to her 6-month old son and loves spending time with the Love of her Life, Kirk. In addition to spending quality time with her family, Cara loves writing, reading, traveling, listening to a wide array of music, and enjoys all the sunshine South Florida has to offer.
While Cara is adopted, she has never specified her parents as "adoptive" parents but simply as "Mom" and "Dad." There was never any need for that type of distinction in her heart. Cara has a blended family and is close to her entire family. She considers herself incredibly fortunate in every way. She is incredibly and wonderfully close to her whole family, nuclear and extended alike, and has been shown the gift of unconditional love from many people.