We've started the year with some very complex cases; one of those is now resolved, but I'm afraid we've reached a very sad conclusion.
14 year old Tam, who has spent his life on the streets and staying with various families, has finally found his relatives in the southern city of Dalat. It's been such a long time that nobody recognised him - he's been gone for over 5 years.
Tam's hope in returning home was to find his grandmother, who raised him, and his father. Tam has no memory of his father, other than a distant recollection of a conversation in a field many years earlier. His mother abandoned him as an infant and left to remarry, so we knew that we would not find her, but we still had hopes of finding the father and his family.
Sadly, it is not to be. Tam's grandmother died in November; his father died just a week ago.
Tam has found his family too late to be reunited with those he most wanted to find. However, he now knows his personal history; he knows when and where he was born, and he has found relatives who still care for him and are glad to know that he is safe and doing well.
Tam will stay with his relatives until lunar new year (in February), and then will head back to Hanoi to live in the Blue Dragon shelter and continue at school. His remaining relatives are very poor, and although they care for Tam he has no strong connection to them.
Our hope for Tam now is that he can rise above this and find in himself a sense of purpose and identity. No matter how much we care for him at Blue Dragon, I'm afraid it can never be the same as having the love of his own parents or grandparents.