Dager, a native of Sweden, has embarked on three distinct journeys to Vietnam with the purpose of finding her biological mother.

Dager, formerly known as Nguyen Mai Thanh, diligently cycles through the streets of Hanoi during these excursions, tirelessly seeking information about her birth mother, even though she has limited clues regarding her current location.

Iris/Mai Thanh as an infant in a provided photo.
Iris, or Mai Thanh, as an infant in a provided photo.

Dager was born on September 21, 1992 at the Hanoi Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital.

She was adopted by a Swedish-Icelandic couple at the age of two months.

Currently, she serves as a consultant for the Icelandic police, in a position that enables her to establish strong connections with law enforcement agencies worldwide.

Dager and her family embarked on a journey to Vietnam during her childhood when she was merely 10 years old. However, it wasn’t until she reached the age of 25 that her heartfelt desire to reunite with her biological mother truly started to materialize.

Iris Dager's adoptive father is Swedish and her adoptive mother is Icelandic. Her name in Vietnamese is Nguyen Mai Thanh and she was born in the Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Hanoi. Iris provided this photo.
Iris Dager’s adoptive father is Swedish and her adoptive mother is Icelandic. Her Vietnamese name is Nguyen Mai Thanh and she was born in the Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Hanoi. Iris provided this photo.

“I have always been curious about the physical features of my parents and other family members. Are my eyes similar to my mother’s? What about my ears?” Dager shared with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Do I look like my father? Do I have any siblings? If I do, are they similar to me?

“I have always been curious about my identity and background. Questions such as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Where did I come from?’ have been on my mind for as long as I can remember. I often find myself wondering about my birth mother and what she looks like. The reason behind her decision to abandon me has always intrigued me. Was it due to her being too young or too financially unstable? Additionally, I often wonder if my birth parents are still together. These inquiries continue to fuel my desire for answers.”

Iris/Mai Thanh was adopted as an infant in a photo provided.
Iris/Mai Thanh was adopted as an infant in a photo provided.

Dager’s experience growing up as an Asian individual in a predominantly white community heightened her awareness of her unique identity, even though her adoptive parents showered her with unconditional love.

In addition to feeling different, she also experienced other challenges in her daily life. For example, when she went to the doctor and was asked about her family’s medical history, she would often not know the answer. This further contributed to her sense of being an outsider.

“I am currently seeking answers to various questions, however, I have been unable to find a satisfactory response,” she expressed.

“I hope my mother sees me in the news.”

Dager recently traveled to Vietnam at the end of March. She has previously visited the country on multiple occasions accompanied by her adoptive parents.

This time, however, she decided to embark on a solo journey.

Iris/Mai Thanh grew up with loving adoptive parents, photo provided
Iris/Mai Thanh grew up with loving adoptive parents.

During my visits to the Hanoi Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital, the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology (NHOG), the Gia Lam District Police Department, and the Gia Lam District People’s Committee, I found myself contemplating the intriguing notion that any individual I encountered could potentially be related to me, perhaps even my own mother. Dager shared this peculiar thought with an air of curiosity and introspection.

During these visits, we have found potential leads; however, none of them have materialized into viable opportunities.

Despite facing numerous obstacles, she remains determined and draws motivation from fellow adoptees who successfully located their birth parents even after four decades of relentless searching.

Dager is currently collaborating with multiple groups and media organizations that specialize in facilitating the reunion process for adoptees and their relatives.

“I have high hopes that my story will gain widespread attention and that, eventually, my mother will come across it in the mainstream media,” expressed Dager.

Dear Mom,

I am writing to inform you that your daughter has arrived home safely.

I am filled with a sense of trepidation at the mere thought of reuniting with my mother. The possibility of such an event seems implausible and distant, leaving me in a state of disbelief.

I have arrived with certain expectations, but I am fervently hopeful for a miraculous intervention that would facilitate the reunion between my mother and me.






Homecoming Message

Homecoming Message to My Mother

Dear Mom,

I long to see you once more, to embrace you and say, “Dear Mom, your daughter has returned home.”

If readers have any information regarding the birth parents of Iris Dager/Mai Thanh, please contact the newsroom of Tuoi Tre newspaper or Iris Dager at [email protected].

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