Tong Phuoc Phuc with children he saved from unwanted pregnancies
Tong Phuoc Phuc took his wife to hospital to deliver their first baby in 2001. Now, he is father to more than a hundred children.
The native of Khanh Hoa Province in central Vietnam said that while waiting for his own baby at the hospital, he saw many girls wait in line to have an abortion.
He asked for the fetuses and buried them "so their souls would not feel cold," Phuc said.
He has buried more than 10,000 such fetuses on the Hon Thom Mountain in Nha Trang.
But then Phuc became unhappy with just cleaning up the mess. He wanted to save the babies' lives.
In 2004, he and his wife started offering help to any woman in the area with unexpected pregnancies and took care of the babies until the mothers had a chance to come back. They gave the women a place to stay and took care of them until the delivery.
Many women did not stay in his house but left their babies at the door after delivering them.
Phuc is raising 19 children besides his own at his home. He has sent more than 30 older ones to the Dai An Orphanage in the province, while more than 50 children have joined their mothers.
He has established a private social welfare center named Phuoc Phuc to legally take care of the children.
"I am a construction worker and my wife runs a small stall, so there were difficulties raising the children," Phuc said.
"There were times I had to borrow money to buy them milk. But many people have known about my place and helped me with the expenses."
The children take Phuc's surname. The boys are named Vinh, meaning "honor" and the girls named Tam, meaning "heart." Their middle names are their mother' names or the names of her hometown, so that the women can pick their children correctly if and when they returned.
Phuc said it was "emotional and unforgettable" every time a mother came back.
He recalled a woman named D. who returned after one year. The baby was scared at first, but after a while, some connection made the baby lighten up and run to the mother.
"No matter how good I am, it would not be as good as real mother's love. So every time a mother came back, I would be very glad," Phuc said.
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