A Vietnamese woman who abandoned her 2-year-old son on a taxi in December has finally reunited with him, after weeks knocking on doors to prove that she's the real mother.
Ho Thi Thu Van, 22, and her family were all in tears as they took the boy back from Ho Chi Minh City officials.
Photos of the reunion surprisingly show the boy much sadder than when officials received him from the taxi driver on December 2. Then he was smiling.
Van told local media earlier that she left the boy on the taxi out of depression. Her husband had been treating her badly as he did not believe Huy was his son, she said.
Police arrested the young mother, who had drug problems, and sent her to a rehab center on December 5.
She said she came to her senses there and asked to leave the center after one week to get her son back.
She was seen rushing between Tu Du, an obstetric hospital in the city, and police stations to gather her son’s birth certificate and records as well as her own personal records to prove their relationship.
Van said she had lost the originals.
"I'll love him more"
Van came to the orphanage where her son was staying on Wednesday, with new clothes for him.
“I’m so happy seeing him again. He’s thinner, poor him,” she said, sobbing.
“I promise I’ll love him more.”
Her quest to win back her son was believed to be pushed by Mai Thanh Liem, the 60-year-old husband of her aunt.
He urged Van to finish procedures to take the boy out of the orphanage after he failed to do so himself.
Liem had been taking care of the boy since he was born as Van and her husband do not have stable jobs.
He asked the couple to look after their own son in the middle of November when he had medical treatments.
He learnt about the abandoning from the news and came to see officials, but he could not provide any evidence to prove the guardianship, except for pictures of the boy, some personal items and his vaccination records.
The family has decided to let Liem continue taking care of Huy, with financial support from Van and her husband’s family.
“I could barely eat or sleep since we lost him,” Liem said.
“I missed him every day. I’m so happy now."
Ho Chi Minh City officials first planned to ask for DNA tests, but they decided they only need to meet Van and her family.
They also decided not to fine Van for her poor parenting. The fine would be VND10-15 million (US$468-701).
“She’s poor. She can keep that money to take care of him better,” an official said.
The father was not mentioned by the official.