On a late night in March, Lo Van Muoi, 28, was leaving his office with his colleague Binh, when he heard a strange sound coming from a box on the street.
He thought it might be an abandoned cat, but it turned out to be a baby girl who seemed just a couple of days old.
The two men freaked out at seeing the abandoned baby. They waited at the spot for three hours but no one came for the child. Then they found a letter beside her asking for help to raise her since her parents could not afford it.
“She was cold, crying and sneezing… We decided to take her to the police,” Binh, the colleague says.
The police told them if no one came for her, they could keep the baby. Seeing the letter, they knew her parents would not come.
They took the infant home, and in the middle of the night went around asking around for breast milk for her.
On the first day the two new fathers were worried and scared as the child kept crying the whole day. Lacking experience in caring for babies, they searched online for tips.
The baby finally stopped crying and slept well in Muoi’s arms. This was the moment he felt alive again after a horrific tragedy in 2017.
Muoi, 28, can never forget the call he got from his niece when he was at work one day.
“Uncle, please come home, your family has been killed.”
A flood had swept away his father, brother, sister-in-law, and their two children, who had been living in Tram Tau District in the northern mountain province of Yen Bai. Since that time he was unable to sleep at night as the despair of losing his family continued to haunt him.
He frequently had nightmares, some of which made him delusional. Sometimes he would not know who he was or where. He came down with severe depression.
He focused on his work and could not even fall in love with anyone.”At that time I did not know why I should live or why I should earn money. But I thought maybe my deceased family would not want me to suffer.”
When the baby appeared in his life, he felt like living again. He nicknamed her Cabbage. Now on his balcony baby diapers can be seen hanging near his plants. With someone to care for, he is no longer depressed, but he is constantly busy searching the Internet for information about how to care for a baby, carry her, change diapers, sing lullabies, decorate a child’s room.
Though he has hired a babysitter, he prefers doing everything for Cabbage himself.
When Muoi carries her, she is quiet and cheerful. Her other father, Binh, is sometimes jealous of her love for Muoi.
For the past few days Cabbage has been having a high fever, and the two men have taken leave to stay at home and care for her.
One time in the middle of the night Muoi ran down 18 flights of stairs since the elevator was broken, tripped and fell but picked himself up and rushed to find a doctor for the child. His house has no altar, but he still prays that she recovers quickly.
Every week they still ask groups on social media for breast milk for her. Muoi and Binh have nearly completed the legal documentation to officially adopt Cabbage.
“Though the father seems to be clumsy, I believe they will take good care of the child,” Da Thao, 36, a mother on a forum who donates breast milk, says.
“I was touched the night they came rushing asking for milk for their child. Women might do that, but I don’t think many men will.”
Muoi says: “Anyone in our situation would have taken the child in. I believe it is my destiny to suffer so badly and love so hard.
“I just hope one day Cabbage can say ‘dad’,” he says with a smile.