Trista is a Vietnamese adoptee from the Vietnam War era, raised in the USA. She founded an NGO, Operation Reunite, in 2003 after finding her birth mother and siblings in 2001. She was able to find her birth family by harnessing the power of DNA in its early stages of uptake by intercountry adoptees. She now has over 20 years experience helping fellow adoptees search and reunite.
Trista has been a catalyst for change amongst intercountry adoptee groups utilising DNA technology. She has also been able to influence new policies and procedures with the US Consulate in Vietnam and she is a voice for Amerasian adoptees through publications such as the BBC, the Washington Post and journalists around the world. Documentarians and authors have captured the journey of Operation Reunite in providing help to Vietnamese adoptees and connecting them with peers and birth family. Trista believes the support network created via Operation Reunite has helped everyone feel less alone.
Trista also acts as a point of contact and as an advisor/consultant for multiple media outlets who focus on the milestone and anniversaries of the Fall of Saigon. For example, The Washington Post, BBC and DNA Show “Who do you think you are?” have all sought her advice on stories to publish. She recently worked with Ken Burns with his 18-series documentary of the Vietnam War. She is currently working on a documentary to co-produce with a film maker to compile many of these stories and reunions around the world.
Trista’s passion is to open up networks for adoptees, veterans and the Vietnamese community, to increase awareness of DNA technology and its power to enable reunion. She works tirelessly to create and strengthen the bonds with other adoptees globally.