What Happened to These Children of War?
Thirty Years Later: Where Are They Now?
By Noy Thrupkaew & Julia Savacool
These orphaned daughters of U.S. servicemen were evacuated from Vietnam in 1975. This June, some will return to their birthplace as part of a U.S. diplomatic mission. Here, they share their stories with Marie Claire:
"My mother and I were still in our village when the Viet Cong attacked. The village was demolished, and my mother and I got separated. That was the last time I saw her. I was 3. The orphanage took me in because I had been abandoned. The feeling of being left alone is still my biggest fear today. I always need to know where people are. It has never left me."
-Tia Keevil, 34, nurse, New York
"I was adopted by a couple in Missouri. In college, I was a cheerleader for the St. Louis Rams. I like to think I raised the profiles of Amerasians - not many other cheerleaders looked like me! Now I am back in school, studying architecture. I owe my confidence to my adoptive parents. I grew up in a predominantly white area, but I was surrounded by open-minded people. Like them, I don't see race or color; I see the person."
-Lyly Koenig, 30, grad student, California
"I was on one of the last planes out of Saigon. My birth mother gave me up to give me a better life. I was born with a cleft lip and needed medical attention - I was almost a year old and weighed only nine pounds. Doctors gave me a 50 percent chance of surviving, but my parents adopted me anyway. I will always be grateful for them taking that risk."
-Kimberly Louie, 30, insurance verification specialist, Colorado
You Can Help These Women
To help these women find their birth parents, or to search for your own, contact Clint Haines at Amerasian Child Find Network, Jon Tinquist at the AAHOPE Foundation or Boat People SOS.