A Memory From Vietnam

By Jill Savino Nieglos

Cargo Plane Wreckage
C-5A Crash

The first Babylift plane that crashed was organized by my babysitter’s mother, Wendy Grant.   Wendy adopted twelve children, 11 from Vietnam and Cambodia.  So many children and friends of hers died on that plane that she was suppose to be on.  When Lisa came home one day, three police cars were at her house, because they thought Wendy had died in the crash.  My two children are best friends with Lisa’s two children, to this day. Wendy didn’t do well after the horrific crash, because she kept feeling responsible for a plane crash that wasn’t her fault.  Lisa took care of her until she passed away.

My daughter is from Holt International. She is an adopted Korean, so that is why we went to Vietnam to work for a month in March 2005.  I couldn’t leave those wonderful children so my husband came and we worked together another month.  I cried when I left.  I am still friends with the children I taught in the high school there when I left.

The funniest thing was we were in Tam Ky,  which has wide streets and no cars, only bicycles. Children would come on the streets and yell “Hey, Hiyou ? They did it all day long for two months. I realized then there was no animosity between the Vietnamese and the Americans by that time.  It really was a shift in perception for me.

We took the children to the hospitals in DaNang (we thought one had leprosy) and I worked in the hospital there in Tam Ky.  One day I was talking to a high school friend, who had come to help me, and asked the Vietnamese lady if she had any children. Her head immediately dropped. I knew something was wrong. I kept asking her and she finally said she had two, one was in Meesh EEE Gone. I finally figured out the child was in Michigan. I asked her to bring all the pertinent papers to the hospital the next day and I took pictures of her holding the pictures and papers.  When I got back home I googled the family, then called them. The woman as speechless.  The father called me about 20 minutes later, and said they were told their boy had no siblings. I described the photo to him, then sent him a scanned copy and it was their son! He now has a mother in Vietnam! About two years later, that couple accompanied another couple to Vietnam, to that orphanage, and the child met his birth mother. WHAT A MIRACLE! A magical two months.

Those memories have a forever spot in my heart.  All the threads now are coming together.  All wonderful memories, except of course for that first plane which crashed. It was so awful.
Vietnam May 05 - 142
Jill in Vietnam at the orphanage.

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