In the weeks leading up to the fall of Saigon on April 30th, 1975, nearly three thousand babies and children were airlifted out of South Vietnam, often under chaotic and dangerous circumstances. Dubbed "Operation Babylift," the mission was a highly publicized U.S. backed plan to evacuate Vietnamese orphans and bring them to America for adoption.
In The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam, Dana Sachs, who has written about Vietnam for 20 years, draws on extensive research and countless interviews in both the U.S. and Vietnam to offer a fresh look at this complex and often controversial mission. She traces the stories of adoptees, including a woman whose Vietnamese mother managed to find her twenty years later, and looks at why there was so little oversight and such sparse documentation attached to the movement of these children, many of whom, it was discovered, weren't orphans at all and were desperate to go home.
This week, in the lead up to the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon on Friday, Sachs was interviewed about Operation Babylift and how its lesson can be applied to the current debate about international adoption:
Joy Cardin Show/Wisconsin Public Radio (scroll down to Monday, April 26, at 8:00 a.m.)