The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam

The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam

by Dana Sachs
The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam

The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam

by Dana Sachs

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Overview

In April 1975, just before the fall of Saigon, the U.S. government launched "Operation Babylift," a highly publicized plan to evacuate nearly three thousand displaced Vietnamese children and place them with adoptive families overseas. Chaotic from start to finish, the mission gripped the world-with a traumatic plane crash, international media snapping pictures of bewildered children traveling to their new homes, and families clamoring to adopt the waifs.

Often presented as a great humanitarian effort, Operation Babylift provided an opportunity for national catharsis following the trauma of the American experience in Vietnam. Now, thirty-five years after the war ended, Dana Sachs examines this unprecedented event more carefully, revealing how a single public-policy gesture irrevocably altered thousands of lives, not always for the better. Though most of the children were orphans, many were not, and the rescue offered no possibility for families to later reunite.

With sensitivity and balance, Sachs deepens her account by including multiple perspectives: birth mothers making the wrenching decision to relinquish their children; orphanage workers, military personnel, and doctors trying to "save" them; politicians and judges attempting to untangle the controversies; adoptive families waiting anxiously for their new sons and daughters; and the children themselves, struggling to understand. In particular, the book follows one such child, Anh Hansen, who left Vietnam through Operation Babylift and, decades later, returned to reunite with her birth mother. Through Anh's story, and those of many others, The Life We Were Given will inspire impassioned discussion and spur dialogue on the human cost of war, international adoption and aid efforts, and U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807001240
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 07/26/2011
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 906,171
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Dana Sachs has written about Vietnam for twenty years. The author of The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam and the novel If You Lived Here, and coauthor of Two Cakes Fit for a King: Folktales from Vietnam, she teaches at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and lives in North Carolina.

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Introduction
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Life We Were Given"
by .
Copyright © 2011 Dana Sachs.
Excerpted by permission of Beacon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction
 
Part One
Chapter 1
Where They Came From
 
Chapter 2
All Americans Go Home Now
 
Chapter 3
A Sea of Human Need
 
Part Two
Chapter 4
If You Are Out There, We Love You
and We Are Looking for You
 
Chapter 5
Lost in the Shuffle
 
Chapter 6
Standing on Two Legs
 
Chapter 7
Good Intentions
 
Chapter 8
Mementoes and Scars
 
Chapter 9
Ship to Parents: Severe Orphan Syndrome
 
Chapter 10
There Was No One to Take Care of Them
 
Chapter 11
Photographs and Fires and Rage
 
Chapter 12
I Wanted to See What Peace Was Like
 
Chapter 13
Hesitation and Resignation
 
Part Three
Chapter 14
Resources
 
Chapter 15
Baby in a Burning Building
 
Chapter 16
Belonging
 
Epilogue
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index                               

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