The Vietnam War was a news topic all my growing up years and early adulthood. I remember the headlines. When Operation Baby Lift occurred April 4 to April 19, 1975, I had just given birth to my first child on April 4th. As I held my sweet baby, I remember hurting for all these frightened children being brought to the United States. They had already been through such traumatic experiences. I heard of families that had adopted them, but I knew nothing of their lives after that.
Mindy was one of those children. The story goes back and forth between Mindy’s thoughts and feelings and that of her adoptive father and mother. Each had, of course, such different perspectives. This gave a complete picture mentally and emotionally of what so many children and families faced. I had not even considered the racial and political hurdles they would have to handle, not only in their communities but within extended family. For me this added to the challenges of trying to give a child love and security while making them a part of your family. In addition, these sweet little ones had no way of telling you the horrors they had seen. Mindy’s new family was loving, accepting, and wonderful, she always felt as if she did not belong. As an adult she found herself wanting to meet her birth family. Her desire was muddled with fear, doubt, and insecurity of what she might find out. Her parents supported her 100% by helping her work through her maze of emotions.
Not only did I enjoy Mindy’s story, but also the closeness and love the family shared. I enjoyed their humor and sensitivity toward one another and so many happy times.
Ms. Finkbeiner has a unique way of making her stories personal and real. For me, this book brought to life what might have happened to those children and their new families.