American soldiers who go to war, often have loved ones back home, sweethearts or wives who wait for them to return, but a few soldiers fall in love while deployed. That is what happened during the height of the Vietnam War for one couple, who married and had two children, Berni, and Rose Slowey.
Berni, 4, and Rose, 2, along with their mother, were in grave danger as Saigon fell. Rumors of Northern Vietnam’s intent to harm, torture, or otherwise punish anyone with ties to America were rampant.
The family was eligible for extraction and refugee status, so on the same day the tanks from North Vietnam rolled in, they packed all they had and waited for rescue. As they waited, fear and panic struck the crowd, and little Rose got separated from her mother and sister.
The girl’s mother searched everywhere but could not find her daughter. The last helicopters were about to take off. She faced an impossible choice: leave her baby behind and take the child she had to safety or stay and risk torture and death.
She boarded the helicopter. The family settled in Colorado and grew, but Berni’s mother never spoke of her daughter Rose. The pain and self-imposed guilt were too much. Berni believes her mother died of a broken heart directly connected to that day.
Berni could not forget her sister either, and she went on a years-long quest to find her, even going back to Vietnam.
Meanwhile, a woman who migrated from Vietnam to the US with her family when she was 11, decided to take a DNA test. Vanessa, a mother of three, said she always suspected something was strange about her family, but she had no idea she was “adopted” by the woman she’d called mother all her life.
In the chaos of that day, a woman found little Rose, renamed her Vanessa, and raised her as her own. It wasn’t until a few years ago Vanessa’s mother told her the truth. That DNA test led Vanessa to find her sister, and her younger siblings she’d never known.
Watch this touching reunion.