Ty (Thang) Cope scoops up dirt from the site of the abandoned Cam Ranh City Christian Orphanage during a reunion of orphans in Vietnam.
Vietnam (BOC/MNN) ― This year marks 35 years since the end of the Vietnam War. The fall of Saigon triggered a wave of refugees, many of them children, fleeing the wrath of the new Communist government.
A group of these refugees just visited Vietnam for the first time since fleeing the country and finding refuge in 1975 at Buckner Children's Home in Dallas, Texas.
The group of 69 orphans from Cam Ranh Bay, along with 13 staff members and their 13 children, survived being shot at, being stranded and using any means of transportation before finally arriving at the Vietnamese Relocation Center in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and eventually making their way to Buckner.
The trip this summer has been years in the making and was the first organized return for the orphans of the Cam Ranh City Christian Orphanage.
Many of these who returned left Vietnam as children and have known a completely different life and family for 35 years. Reuniting with their birth family provided opportunities to see how a selfless act by a desperate adult in 1975 changed the life of their loved one.
The group who attended the reunion joined Buckner staff for a visit to orphanages in the north part of Vietnam where Buckner works with government officials to help orphans, much like themselves. They also visited the original site of the Cam Ranh City Christian Orphanage, now an elementary school.
Appropriately, the reunion theme was "Get Love, Share Love," something the orphans learned from their Vietnamese leaders and from Buckner, where staff work as the hands and feet of Christ.