The mother and daughter wondered about each other over the years. They separated in Vietnam in 1975, when the girl was only three. The child went to the United States, to grow up with an American family. The mother stayed in Vietnam. But last month Leigh Mai Boughton Small, now age 47, met with her birth mother, Nguyen thi Dep in Ho Chi Minh City.
多年来，母女俩彼此好奇。 他们于1975年在越南分离，当时那个女孩只有三岁。 孩子去美国，与一个美国家庭一起长大。 母亲留在越南。 但是上个月，现年47岁的Leigh Mai Boughton Small在胡志明市会见了她的亲生母亲Nguyen thi Dep。
It began with awkwardhugs. The 70-year-old Dep was afraid her daughter would be displeased with her. But, Leigh Mai explained to Dep that she felt no anger about being sent to the United States.
The two women hugged, cried and laughed.
它始于笨拙的拥抱。 这位70岁的戴普（Dep）担心女儿会对她不满。 但是，利·迈（Leigh Mai）向Dep解释说，她对被派往美国并不感到愤怒。
Leigh Mai said what struck her most sharply was realizing she had lost more than a mother. She had lost a Vietnamese family. She said, "...there was love there... and aunts and uncles and that never crossed my mind."
She also said she realized how hard it had been for Dep to decide to send her daughter to an unknown future.
莱·麦（Leigh Mai）说，最令她震惊的是，她意识到自己失去的不仅仅是母亲。 她失去了一个越南家庭。 她说：“……那里有爱……还有阿姨和叔叔，这从来没有让我发疯。”
Saigon's chaotic evacuation
In 1975 in Vietnam, American troops were leaving Vietnam after twenty years of conflict. Communist forces were about to take control of the country's capital, then called Saigon.
Many South Vietnamese parents and guardians sought a safer homeland for their children. As a result, more than 3,000 children caught in the conflict were flown to new families overseas. The action became known as "Operation Babylift."
Among them was Leigh Mai Boughton Small. Dep met Leigh Mai's biological father, an American soldier named Joe O'Neal, in Saigon in the early 1970s. She lost contact with him after he was sent home in 1973. The little girl, who the mother had named Phuong Mai, was about a year old then.
其中包括Leigh Mai Boughton Small。 Dep在1970年代初在西贡遇到了Leigh Mai的亲生父亲，他是名叫Joe O'Neal的美国士兵。 1973年他被遣送回国后，她与他失去了联系。那个小女孩的母亲叫Phuong Mai，当时大约一岁。
Dep said her friends suggested she get her little girl onto an Operation Babylift flight to protect her from the fighting in the country.
"I panicked and decided to send Mai away. It took only a week from when I filed her paperwork till when the plane took her away," said Dep.
Like other parents who gave up their children, Dep believed she would reunite with her child soon after the violence ended. But Vietnam and the United States, where most of the children were sent, did not reestablish normal ties until 1995.
The last time Dep saw her daughter was just before her flight out. Dep was about to walk out of the building when, she said, the little girl called out, "Mom, don't leave."
Dep remembered, "At that moment all I wanted was to turn around and take her home." But she did not.
Dep said she cried "every night for months." But Dep never gave up hope of finding Leigh Mai.
For Dep, Leigh Mai was always a 3-year-old child. "Seeing her as this grown-up woman with a family, it isn't as emotional as when I looked at her photos as a small baby," she said after the reunion.
But the meeting did give her peace about her daughter's life in America.
对于Dep来说，Leigh Mai始终是3岁的孩子。 团圆后，她说：“把她看作是这个有家人的成年女性，没有我小时候看她的照片时那样激动。”
"I love her a lot and I am at ease because Mai has grown up, having her own family, can take care of her own self, as opposed to before when it was always ‘Is my baby still alive? If she is, what life does she have? I was worried she had it hard."
Leigh Mai thought about bringing her birth mother back to the United States, but Dep likes her life in Vietnam.
With technology, Leigh Mai thinks they can stay in touch. She wants to share pictures of her husband and three children and their future experiences.
"So I'm hoping that she can get into the iPhone," Leigh Mai said with a laugh. The mother and daughter are still divided by an ocean, but now they are also connected.
借助技术，Leigh Mai认为他们可以保持联系。 她想分享她的丈夫和三个孩子的照片以及他们未来的经历。
“所以我希望她能进入iPhone，” Leigh Mai笑着说。 母女俩仍然被大海分开，但现在他们也已连接起来。
Words in This Story：
awkward – adj.showing a lack of expertise
hug – n.the action of pressing one's arms around another person
panic – v.to become frightened
adopt – v.to accept as one's own
sibling – n.one or two of more individuals sharing at least one parent
cousin – n.a person belonging to the same extended family