In April 1975, Nguyen Thi Dep gave up a three year old daughter she had with an American G.I. to an orphanage, believing a child of mixed race would be persecuted as Saigon fell to North Vietnam. The child would later be airlifted to America, during what later became known as "Operation Babylift" in which thousands of Vietnamese children from dozens of orphanges were sent and put up for adoption in America, Australia, Canada and Europe. Many of them were without documentation or proof of identity.


Nguyen Thi Dep had spent years searching for her daughter through various means and media, but was only in vain. She never got married, and never had more children. 


Four decades later, she finally found her daughter, now a 47-year-old woman named Leigh living in the state of Maine, through the genetic DNA company Ancestry. 


Mother and daughter finally reunited after 44 years apart in Ho Chi Minh city in December, 2019.


Produced by Cath Turner, photographed by Yen Duong for Reuters

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