Interview with Lana Noone, Operation Babylift Parent
By Allison Martin
Lana Noone is the author of Global Mom
Please share the story of your adoptions during Operation Babylift.
In late 1974, my husband Byron and I decided to look into adopting a child, (We had been married for nearly 7 years, and were childless). We were at a meeting with a social worker at a large NYC adoption agencey, and she asked us if we would consider adopting a baby from Viet Nam. We said yes, and began the process.
We were approved in February, 1975, just as the Viet Cong began their march to the South. The rumor was that none of the children would be able to leave, due to the chaotic situation. Then, Ed Daly of World Airways brought 57 children to the US, and Babylift began.
Heather, our first Babylift daughter, was scheduled to leave on the April 4th plane that crashed, and she was ultimately evacuated on 4/5/75...hospitalized 3 times on the way home to us. She arrived 4/23, was hospitalized again on 4/29, and she died on 5/17/75. Three babies remained hospitalized, and our daughter Jennie is the final baby placed from Babylift. She arrived home to us on 6/5/75.
We also adopted a son, Jason, from Korea in 1979. Today, Jennie is a Social Worker/Mental Health Network Supervisor in NYC. Jay is a HS Social Studies teacher and Adjunct College Professor. Jay's married, and he and his wife Rosie have a daughter, whom they named Heather (for our baby who died). Heather is 2 years old, and she's the light of my life. They're expecting their 2nd child this spring
Why did you write the book, Global Mom?
I was invited to speak about Babylift at several venues, and everyone asked if there were any books available. The only books I knew of were about Babylift and individuals involved in it. There weren't any books written by an entire family, and none that went beyond the 1975. I decided to write a book, "Global Mom" about what happened to a Babylift family during the ensuing years...believed it would be important to other adoptive families.
What message would you pass on to Operation Babylift adoptees?
I believe all of the Babylift families are grateful to have had the opportunity to be your parents, even as we grieve with you at the losses you've experienced. At the time, the only thing to do to help you all was to evacuate you from Viet Nam.
I hope that you'll do all you can to reach out to those (now quite elderly, in many cases) who were involved in Babylift. The had your best interests in mind, and still think about you, as evidenced by the email messages I receive. Many are posted on the www.Vietnambabylift.org website, and I hope that you'll read them, at your convenience.
Please do your best to improve the world, so that future generations will not understand the concept of "children of war". We're "rooting" for you, and we love you all!
What advice do you have for adoptive parents raising adoptees today?
As I wrote in the book:
- Love and enjoy your children, give lots of hugs, laugh alot, spend time with them (especially as they mature, and become involved in "their own" activities).
- Be ready to answer their questions as honestly as possible, but wait until they ask you what they want to know about their background.
- Follow your instincts...you know your children best of all.
- Take lots of photos and videos, because the years will pass by in a heartbeat.
- I've made mistakes, you'll make mistakes...it's part of being a parent.
- Keep positive, don't worry, and have faith!