Reunions
Woman reunites with little sister 43 years after she disappeared
Berni didn't think she'd ever see her sister Rose again, who went missing when she was a toddler. However, all that changed more than four decades later.
Irene Markianou
12.10.21

In April 1975, it was obvious that Saigon would fall. At the same time, there were rumors that women who had Amerasian babies would be tortured after the Vietcong entered South Vietnam.

Unsplash - The New York Public Library
Source:
Unsplash - The New York Public Library

So, whoever had the chance to evacuate the city didn’t have time to think twice.

What was called Operation Babylift, was a mass evacuation of children from South Vietnam. Although about 3,000 children managed to leave the country, there were another 20,000 Amerasians that were left behind.

One of those children who didn’t make it to the evacuation planes was Rose.

Her father, an American soldier, her mother, South Vietnamese, and her sister Berni were all rushing to the planes, when Rose suddenly disappeared.

The dilemma was heartbreaking for her mother. She could either leave with the rest of the family or stay behind to look for Rose, risking her life.

YouTube - CBS Denver
Source:
YouTube - CBS Denver

The decision was hard to make, but she finally left.

“I can’t even imagine making that choice,” said Berni Slowey, a Denver mom, documentary film producer, and business woman. “I have two sons, and I can’t imagine being in that position my mother was in.”

YouTube - CBS Denver
Source:
YouTube - CBS Denver

In the years that followed, the family grew, but there was always this gap in their hearts, they were terribly missing Rose.

The 2-year-old at the time was found and adopted by a woman in Vietnam, and they, too, immigrated to the US when Rose- renamed Vanessa- was 11 years old.

Vanessa’s stepmother brought her up as her own, and she never revealed the truth about how they ended up together until more than four decades later.

YouTube - CBS Denver
Source:
YouTube - CBS Denver

When Vanessa found out that the woman that brought her up was not her biological mother, she started searching for her biological family.

She even took one of the popular DNA tests, and that’s when she realized there was someone related to her who was alive and living in the US.

YouTube - CBS Denver
Source:
YouTube - CBS Denver

The cousin she had newly found was in Colorado. They got in touch, and he told her that she might have a sister.

Berni and Vanessa-Rose soon got on the phone and started sharing details about their lives, trying to put the puzzle together.

YouTube - CBS Denver
Source:
YouTube - CBS Denver

After that, the women took another, more precise DNA test, which showed that they were full sisters.

Although they were both extremely happy to have found each other again, there was sad news Berni had to share with her newly-found sister.

Their mother had passed away six years before, of what Berni believed was a broken heart.

YouTube - CBS Denver
Source:
YouTube - CBS Denver

“It felt like a thousand heavy weights dropped. It was like a big disappointment. And I was like, ‘I am only six years late,’” Vanessa said.

After countless hours on the phone, the two women met in person, months after they found out they were biological sisters.

Their reunion was deeply emotional, and the two women could not hold back their tears.

YouTube - CBS Denver
Source:
YouTube - CBS Denver

The two, along with the other siblings that were born when the family moved to the US, plan on making up for the lost time in the years to come.

Head over to the video below to find out more details about this amazing story and to see the sisters reunite!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Irene Markianou
hi@sbly.com
Irene Markianou is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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