My Adoption Story


Photo by my friend Duane Frisbe. Saigon, April 1975

There is a song at the beginning of the musical Miss. Saigon called Bui Doi. It’s a song about needing to care for orphans left behind following the Vietnam war. Here’s the chorus:


They’re called Bui Doi 

The dust of life

Conceived in hell

And born in strife

They are the living reminders

Of all the good we failed to do

We can’t forget

Must not forget

That they are all our children too


I am Bui Doi and this song is my story. 


In the aftermath of war torn Vietnam, thousands of children, many the children of GIs, were living in orphanages throughout South Vietnam. While many agencies and aid workers had staffed the orphanages and were assisting with international adoption efforts, the impending fall of Saigon in April of 1975 posed a huge problem for biracial children like myself. Our lives were at risk as the communist government and their hatred for Americans threatened the South.

Babies, packed in boxes, being flown out of Saigon April 1975

Babies, packed in boxes, being flown out of Saigon April 1975

During the last days of the fall, President Gerald Ford approved one of the greatest American humanitarian efforts. Two million dollars was released in emergency funds to airlift 3,000 Vietnamese orphans out of Vietnam for adoption in the United States and other countries. Mine was the last flight out. More Vietnamese orphans were adopted in the 27 days between President Ford’s signing of the Operation Babylift initiative and the fall of Saigon than in all the 34 years since.


I wanted to share my story with all of my readers as my testimony. It is the reason that I am so passionate about adoption, foster care and anti-trafficking efforts. While 3,000 Vietnamese orphans were thankfully lifted out of Vietnam and into safety, thousands more were left behind orphaned, victims of circumstance without hope. By grace I was not one of them, but I am keenly aware that I could have been. Because of my story, it is my grateful obligation to give them and other orphans voice.


James 1:19-27 is about not only hearing and understanding the word you have been given, but instructs us as believers to “Do what it says” (v.22). This passage also includes a verse, a command, that is too frequently forgotten or written off as somebody else’s mission. James 1:27 reads: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” This verse is not just for missionaries or aid workers, it is a command for all of us. If we, as Christians, desire to call him Father and truly know his heart, we need to be living James 1:27. It is not an option. 

Photo by Duane Frisbe

Photo by Duane Frisbe

To parents of adopted or foster children: I bless you for answering the call to servanthood. For responding to the desire of His heart to have these children taken into his arms and welcomed (Matthew 18:5). I thank you for trusting Him and allowing Him to use you to take what was left for harm and allowing Him to use you to accomplish His good work, the saving of lives (Genesis 50:20).

 To parents considering adoption or fostering: God’s work puts the lonely into families. I hope that you will answer His call to be a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68 5,6). My prayer is that you will listen closely to His call, trusting that the one who calls you is faithful and will do it (1Thessalonians 5:24).


To those who give, or are considering giving, time, money, and prayers to end trafficking and place children in families: My prayer is that you will follow the command to practice true religion, religion that is right and pleasing in his sight, so that through you the orphan will find compassion (Hosea 14:3). 


If you have an adoption or orphan story please share it here and bless others.


Another photo by Duane Firsbe. Saigon, April 1975

Another photo by Duane Firsbe. Saigon, April 1975



I hope that by reading my story you are inspired to answer the call to look after orphans in distress. Below are some links for organizations that are working hard to respond to the James 1:27 call.


International Justice Mission: Working to bring justice for victims of slavery and sexual exploitation


World Vision and Compassion International: Fighting poverty and injustice for children and families around the world through child sponsorship and humanitarian efforts


Judson Center: Adoption and foster care services in the Detroit area


Focus on the Family, Cry of the Orphan: Providing resources for pre and post adoptive families


Show Hope: Offering orphan care and adoption aid (including adoption grants for families)


Children’s Hope Chest: Answering the James call though world wide orphan relief efforts and Christ centered interventions

For more information on Operation Babylift and the upcoming documentary Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam (produced my my friends Tammy Nguyen Lee and featuring several of my adoptee friends) visit



20 responses to “My Adoption Story

  1. Teresa

    we are sooo blessed to be parents through God’s precious gift of adoption…we cannot imagine life without our daughters born not from my body but in my heart and they are soooo plan A for us! No other children in the world for us!

    thanks for sharing your adoption story!

  2. thank you for sharing your story. we adopted our son and our life has never been the same.

  3. Check out the June issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

    • Nicole Wick

      Thanks for mentioning it.

      If anyone is interested in Babylift there is an article in the June 2009 Smithsonian titled ‘Children of the Dust’.

      Thanks Dave :)

  4. Jennifer

    Thank you so much Nicole for sharing your adoption story.

  5. Heather

    What a moving post! Thanks!!

  6. Kim T.

    Wow – we have more in common – I was adopted when I was 4 weeks old. My mother was 17 years old, and I have been so grateful all my life that she chose to give me life instead of the alternative. She also stipulated that I be placed in a Christian home. Guess God had a plan for me, even back then. I believe so much in adoption and foster care. I appreciate all you’re doing to raise awareness.

  7. tam


    wow! i didnt know what to expect when i started reading this…then, i found myself tearing up. what an incredibly touching and beautiful testimony.

    so glad youre here with us!

  8. Heidi

    I am so drawn to adoption stories. This one grabbed my heart from the beginning.

  9. Nicole Wick

    Thanks to everyone for reading and sharing. I’m so glad I was able to share my story with you and am glad it touched you. I hope you keep reading! Even more, I hope you check out one of the organizations linked above.

  10. Anonymous

    Thank you for your willingness to share your story. Having my own history with adoption, being part of both a birth family and an adoptive family (long story) I have a lot of emotion tied to the subject. Now in my professional life, I have occasion to work with children all the time who are victims of neglect and abuse and desperately need to be heard and protected. I have been contemplating James 1:27 recently and have found that loving and looking after these kids is the easy part. Resisiting the pollution of hopelessness and cynicism is the part I struggle with daily. Thank you, again for the reminder that God has plans for every single one of His children which defy what so often appear to be impossible odds and circumstances.

  11. gailbhyatt

    Thank you for calling my attention to your story. Thank you for your passion and for spreading the gospel, the whole gospel.
    We all must do something, somewhere, for someone. It’s not optional.
    May God bless all that your hands and heart find to do.

  12. What an inspiring testimony! I have a piano student who is adopted from Vietnam, and she is so precious! Her family goes back on mission trips to help the orphans. It’s touching!

  13. This was incredibly moving, Nicole. Have you checked out love146? The story behind this organization is breathtaking & is one of my favorites fighting for human trafficking victims. (

  14. What a lovely account of being given much, then giving much in return. I understand why this is such a special post :).

    You’re making a difference in the lives of many!


  15. What a fantastic story – I always thought adoptive parents are extra special parents because they fight so hard to bring their children home.

  16. What a beautiful story.

    Adoption/foster care is something my husband and I have considered for awhile. I hope someday to make that a reality!

  17. thank-you for blessing my life with your story! I sponsor 3 children through Compassion international and do short term mission trips in the Dominican Republic each summer. I also sponsor a child in the DR; I sponsor one through World Vision International, as well.
    Be blessed,


  18. Pingback: Your Life, Your Blog 6/8 : Real Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s