Timing and choices are a big part of Katie Nixon’s story. They came into play again when she joined the Coffee Break group at Lucknow (Ont.) Community Christian Reformed Church as a guest speaker on May 10.
Nixon was flown out of Vietnam in 1975 as a tiny infant through “Operation Babylift,” an effort to rescue children near the end of the Vietnam War. She had been found in a roadside garbage can by an American soldier, who brought her to the care of nuns ministering in the area. Eventually Nixon landed in Canada and was adopted by a family in London, Ont.
Nixon returned to Vietnam with her adopted mother and uncle in 2000. The journey brought healing and a new sense of gratitude and identity as she spoke with locals and visited the orphanage where her story began. Five years later, she returned to Vietnam, this time with her husband, Scott.
Sharing her story and the lessons she has learned through it, she talked about timing and choices—someone passing as she cried from the roadside bin, the care of the nuns, the decision to bring children to new lives and families overseas, the choice her parents made to adopt. “It took all those people to bring me where I am now,” she said.
In Lucknow, she didn’t realize that another instance of amazing timing was about to surprise her. A member of the Coffee Break group had arranged for a Canadian Vietnam veteran Charles Dowell to come to the event. “Charlie served in the American Armed Forces,” explained Ronda de Boer. “Both had been strongly affected by the war, and the [meeting] was a touching moment.”
Nixon agreed. “This moment was so incredible! I had never met a Canadian vet who was involved over there. . . . I've met a few American soldiers, but I always dreamed of meeting one from Canada, since this is where I was adopted. The emotion was so overwhelming, that I wept like a baby in his arms unexpectedly. It was a feeling that cannot be expressed with words.”