Reed & Laura Dilbeck's Baby


In 1975, Reed & Laura Dilbeck adopted a Vietnamese baby. This is Reed with his daughter & grandchildren.

This is Reed's account.

My wife is from Portland, Oregon. We were married there 1 June 1963. After three years without her getting pregnant, we adopted a baby in San Mateo, California. Shortly after moving to Georgia in 1971, we put in for a girl to adopt. After a couple years we were told we might never get a baby because we already had one child, and that abortions had dried up the baby pool. My wife and I saw a story about the plight of the orphaned babies in Vietnam, so we signed up to accept one. An Eastern flight attendant made a trip to Vietnam and picked one out for us. We waited only six months.

Tanya was eighteen months old when she arrived in Atlanta. It was April 2nd, 1975. We were on our way to pick her up when the news broke about the C-5A that crashed. It's almost certain she would have been on that fatal crash if World Airways had not let her on the DC-8 cargo plane. She arrived at our house with a parasite that would have killed her if not treated, an infected eye, and a hole in her left eardrum. The parasite and eye infection were easy to treat, but the eardrum hole wasn't completed until she was about eleven. At age five she was the perfect image of health, except for the ear, but that did not show. I sent Ed Daly, owner and president of World Airways, a picture of Tanya, and I thanked him for having the balls to bring out as many orphans as possible. Up until that happened, President Ford was reluctant to make a decision about the baby airlift. I was transferred to England in 1979, and that is where Tanya entered the first grade. After a few months she had an accent that was indistinguishable from the other British school children. But after returning to Georgia she lost it all within two weeks. Tanya was easy for me to raise. I spanked her only twice, and raised my voice only a few times. She is now married to Joey Bakal, and has three children, ages three to ten.