Long night of waiting

Date: 1975-04-07

Daily News (Port Angeles)

Sunday morning at SeaTac airport was long and exciting. The flying nursery, a 747 Pan Am jet, carrying 407 Vietnamese war orphans touched down at 12:30 a.m. It was 6:30 a.m. before Mr. and Mrs. L.E. (Rick) Withers and Mrs. Reginald Eiseman of Port Angeles had their orphans ready to come home.

Mr. and Mrs. Ted Ripley and seven other volunteers from Port Angeles went to Seattle to help process and care for the children. The Holt Children's Service staff needed additional help, and there were 75 volunteers helping with the processing. The Ripleys, who have adopted children, worked with the prospective parents.

During the long wait parents were grouped together alphabetically and as the night went on they developed a fellowship of growing expectation meanwhile visiting and
exchanging ideas.

Mrs. Bertha Holt, widow of Harry Holt, founder of the Holt Adoption Agency, of England has a sparkling personality in her late 70s, visited with the parents. A hundred and fifty of the children who were to go to foster homes in Seattle went through customs and immigration earlier and were playing in the hallway where waiting adoptive parents
could watch.

About 200 of the children were going on to Chicago and had to be processed first so they could catch their plane. It took more than three hours to unload the aircraft because public health officials ordered all the children vaccinated for measles immediately. Most of the children on board were under 2 years old, and the volunteer escorts were kept busy diapering and feeding their young charges. Diarrhea, caused by the wrong milk formula, was the most common problem.


Hearts, homes open to Vietnam orphans
Three area families adopt refugees from war regions

By VIRGINIA KEETING

Three Vietnamese war orphans are beginning a new life this week, welcomed into the homes of Clallam County families. Mr. and Mrs. L.E. (Rick) Withers of Port Angeles spent Saturday night and Sunday morning at SeaTac waiting to greet their Ruth Ann.

Tired and sleepy, she reached for her new mother and new doll, went to sleep as soon as they were in the car, and slept the clock around after arriving home. Mrs. Withers woke her up to eat a meal of rice and vegetables. This morning she was up breakfasting with the family. Her lack of English seems to make little difference, Mrs. Withers
communicates with the quiet 6-year-old Vietnamese-black through love and a mother's instinct. Sunday Mrs. Hoa Ingram, Vietnamese wife of the Army recruiter, came to talk to the little girl.

Ruth Ann said she wants to go to school. But not this week. Mrs. Withers thinks she needs a few days to rest and adjust before she gets on the bus with her sister Becky, 9. The Witherses have two older  children, Cheryl, 17, and David, 16 in high school. Withers took today off to get acquainted with his new daughter. Mrs. Carol Eiseman went with the Witherses to SeaTac for her adopted son, named Lawrence Marcus Eiseman n. Her husband, Reginald Eiseman, a chief warrant officer on the U.S. Coast
Guard ship Campbell won't be home until April 15 but his wife said, "I got a message out to him and he's on Cloud 9."

The Eisemans requested three Vietnamese children to raise with their two girls, Annette 8, and Becky, 7. Mrs. Eiseman says she is ready for a second one any time. Their 6-year-old Lawrence, a Vietnamese-American, wasn't sure at first about leaving his friends from the plane to come with his new mother, but once they were on their way he was fine. This morning he was an interested spectator as Mrs. Eiseman helped the girls get ready for school. Lawrence has had polio, wears braces on both legs and walks with crutches. The adoption agency says the handicap is correctible, and he is a happy looking child with a wide grin, welcoming the new way of things. He speaks some English, and Mrs. Eiseman said picked up about 20 new words Sunday. The Coast Guard Officers Wives are giving her a shower for him. The first to arrive was James Gregory Dickinson, 7, who was met at SeaTac Wednesday on a flight from Hong Kong with eight younger children. His adoptive father is Gregory Dickinson, Forks high school teacher, who has already made a home for two nephews, David, 15 and Timmy, 11. Dickinson is on the board of the Vietnamese Orphanage Project Adoption Agency.

Dickinson said there were no problems of settling in for the seven year- old. Not sure of sizes, he bought size six and slim eight clothes, and both fit James. A serious little boy, he speaks some English, knows his alphabet, and nursery songs. Coming over on the plane, he helped take care of the younger children. A Vietnamese-American, he was in the Holt Reception Center for almost a year. He has already been to the doctor for a checkup, and to a dentist. Waiting for him was a new puppy called "Squeaker," he knows is his very own.

Today he started off to school, with a world of new things to learn. Dickinson's summer plans for the boys include a trip to Disneyland and showing them the U.S. while visiting relatives in California, Arizona and Iowa

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