Never pass up on an opportunity

Life hands us many cards and it’s for us, as individuals, to determine whether those cards make a good hand. Some cards are Kings and Queens, some are little numbers which, when put with other cards make a good hand. Some cards take the form of Jokers, but I rather like to call them Wild cards!

I was offered a Joker quite some months ago. It was a shot in the dark, however, I decided to add it to my hand, not knowing what would become of it. This is what happened:

I was searching the valuable tool on the net which is YouTube for footage of the Babylift, Vietnam War and documentaries. I saw a comment that someone had written on one of these videos. Someone had recognised themselves in a piece of footage from the Babylift. So I decided to make contact. Searching that person’s profile, there was no way to contact them other than through YouTube messenger service, but I just dropped a line to say hi and how I would like to get in contact with them.

Some months passed and I checked my YouTube account for a reply, but to no avail, even though I’m signed up for email alerts, I didn’t want to put this down to fate, even up to a few weeks ago there was nothing. I was sure that if this person wanted to get in contact they would’ve done by now and so I had signed this one off.

Even so, I felt that my communication would’ve proved valuable on the off-chance of making contact. The ball was in their court, it was out of my hands. I wasn’t going to pursue, I had to respect their privacy.

Then, all of a sudden, out of blue, just the other day I got an email alert. It was this person responding to my message, apologising for not having been in contact simply because they didn’t use YouTube much. She gave me her Facebook username and told me to contact her there, which I duly did. Within days we were connected. I have been meaning to drop her a line to say hi but weekends are always busy, promising myself to do it later on.

This morning I get an alert on my mobile phone to say that she’d left a message on my wall. She’d been through my orphanage pictures and she thinks she recognises herself in some of them. Does this mean she was in the same orphanage as me? This is a magical moment that I just had to share with you. I’m currently at work at the moment but I had to get something in writing to share with you all.

When I get home, I’m going to make contact. I need to find out more.

Viktoria embarks on another journey. This is extraordinary!

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Author: Viktoria Cowley

Viktoria Cowley has a birth certificate to prove she was born, however, the date of this she knows not to be true. In fact, she knows very little about her first few years of life before she was adopted by a British family, father Douglas and mother Jennifer and brother Jonathan. What she knows about life before this is still a mystery, Viktoria was in the Lam Thi Ny orphanage in the district of Gia Dinh, Saigon, having been supposedly 'abandoned' by her mother. Viktoria does not know her birth name as it was changed when she entered the orphanage to Lam Yen Hang, neither does she know when or where she was really born. Her parentage is also a mystery - having been told two conflicting stories, however, following a DNA test, both stories have been proven to be untrue, and instead of being 100% Vietnamese, is only half Vietnamese so can only assume she is the product of a serviceman and Vietnamese mother. Viktoria's adoptive father worked for the British American Tobacco company in Vietnam at the time and had chosen her from her orphanage and started the adoption process back in 1974. Douglas had finished his tour of duty at the end of 1974 and had made arrangements for Viktoria to be accompanied by a friend to the UK in June of 1975, however by that time, Vietnam was coming to its end and the careful arrangements were no longer going to work. Operation Babylift started and Viktoria was flown to the UK when the then-Foreign Editor of the Daily Mail, Brian Freemantle, instigated the UK Babylift, helping to bring 100 Vietnamese orphans to safety. She quite often refers to herself as being "the baby in the middle" of three on the front page of the Daily Mail of 7 April 1975. Viktoria lives with Paul and they have a son, Harry, named after Brian Freemantle (Brian's middle name) in recognition of Operation Babylift. She often states she doesn't know whether she would be where she is today if it hadn't been for him as all records and information had been destroyed and she wonders if she would have even made it to her 'forever family' had he not stepped in. Harry still remains Viktoria's only genetic connection that she knows about to date. Viktoria has appeared on many media programs over the years, including BBC One: Inside Out South East (2009), BBC One 'Airmail Orphan' (2010), BBC One South East Today (2009), BBC News 24 (2010) BBC The One Show (2018) and has done various radio interviews, including BBC Radio Five Live with Nicky Campbell (2010); BBC World Service, BBC Radio Scotland. Viktoria has various online resources for collating and sharing information with others and is attempting to write a story based on her Operation Babylift beginnings.

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