"With the reunion, I'm hoping it can help all of us put the Vietnam experience to rest," she said. "It's such a painful chapter in the history of our country -- families were torn apart. There were mistakes all over that war, but when I look at Tim, I see living proof of one thing that was really done right."
Years after Holtan became Tim's mother, she became the director of adoptions for Tressler Adoption Services, which was involved in the babylifts and is a reunion sponsor. The Holtans live in a converted mill house in Whiteford, a suburb near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. In Tim's third-story bedroom, Budweiser girls and Bruce Lee adorn his walls.
"Bruce Lee is my hero. He's the only Asian guy who beat up white guys on TV and got back at them," Tim said. "You grow up in elementary school hearing racial slurs. And in middle school they get stronger."
The only other Asian people in his classes were his brother and sister, Seth and Kimberly, both 26, and both adopted from Korea after Tim. The Holtans also have two biological children, Meredith, 22, and Erin, 21.
Barbara and Andy Holtan have never been to Vietnam, but Tim went back and spent two years volunteering in an orphanage in Saigon. First he ran errands and did clerical work. As he learned the language, he started translating for American families.
His time in Vietnam helped him resolve some of his feelings about the war and himself.
"It wasn't right or wrong for the U.S. to be there. It happened and you have to accept that," he said. "The Vietnamese have moved on, they don't hold grudges. Americans are more closed-minded about it."
In Vietnam, he was known as a Viet Kieu, meaning "overseas Vietnamese" and was accepted by the country he left as a toddler. He went to the fishing village of Vinh Long, where he was born, and unsuccessfully tried to find his birth record.
"I looked around and that was enough. After I saw where I was born, I could accept it," he said. "It was nice to be in a place where everybody looked like me. I didn't get funny looks for being the only minority in the room."
Tisdale, the baby-lift worker now living in Seattle, went back, too. But her experience was troubling. .
In 1975, she had to leave behind about 200 children from the orphanage behind because they were too old to leave the country -- Vietnamese law allowed the overseas adoption of only children under 10
Twenty years later, Tisdale found about 60 of the children from her Saigon orphanage who stayed in the city.
"They basically grew up in the street; they're not doing well," she said. "It's a very sad situation."