For the past few months, 14-year-old Tony Camp has been learning to cope with American food, Utah's winter weather and the English language.
She's also been getting acquainted with a father she never knew, a mother she hadn't seen since she was a toddler, and three younger sisters born in Utah.While most Amerasians will never know their fathers, a few - like Tony - have been claimed by fathers or whole families who are anxious to make a home for their child.
In December, Donald Camp and his Vietnamese-born wife, Trua, traveled to Saigon for an emotional reunion with their daughter, who had been cared for by his wife's relatives since Saigon fell to the Communists in 1975.
Camp, who works at Hill Air Force Base, said the trip culminated six years of trying to bring their daughter to the United States. When they learned of a tour being offered to Vietnam, "We decided to get on the tour and see what we could do to hurry up the paperwork."
Camp was in Vietnam with the Air Force when he and his wife were married in September 1972. In November 1972 he got orders to return to the United States.
Trua stayed behind because she didn't have a passport or permission to leave the country. "She was trying to get all that accomplished, but it never was accomplished before the end of the war," said Camp.
When Saigon fell, she was evacuated. "Our daughter was staying with my wife's parents, and there was no way to get back and pick her up."
For six years after that, they had no word from family members. They didn't even know if their daughter was alive.
Just before Christmas that year, his wife received the first letter from her family.
"It was almost six years later from that time that we were over there and were able to bring her out."
Tony lived with her grandparents for about eight years. Then she was taken in by her mother's uncle. Because he lived in Saigon, it was easier to do the paperwork needed for an exit permit.
"For those initial six years, the people in Vietnam were just afraid to communicate," Camp said. "Even when they did start communicating, they tried to code their letters, not really be direct in what they were trying to say for fear of reprisal.
"Hindsight is always 20-20, but it seems like they had a lot of unfounded fears. The communists didn't go after people who were affiliated with Amerasian children."
He said that when he and his wife met the family in Saigon, "there were a few tears and all that.
"It's a little unusual for the Vietnamese. They usually don't show much emotion in public, but after all those years it's pretty hard to hold that back."
There were still obstacles. They had a two-week visa but extended it so they could stay in Vietnam 26 days.
With the deadline nearing when they would have to leave, they were told their daughter could not come with them because of possible problems when she arrived in Thailand.
"We went back to Thailand on a Monday and waited. She came out on an Orderly Departure Program flight the following Thursday." They arrived in Utah Jan. 17.
Tony (Camp had asked his wife to give the baby that name when she was born, but instead she had a Vietnamese name for the first 14 years of her life) goes to Davis Junior High School in Kaysville, which has special classes in English as a second language. Camp said she only had four years of formal schooling in Vietnam, but apparently had some tutoring. She could read English and make the proper sounds, but she didn't understand what she was saying.
"She's getting along quite well. We do have frustrating moments because communications aren't very good.
His wife prepares Vietnamese foods, but it's still not like home, he said. "She seems to like spaghetti and pizza, but she hasn't gotten into the hamburger and French fries kick."
Camp said discrimination against Amerasians in Vietnam seems to be subtle, taking the form of denying them education and opportunities. He said general economic conditions are also bad, but despite those problems, not all Amerasians may be eager to leave Vietnam.
"Before my wife and I went over and were able to meet with my daughter and develop some type of relationship, she herself didn't have any desire to come. I don't think she would have come had we not gone and picked her up.
"My wife's uncle got her to go ahead and do the paperwork, saying that when it came time to go would be when she had to make the decision."