ChileJimmy Lippert Tyden cried while hugging his mother after 42 years when hospital staff lied to him that he had died and was put up for adoption.
“I love you so much,” Tyden said to Maria Angelica Gonzalez in Spanish as they wept and hugged each other at her home in Valdivia, Chile, August 17.
The search for the biological family began in April after he read news that Chilean adopted children were reunited with relatives thanks to the non-profit organization Nos Buscamos.
This organization discovered 42 years ago that Taiden was born prematurely in a hospital in Santiago, Chile’s capital, and placed in an incubator. Gonzalez was asked to leave the hospital, but when she returned to pick up her son, the hospital staff told her that her son had died and that his body had been cremated.
Tyden was adopted by an American family and raised in Virginia, USA. The adoption papers listed her biological mother as Maria Angelica Gonzalez, but stated that she had passed away.
“The papers say I have no living relatives. But over the past few months, I’ve learned that I still have a mother and four siblings,” Tyden said. He currently lives in Ashburn, Virginia, working as a lawyer after 19 years in the US Marine Corps.
He called his case a “fake adoption”. Nos Buscamos estimates that tens of thousands of babies were taken from their families in Chile in the 1970s and 1980s, based on reports from the Chilean Investigative Police Service on the passports of children who left the country and have yet to return. This activity involved a network of midwives, doctors, social workers, nuns, priests and judges, many of whom became wealthy as a result.
“The real story is that these children are kidnapped from poor families, poor women don’t know this story. They don’t know how to protect themselves,” says Constanza del Rio, founder and director of Nos Buscamos.
Del Rio reported that Nos Buscamos has hosted more than 450 reunions in the past nine years. Several other non-profit organizations are doing similar work, such as Hijos y Madres del Silencio in Chile and Connecting Roots in the US.
Nos Buscamos has been partnering for two years with MyHeritage, a genealogy platform that provides free home DNA testing kits to Chilean adopted children and suspected victims of child trafficking in Chile.
Tyden’s DNA test showed he was 100% Chilean and had the same results as a relative who also used MyHeritage. Through a relative, Tyden was able to contact his biological mother Gonzalez, sending her photographs of his American foster parents, his time in the US Marine Corps, wedding photographs, his daughter, and many memorable moments from his life.
“I’m trying to show my mother what she was deprived of for 42 years, or rather, we were selected,” Tyden said.
He eventually took his wife Joanna and two daughters Ebba Joy, 8, and Betty Grace, 5, to Chile to reunite with his family. Upon entering his mother’s house, Tyden was greeted by 42 colorful balloons, each representing a year of separation between him and his family.
“Son, you have no idea how much I cried for you. How many nights have I been awake, may God bless me to live long enough to know what happened to you,” she said.
Gonzalez called the meeting with Tyden “a miracle from God.” “When I heard that my son was still alive, I was overwhelmed with emotions, I could not believe my ears.”
“I have mixed feelings when I see my family again. I am very happy, but at the same time heartbroken when I think about what my mother went through. Why are there people who make her suffer so much pain,” Taiden said.
He said his adoptive parents were supportive of his son’s reunion with lost relatives. They are also “victims” of the illegal adoption network. “My parents wanted a family, but not like this,” Tyden said. “Not based on robbery from others.”
Hong Han (In accordance with The Guardian, USA Today)