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Mother and son meet again after 42 years

Mother and son meet again after 42 years

Dressed in a fresh blue suit and carrying a bouquet of flowers, Jamie Thayden is approached by his mother in Chile for the first time in his life. He looked into María Angelica Gonzalez’s eyes and said simply: “Hi, Mom.”

Maria, who for the past 42 years had believed her son had died shortly after his birth, covered her face with her hands and wept. Jimmy immediately fell into her arms and told her in Spanish how much you loved her. The scenes of mother and son reuniting after more than four decades are heartfelt and bear witness to the pain they both endured.

“It was amazing, like finding a piece of a jigsaw puzzle after 42 years,” Jamie said after the engagement. “It’s amazing that I immediately felt like I belonged, like I should be here all the time.

The August 17 encounter was filmed by Nos Bouscamos, an organization working for Nos Bouscamos Reunification of Chileans who, like Jimmy, were kidnapped from their parents as children in the 1970s and 1980s and put her up for international adoption under false pretenses.

Jimmy, now a criminal defense attorney, was raised by adoptive parents in Virginia.

But he was born in a hospital in the Chilean capital, Santiago. He was born prematurely and placed in an incubator. Medical staff sent his mother home and when she later came to see her baby, she was told that little Jimmy had passed away.

“When she asked for my body so she could at least bury her son, they refused that too and told her they got rid of the body,” Jamie says. His adoptive parents were also misled. Adoption records indicate that he has no living relatives, although he does, in fact, have a mother and four brothers and a sister.

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Harsh adoption practices under dictator Augusto Pinochet

Jimmy and his family fell victim to the cruel decades-long practice of adoption during the rule of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. In contrast, children from lower-income families were often placed with Americans and other foreign families who paid high fees.

“The people the babies were handed over to were led to believe that everything was legal, that everything was legitimate. They thought they were going to pay for things like the mother’s medical bills, checkups, babysitting, postpartum care, etc,” he explains. Jimmy.

In fact, the families involved have not seen any of the money.

The exact number of victims is not known to this day. However, it is estimated that more than 20,000 children were stolen in this way. Some organizations even assume as many as 50,000 children.

Jimmy first learned about it when his wife stumbled upon a USA Today article about a California man who had been reunited with his Chilean family. Turn to Nos Bouscamos. The organization is working with genealogy platform MyHeritage, which provides free at-home DNA testing kits to Chilean adoptees.

At first, Jimmy hesitates before taking the test.

“I am a criminal defense attorney, so I was initially unwilling to reveal my DNA,” he explains. But he and his wife just lost two children – twins. “I realized that if I refused to tell the truth to my mother, I would be no better than the perpetrators.”

His DNA test confirmed he was 100 percent Chilean and matched him to his cousin, who also used MyHeritage. This eventually leads Jimmy to his mother’s house.

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“It is God’s miracle.”

“It’s a miracle from God,” Maria, 69, told USA Today. “And when I learned that he was alive, I couldn’t believe it.Jimmy, his wife and their two daughters stayed longer with the family in Chile after their first meeting.

“We only had time. We sat and talked and exchanged pictures — pictures of family moments that I missed. I also show them family moments and photos from my life. “Something as simple as going to a corner store, a place they go to several times a day to buy groceries, is an adventure for me because… that was a store I would go to,” he explains.

He also introduced his mothers – “Mama” and “Mom” – on a video call.

“The first thing my mom said to my mom was, ‘Thank you.'” Thank you for taking care of him and giving him an important life. She had every reason to be angry and resentful… instead she faced the moment with humility. And my mom too. I thanked her too, and I thanked her for the gift of a son to take care of.”

Jimmy uses his newfound lights to stand up for the other families. It calls for more support from the Chilean government and the states where the adoptions took place to enable more such reunifications.

“It cannot be undone.”

“It cannot be undone. You can only do better,” he said.The only way to improve this is through family reunification, and it should be affordable for everyone, regardless of financial means“.

He keeps thinking about the landmarks he missed. “Let there be no more missed weddings and holidaysHe said. And this is his guiding principle for the future. For him and his new family, there should be no goodbyes anymore, just a ‘see you later’.

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