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Mum’s heartbreaking first words to son 42 years after he was ‘stolen at birth’


Published Aug 29, 2023, 10:50am|Updated Aug 29, 2023, 11:01am



Jimmy Lippert Thyden, a lawyer with two children, began his search after reading about other Chilean-born US adoptees who found their relatives (Picture: AP)


A Chilean man raised by adoptive parents in the US has been reunited with his birth mother. 


Jimmy Lippert Thyden, a 42-year-old lawyer with two children of his own, began his search after reading news stories about other adoptees who’d been reunited with relatives through the help of non-profit Nos Buscamos. 


In a heartbreaking clip of the moment he met his biological mother, Maria Angelica Gonzalez, for the first time, Mr Thyden can be heard to say ‘hello mum’ before breaking down in tears and embracing her. 


He told the Associated Press: ‘It knocked the wind out of me… I was suffocated by the gravity of this moment. ‘How do you hug someone in a way that makes up for 42 years of hugs?’


He also recalled his mother’s first words to him after they made contact prior to their meeting: ‘My son, you have no idea the oceans I’ve cried for you. How many nights I’ve laid awake praying that God let me live long enough to learn what happened to you.’


Mr Thyden was born prematurely in 1980 at a hospital in the Chilean capital of Santiago. 



Hospital workers took him from his birth mother and placed him in an incubator, and Ms Gonzalez was later told her son had died. 


Unaware of his true origins, his legal parents later adopted him in the US, raising him in Arlington, Virginia. 


Mr Thyden’s story is not uncommon.


It’s estimated that tens of thousands of babies were taken from Chilean families in the 80s and 90s as part of an epidemic of ‘counterfeit adoptions’ – just one of a litany of human rights abuses that took place under former dictator General Augusto Pinochet. 



Maria Angelica Gonzalez told her son ‘you have idea the oceans I’ve cried for you'(Credits: AP)


Nos Buscamos, the non-profit that helped Mr Thyden find his birth mother, has facilitated more than 450 other such reunions, partnering with genealogy service MyHeritage to provide DNA testing kits to Chilean adoptees suspected to have been trafficked out of the country.


It wasn’t just Ms Gonzalez with whom Mr Thyden was reunited.


He also discovered he has four brothers, a sister, and several cousins.



Mr Thyden found his mother with the help of non-profit Nos Buscamos (Picture: AP)



A Chilean by birth, he had been raised by his adoptive parents in Arlington, Virginia (Picture: AP)


Arriving at his mother’s home, he was greeted with 42 coloured balloons, each signifying a year in which the family was separated, which they proceeded to burst together. 


He added that his adoptive parents have been supportive of his search for answers. 


Mr Thyden said: ‘My parents wanted a family but they never wanted it like this. Not at the extortion of another, the robbing of another.’

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