Man Reunites With Chilean Mother 42 Years After Hospital Declared Him Dead
González’s traumatic birth story made her cry “oceans” of tears for decades.
She gave birth to Thyden prematurely in a Santiago hospital, upon which the hospital’s staff placed him in an incubator. Then, attendants told González to leave the facility and come back the next day.
After the mother’s return, they told her that her son had died and they had “disposed” of his body.
Thyden explained in a Facebook post, “My Mamá was cheated out of my existence.”
“Before [my birth mother] could even hold me, or name me, the ‘doctors’ and ‘nurses’ took me away for an incubator,” he described. “That’s what they told her. In fact, it was only a scheme. When my Mamá asked for me, asked for her baby boy, the hospital told her I had died.”
“When she asked for my body so that she could have the dignity of a burial for her son, they told her ‘it had been disposed of,'” he added. Later, he was adopted — and never knew the harsh reality of being stolen until 42 years later.
Fast-forward to this month, Thyden and González embraced as mother and son for the first time.
As the Virginia criminal defense lawyer put it to AP News, “How do you hug someone in a way that makes up for 42 years of hugs?”
Thyden said reuniting with his birth mother after 42 years “knocked the wind out” of him
In an interview with AP, Thyden described what it was like reuniting with his 69-year-old birth mother in Valdivia, Chile.
“It knocked the wind out of me. … I was suffocated by the gravity of this moment,” he explained.
The 42-year-old said that he and his family were the victims of a “counterfeit adoption” scheme.
Thyden began his search for his birth mother this past April after he read articles about other adoptees originally from Chile. He learned that the nonprofit organization Nos Buscamos Chile could help connect him to his lost past.
“The paperwork I have for my adoption tells me I have no living relatives,” he explained. “And I learned in the last few months that I have a mama and I have four brothers and a sister.”
Thyden described on Instagram how his birth family believed he was dead for over four decades. Two years after his birth, his “loving family” adopted him.
“40 years ago I was adopted by my loving family, raised in a family built by adoption,” he described. “I was raised by John (my dad) and Freda Lippert-Thyden (my mom) and given every opportunity.” He also had “loving siblings” within his adoptive family.
“For 40 years that was my story,” he wrote.
Thyden never expected that his adoption story was actually an “evil,” orchestrated maneuver. Today, he says the Chilean government under then-dictator Augusto Pinochet played a hand in his fate.
“The government of Chile under Pinochet had an evil scheme to take children out of Chile, away from their families and adopt them out of the country for profit,” he said.
As per USA Today, human rights groups believe that more than 20,000 Chilean babies were taken from their mothers from the 1960s to 1990s. International families who didn’t know about the scheme adopted them.
In fact, Thyden wrote that adoptive parents like his paid “what they believed to be legitimate fees” for things like “doctor appointments.” As the 42-year-old told AP, his adoptive parents were “unwitting victims,” too.
“My parents wanted a family but they never wanted it like this,” he told the outlet. “Not at the extortion of another, the robbing of another.”
Meanwhile, González said she “suffered” for decades
So how did Thyden and Nos Buscamos find his birth mother? Well, it all started with a DNA test.
Nos Buscamos partnered with MyHeritage to offer free DNA tests to Chilean adoptees. These kits could help them find out more about their birth families.
Thyden’s DNA test luckily matched him to a first cousin from Chile. The Virginia lawyer sent his newly-found cousin his adoption papers, which included his birth mother’s name. Later, that cousin finally connected him to González.
At that point, he shared with his mother all that he had accomplished in the past four decades. He sent her photos of his wedding, time in the U.S. Marines, and more.
After that, Thyden decided to travel to Chile with his wife and two young daughters to meet his biological family.
As reported by USA Today, some of Thyden’s first words to his mother were: “Hola mamá” and “Te amo mucho.”
Days after their tear-filled embrace, González described the moment to the outlet: “It’s a miracle from God.”
“When I learned that he was alive, I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Still, Thyden told USA Today that he is grieving their situation, too. “I am happy for the moments we’re getting right now, but I lament the loss of 42 years of time with my family”
“It’s the frustration of losing my culture and the frustration of losing so much time,” he added.
González never told her five other children about losing a child. She “closed [herself] off to the world” instead.
“I suffered a lot,” she described. “They told me he died. … You trust the word of the doctors and nurses because they’re the authorities of the hospital.”
Meanwhile, Thyden told AP News that his birth mother told him she spent countless nights “praying that God let [her] live long enough to learn what happened” to him.
After mother and son embraced at González’s Valdivia home, they decided to do something extra special.
The family members popped 42 balloons, which symbolized every year they were apart.
“There is an empowerment in popping those balloons,” he said.
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