First time Chilean mother is hugged by son who was abducted at birth

First time Chilean mother is hugged by son who was abducted at birth


An extraordinary moment occurred as a son, who had been taken from his mother at birth and falsely informed of his death in a Chilean hospital, was finally reunited with his family after 42 years. Jimmy Thyden, now 42 years old, a criminal defense attorney from Ashburn, Virginia, met his mother, Maria Angelica Gonzalez, for the first time in an emotional reunion at her residence in Valdivia, Chile, on August 17. With tears in his eyes, Jimmy expressed his love for his mother during this heartfelt encounter.

Jimmy’s family reunion included his mother, four brothers, and a sister, all of whom he had been separated from for decades. The occasion was marked with 42 balloons symbolizing the long period of separation. Jimmy described the empowerment he felt as he popped those balloons and reconnected with his family. He tightly embraced his two long-lost brothers, Pablo Leiva Gonzalez and Jonathan Gonzalez, during this emotional gathering.

Jimmy, accompanied by his wife Johannah and their two daughters, Ebba Joy and Betty Grace, was deeply moved by the reunion. He expressed the overwhelming nature of the moment, stating that it left him breathless and filled with the gravity of the 42-year gap. He wondered how one could hug someone in a way that compensates for four decades of missed embraces.

Jimmy’s journey to find his mother began when he read news stories about Chilean-born adoptees reuniting with their birth families. He reached out to the Chilean non-profit organization Nos Buscamos, which specializes in investigating family connections and reuniting separated family members.

Nos Buscamos uncovered the heartbreaking truth that Jimmy, a premature baby born in a Santiago hospital, had been placed in an incubator. His mother was deceived by hospital staff, who falsely informed her that he had died and disposed of his body. This was part of a larger child trafficking scandal that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s under the rule of General Augusto Pinochet, during which thousands of children were taken from their families and sent abroad for adoption by wealthy individuals.


Jimmy emphasized that his adoptive parents, who chose not to be interviewed, were also victims in this tragic ordeal, as they were unaware that he had been forcibly taken. Jimmy acknowledged his good fortune in reuniting with his biological family and called on governments to acknowledge and investigate this issue.

He met with Juan Gabriel Valdes, the Chilean ambassador to the United States, to advocate for government recognition of the widespread nature of the adoption scheme. Jimmy highlighted the lack of support mechanisms for Chilean adoptees seeking to reconnect with their homeland, including the financial burden of such journeys.

In his efforts to bring attention to this issue, Jimmy emphasized the importance of individuals having the right to decide their name and citizenship, as well as access to both. He called for all the rights and privileges of Chilean citizenship to be extended to those who were affected by this forced separation.

The Chilean Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment on this matter.

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