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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Nieto #119 is Found in Argentina: "Es un milagro"

Mario Bravo with Estela de Carlotto, President of the Abuelas 
Yesterday in Argentina, Mario Bravo, 38 years old, met his mother for the first time. Adopted as a baby after he was forcefully taken from his mother, who was 18 years old and being held by the military junta for her political views, he began his search in 2007. "Es un milagro haber encontrado a mi mamá con vida" he said ("It's a miracle to have met my mother alive"). My mom, too, spoke of miracles when telling of how she met her sisters after more than 60 years of separation. In the case of Mario Bravo, though, it is an even more astonishing miracle that his mother survived. Most mothers of the children stolen during Argentina's dirty war (1976-1983) were killed. Only their grandmothers were left to search for them. They have been searching for more than 40 years, and it is their hard work and advocacy that allow "miracles" like this to occur. Because of them, Argentina has a National Commission on the Right to Identity. Even soccer star Lionel Messi has filmed a spot for the Abuelas in which he encourages his fellow Argentinians to seek out their true identities if they have any doubts because "Te estamos buscando" (We're looking for you). "We" are the families searching for their lost children. ("Resolvé tu identidad ahora," Click HERE to watch). Mario Bravo is Nieto #119, the 119th grandchild to have been found and reunited with his biological family because of the efforts of this group. The Abuelas estimate that there are some 300 more to be found. "Lo que pasó es muy feo, What happened is very ugly," Mario Bravo said, "Lo que venga, es linda, What is to come, is beautiful."

It was only a few hours after reading about Mario that a friend of mine shared the following article with me: Canadian Mothers Whose Babies Were Stolen. It's about young single mothers who were told their babies had died when in actuality those babies were stolen from them and placed for adoption (see also: Forced Adoptions, National Post Article). A decade ago, a Canadian woman named Tina Kelly filed a United Nations report claiming just this. She is not some lone outlier, as the articles show. Australia, Spain, Ireland, Guatemala, and yes, the United States. All have had multiple credible stories of babies being taken from their mothers and placed for adoption when they never should have been.

This is not to say that all those who were adopted were stolen, or even that all parents are desperately searching for the children they have lost. Some adoption agencies are ethical, of course, and some children do need homes. My mom, apparently, was one of those children (though her adoption agency, which has maintained "no position" on adoptees' access to their true identities, is not ethical in my book). Still, the fact that such grave violations of human rights DO exist, and are hidden under the guise of adoption, means that perhaps it is time to have our own National Commission on the Right to Identity here in the United States. While I have great sympathy for the adopted person and what she faces as she decides to search for her biological family, I also have sympathy for those mothers and fathers who feel that their children were stolen from them. Perhaps not by a military dictatorship, but stolen just the same.



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