Man Reunited With His Family 42 Years After He Was Stolen as a Newborn Baby

By: Lauren | Published: Oct 24, 2023

Jimmy Lippert Thyden met his biological mother for the first time last month; she had believed he was dead for 42 years.

Jimmy’s story is heartbreaking and beautiful now that he has been reunited with his family. But as one of the 20,000 newborn babies stolen from Chile from the 1960s to the 1990s, Jimmy’s tale is one of incredible importance.

Living With Loss

42 years ago, María Angélica González gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in Chile. Moments after a successful labor, the nurse told Maria that her baby was premature and needed to be transferred to an incubator.

Advertisement

Source: MyHeritage.com

Shortly after, she was told that her baby had died. Maria went on to have five more children, though she never told them about the child she had lost. Maria lived with that sadness for 42 long years.

One Article Changed Everything

In April, Jimmy was living his life with his wife and two daughters in Virginia when he saw an article about a man from California who had recently found out that he had been stolen from his mother in Chile.

Advertisement

Source: MyHeritage.com

Jimmy immediately stopped in his tracks and realized that this horrific story could have happened to him as well, as he knew he was adopted from Chile around the same time.

Location Services & DNA Testing Led to the Wonderful Reunion

Jimmy decided to contact Nos Buscamos, a non-profit dedicated to reuniting the stolen babies from Chile with their biological parents. He then took a DNA test, and within weeks, the organization had found his family.

Advertisement

Source: HumanKind

Jimmy told the media that he was initially hesitant to look, afraid of what he would find. But then he thought about the moment that he and his wife lost twin daughters due to miscarriage and said, “All I could think about is, if there’s a woman in this world that suffered that anguish that I just suffered and she suffered it for no other reason than someone’s greed, then I would be a monster on par with the perpetrators of this act to deny the truth of letting this woman know I lived.”

Heartbreaking & Beautiful Feelings

Jimmy explained his complicated emotions to the media, “I am happy for the moments we’re getting right now, but I lament the loss of 42 years of time with my family, with my siblings, with her. It’s the frustration of losing my culture and the frustration of losing so much time, to not have the built memories together, to not have the experiences of a shared lifetime.”

Advertisement

Source: MyHeritage.com

While Maria simply stated, “It’s a miracle from God. When I learned that he was alive, I couldn’t believe it.”

Jimmy’s Story is Not Unique

Sadly, Jimmy and Maria’s story is not unique. In fact, human rights groups now believe that more than 20,000 children were taken from Chile in the latter half of the 20th century.

Source: Marco Cifuentes/BioBio Chile

Most of the babies were taken from low-income mothers in Chile and then sold to various companies and people who would then adopt them out to unknowing parents in the USA and Europe.

Advertisement

Pinochet’s Orders

Researchers now understand that there were nurses, doctors, social workers, priests, and judges all working to steal the estimated 20,000 babies from Chile between the 1960s and 1990s.

Advertisement

Source: Daniele Darolle/Sygma/Getty Images

Each of these criminals in the elaborate human trafficking operation was apparently following orders from the infamous General Augusto Pinochet to improve Chile’s economy. Whether or not the Chilean government was actually aware of the trafficking is not confirmed, though experts believe that it’s highly unlikely they were in the dark.

Advertisement

The Chilean Government Has Done Nothing to Help

Although we don’t know if the previous Chilean government was aware of the trafficking, the government has since absolutely been informed of this travesty.

Source: SVT/Nordvision

However, they have yet to do anything to help or even acknowledge or apologize to the affected families. Constanza del Río, who runs Nos Buscamos, explained, “We have been working with the last three presidents, and all of them have congratulated us because of what we are doing, but still the government or the state of Chile hasn’t recognized this as a historical thing that really happened.”

Advertisement

Nos Buscamos & How You Can Help

There are several groups working to reunite the stolen children with their families in Chile, including Nos Buscamos. Constanza del Río, who founded the company, is dedicated to the project, though she receives no government funding and is completely reliant on donations and volunteers.

Advertisement

Source: Sandra Martinez/NosBuscamos

If you feel called to help Nos Buscamos and its mission, take a look at their website to see how you can get involved.

Advertisement

Hundreds of Stolen Babies Have Been Reunited With Their Chilean Parents

It’s estimated that over 650 stolen Chilean children have now been reunited with their biological families due to the work of several non-profit organizations.

Source: Chilean Adoptees Worldwide

These babies are now between the ages of 35 and 65 years old, which means the mothers who lost them are anywhere between 50 and 90 years old. So groups such as Nos Buscamos, MyHeritage, and Hijos y Madres del Silencio are working tirelessly in a race against time to try to reunite as many of the 20,000 stolen children as possible before it’s too late.

Advertisement