42 years ago, María Angélica González had a baby in Chile. After the birth, she was told by a nurse that her son had to be placed in the incubator because he was born prematurely. Not long after, she received the devastating news that her baby had died. She trusted what the hospital staff said because at that point she could never have imagined anyone lying to her. González was given 42 years to believe. Today she knows that it was not true because her son is still alive.

Jimmy Thyden, as he is now known, was kidnapped and taken to the United States. There he was adopted by the Thyden family and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. He and his adoptive family believed his entire life that he had no living relatives in Chile. This is reported by the news sites “USA Today” and “The Guardian”.

One day Jimmy heard the story of a man from California who found out he was kidnapped as a baby by his mother in Chile. After hearing the report, he wondered if it might not have been the same for him and began to search for the truth. He contacted an organization called “Nos Buscamos”, which means “We are looking for each other” in German. Thyden had to take a DNA test, which finally revealed the truth: The organization found out through a genealogy platform that Jimmy Thyden has relatives in Valdivia, a city in southern Chile. And not only distant relatives live there, but his mother, four brothers and one sister.

Then came the day when the 42-year-old made his way to Chile to meet his family. When mother and son first met, the two fell into each other’s arms and hugged each other tightly, crying and sobbing. “Hola, Mamá,” he said when he finally found the words again. María Angélica González told USA Today that she couldn’t believe he was still alive when she found out about it. “Nothing compares – it was a clash of emotions for me,” Thyden told The Guardian. Jimmy then got to know the rest of his family and wandered the neighborhoods to see what he had been missing over the years.

Jimmy Thyden now lives in Ashburn, Virginia with his family and works as a criminal defense attorney. He is grateful that his adoptive family gave him a loving home and the opportunity to get a good education in the USA. Human rights groups estimate that over 20,000 babies were abducted in Chile between 1960 and 1990. The children were adopted by unsuspecting parents abroad. Midwives, doctors, social workers, nuns, priests and judges are said to have been involved in the illegal organization. The events were first reported in 2014 after the investigative news agency Ciper dealt with the cases.

Sources: The Guardian, USA Today, Instagram