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Man Stolen At Birth Has Tearful Reunion With Mom 42 Years Later — 'Mijo, You Have No Idea The Oceans I've Cried For You'

Photo: @goodnews_movement / Instagram
Jimmy Lippert Thyden, María Angélica González

In a moment that was captured on video, a man was finally reunited with his mother after four decades of being apart. Jimmy Lippert Thyden had spent all of his life separated from his mother, María Angélica González, until he was finally able to meet her in an emotional reunion.

Jimmy Lippert Thyden had been stolen from his mother after his birth in Chile 42 years ago.

According to the Associated Press, Thyden, a 42-year-old criminal defense attorney from Virginia, was finally able to reunite with his mother, María, after hospital workers had taken him from her arms just a mere minutes after he was born.

"She didn't know about me because they took me at birth and told her I was dead," Jimmy said, per Reuters, while on the plane to meet his mother for the first time. "When she asked for my body, they told her they had disposed of it."

The journey to meet his mother first began in April 2023 after Jimmy reconnected with his family through DNA testing and Nos Buscamos, a Chilean non-governmental organization that helps reconnect Chilean-born adoptees who were separated from their birth parents during the 17-year dictatorship.

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The organization learned that Jimmy was born prematurely at a hospital in Santiago, Chile, and placed in an incubator. When María tried to return to the hospital to get her baby after being told to leave, she was told he had died and his body was disposed of, according to a case file Jimmy proved to the AP. 

"The paperwork I have for my adoption tells me I have no living relatives. And I learned in the last few months that I have a mama and I have four brothers and a sister,” he told the publication, saying his case was the result of a "counterfeit adoption."

Unfortunately, Jimmy is among an estimated 8,000 to 20,000 babies who were taken from mostly poor mothers in Chile and placed with families in North America, Europe, and other places, through an illegal adoption network — a policy orchestrated by the Gen. Augusto Pinochet regime in Chile during the 70s and 80s as a means of reducing poverty.

Through his DNA testing, Jimmy was able to find one of his cousins, who connected him to his mother.

After doing a DNA test on MyHeritage, Jimmy was confirmed to be 100% Chilean and was matched to his first cousin. Jimmy immediately sent over his adoption papers, which included his birth mother's address and her extremely common name in Chile.

Luckily, his cousin had a María Angélica González on their mother’s side and was able to connect him; however, his mother refused to take his phone calls until Jimmy texted a photo of his wife, Johannah, and his daughters, Ebba Joy, 8, and Betty Grace, 5, who he brought along to meet María in Chile.

In footage from the emotional first meeting between Jimmy and María, the two shared an embrace after 42 years of being separated as Jimmy told his mother he loved her in Spanish through tears. 

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“It knocked the wind out of me... I was suffocated by the gravity of this moment,” Jimmy told The Associated Press. “How do you hug someone in a way that makes up for 42 years of hugs?”

Jimmy even recalled his mother's response to hearing from him for the first time: “Mijo (son) you have no idea the oceans I’ve cried for you. How many nights I’ve laid awake praying that God let me live long enough to learn what happened to you.”

Their heartfelt reunion was filled with Jimmy catching his mother up on the years spent apart, including showing her photos of the American family who adopted him, his time serving in the U.S. Marines, his wedding, and other memorable moments.

“My parents wanted a family but they never wanted it like this,” he said of his adoptive parents, who he confirmed had been extremely supportive of his journey to reunite with his Chilean relatives. “Not at the extortion of another, the robbing of another.”

In a world where it could've been possible for the reunion between Jimmy and his mother to have ended in heartache, their story serves as a poignant reminder of the power of both hope and resilience. 

"It could have been a much worse story,” Jimmy admitted. “There are people who find out some really unfortunate details about their origin.” In their reunion, they were both able to find peace and, despite the years lost, they were gifted with the opportunity to reconnect and mend those four decades spent apart.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.