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Chilean adoptee reunites with birth mother, helps other stolen adoptees do the same

María Hastings, who lives in Tampa, FL, embraces for first time her biological mother upon her arrival to the airport in Santiago, Chile, on a trip organized by Connecting Roots, an organization that helps reunite with their Chilean biological families children who were taken to be put up for adoption during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. (Esteban Felix/AP)
María Hastings, who lives in Tampa, FL, embraces for first time her biological mother upon her arrival to the airport in Santiago, Chile, on a trip organized by Connecting Roots, an organization that helps reunite with their Chilean biological families children who were taken to be put up for adoption during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. (Esteban Felix/AP)

From the 1960s through the 1980s in Chile, about 20,000 babies were stolen from their mothers and placed in adoptions outside the country. The mothers were young and poor. Some were Indigenous. They were lied to, often being told their babies died at birth.

This was part of a secret scheme by the government that involved a vast network of traffickers, and it was part of General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. An investigation brought it to light in 2014, and since then Chilean adoptees around the world have been looking to reunite with their birth families in Chile.

Host Scott Tong speaks with one of them: Tyler Graf, a firefighter from Houston who founded an organization called Connecting Roots to help other adoptees from Chile find birth mothers.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.