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Sunday 4 December 2011

Lost Children Found

Earlier this year I blogged about Spain’s ‘Robbed Children’. During the Franco regime and for some twenty years after his death in 1975, a large number of new born children were removed from their natural parents and ‘sold on’ to adoptive parents. Doctors and member of the Church were involved in this business and the real parents were told their child had died.

The BBC produced a documentary on the distress caused and showed it last October. (See my last blog post about this). Amongst the cases they followed was an American citizen living in Austin Texas called Randy Ryder. He is now forty but only found out his parents were not really his parents twelve or thirteen years ago. One of the difficulties for children seeking their real parents is that documents like birth certificates were systematically falsified. Adoptive parents were recorded as the biological parents.

The documentary followed him through DNA testing to see whether or not he was the lost brother that a family were trying to track down. The DNA test showed he was not.

It’s a tough set of circumstances and the DNA register set up to help is necessarily limited. Of the roughly 1,500 legal cases opened only 6 so far have resulted in a DNA match.

In today’s El Pais it is reported that Randy has now found his mother. There is a twist. For a start she is not Spanish but South African and now living in London. Nor was he ‘robbed’. For an aspiring, 25 year old actress in Malaga, his birth was inconvenient and she gave him up for adoption. They are going to meet soon.

I am certainly not going to judge anyone but will also say that over 200 of the cases have been ‘archivado’ – shelved – because the mothers were found to have collaborated in the sale of their children. That’s how things are.

El Pais however also gives a case in which a mother and daughter (who have chosen anonymity) have been reunited through the DNA register. At first the mother was both upset and incredulous. She had been told she had given birth to a stillborn son. Indeed, she refused to accept the results of a second DNA test. It wasn’t until she agreed to meet her daughter that she saw the person claiming to be her daughter looked pretty much like her other daughter.

It would be nice to say this rare success had immediately gone well. But the mother is now as it were grieving for the child she did not have for thirty seven years, while the same but now adult child helps her through confusion and distress. That’s also how things are.

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