She was kidnapped in the womb
Argentina was a chaotic, violent country in the 1970s and ‘80s. Two brutal dictators hammered down on anyone who didn’t support them, often stealing dissidents away and making them “disappear.” The children of these unfortunate people were systematically taken from their parents and given to those that the state could trust. They were never to know the truth about their parents until one group of bereaved women got together to demand justice. Risking capital punishment, The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo have worked for decades to get their grandchildren back.
They’ve succeeded in over 100 recoveries, and this is one of their stories.
Getting Our Babies Back
Jorge Rafael Videla came into power as the President of Argentina on March 26, 1976, after overthrowing the previous regime. His countrymen were embroiled in a bloody civil war, and Videla masterminded the disappearances of up to 30,000 political dissidents, students, and labor union participants. Those who were lost were later found to have been tortured and/or killed under the President’s order.
The children of these abused people were stolen away and given to couples who raised them as their own. It wasn’t until 1983 when the “Dirty War” period finally ended leaving blood, tears, and loss in its wake. Finally, democracy came back to power in the South American country.
Many mothers lost their pregnant daughters during the Dirty War. Despite possible punishment, those mothers formed a group called the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in 1977 to demand the return of their grandchildren. They boldly marched every week in the main square in Buenos Aires until true democracy arrived. Then they lobbied the new, stable government to start a database in order to track down their lost relatives.
Their request was granted, and they were given the resources they needed to solve the missing persons cases. Eventually, the system would be made more tech-savvy by including DNA-matching services when the technology became available and affordable.
To date, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo have reunited 126 now-grown people with their real families.
On Dec. 5, 2017, yet another kidnapped person was reunited with her family after 40 years of not knowing who they were. Forty-year-old lawyer Adriana learned that her mother (and an activist) Violeta Graciela Ortolani was kidnapped on Dec. 14, 1976, when she was pregnant with Adriana. The woman’s father, Edgardo Roberto Garnier, was taken just months later in Feb. 1977.
Her biological parents have yet to be located and are presumed dead.
Adriana’s adoptive parents led her to believe that she was their biological daughter. It was until their deaths some months ago that she learned that she wasn’t really theirs.
“I found out on a Saturday, and on the Monday I had already gone to the Grandmothers. I wanted to know if I was the daughter of people who had disappeared, more than anything because of my date of birth,” Adriana explained.
The Grandmothers took her DNA sample, and her DNA was matched to the kidnapped couple after four months of searching. She spoke at a press conference attended by her biological aunt about the joy of finally knowing the truth about her life. Adriana was able to get in touch with her grandmother as well. “She is beautiful inside and out and such a personality. Love is stronger than hate, always,” Adriana said of her biological grandmother.
The Grandmothers will continue to reunite hundreds of kidnapped children and parents. SHARE this story about love conquering all with your friends and leave your well-wishes to Adriana and her family in comments!