A 38-year-old man in Texas has been reunited with his birth mother after learning he was stolen at birth and put up for adoption.
Tyler Graf grew up in Minnesota “in a very loving, caring family” who adopted the Chilean boy as a baby. Records claimed that Graf was born to 26-year-old Hilda del Carmen Quezada, who reportedly dumped him due to financial instability.
When Quezada, now 65, gave birth to her son—whom she planned to name Sergio—in 1983 in Temuco, Chile, she awoke from anesthesia to find her son had died. She wasn’t even allowed to see the body.
It turned out that he was part of a complex international human trafficking network organized around the world, involving a network of medical professionals, the Chilean government and the Catholic Church. ABC News’ Good Morning America reported.
It is estimated that nearly 8,000 to 12,000 children were illegally or forcibly adopted in Chile during the 1970s and 1980s during the reign of Augusto Pinochet, Graf’s attorney Anthony Clarkson said Click2Houston.
Graf always knew he was adopted – and fought resentment against his biological mother.
“I never thought an apology would be good enough,” he said New York Times. “I’ve carried that animosity, that chip on my shoulder, my entire life.”
Despite his hostility, Graf lived an otherwise happy life in America, unaware that he was being trafficked for adoption, and became a firefighter in Houston, where he lived with his wife and young son.
However, when a Chilean firefighter came to Houston on a work exchange years ago, he told Graf that his mother, Marisol Rodríguez, ran a Chilean nonprofit. Hijos and Madres del Silencioworking to reunite families separated by illegal and forced adoptions in the country.
Last year, Graf finally found out his full story — as did his birth mother.
She recalled how she never forgot the heartbreaking loss and mourned her son’s death every year on his birthday – until she received a call from Hijos y Madres del Silencio in May 2021.
“I couldn’t digest the information,” she told the Times. “I couldn’t believe what was happening. Every muscle in my body tensed, pushing tears into my eyes. I felt like I got hit by a bat and saw stars.”
“I wanted to scream. I questioned a lot. The thought of if he was loved, if he ate well, if he spent time in the cold,” she told Good Morning America.
Their connection was confirmed soon after by the results of a DNA test.
“I can’t imagine what my birth mother went through as she lost me and mourned my death,” Graf told Click2Houston. But he was excited to meet his birth mother — as well as three sisters he didn’t know about — while maintaining his relationship with his adoptive family, who were ignorant of the ignominious details of his adoption.
The newly completed family quickly met via Zoom before Quezada boarded a flight last year – her first ever – to meet and hold her son.
“It was the tightest hug,” said Graf. “They just left us in each other’s arms and we hugged and she kissed me and we just stood there and cried.”
Since then, Graf has flown to Chile for the first time to meet up with his mother and sisters in his birthplace.
However, he faces a difficult situation.
“Now I’m between families. I don’t want to hurt the feelings of my adoptive parents or my birth mother, so it’s kind of a fine balance right now,” he explained. “I’m trying to figure out where I fit in the middle of all this.”
However, Graf has since also started his own non-profit organization, Connecting Roots, which spreads awareness of the horrific human trafficking system and offers free DNA testing to help families speed up their own reunions, noting that many of those killed by those crimes affected mothers enter old age .
“We’re making up for 38 years of lost time,” he said. “Time we can’t get back.”
https://nypost.com/2022/04/11/i-was-reunited-with-mom-after-being-stolen-at-birth/ I was reunited with mom after being stolen at birth