Mother & Son Reunite After 42 Years Exposing Counterfeit Adoption Ploy

Maria Angelica Gonzalez reunited with her son Jimmy Lippert Thyden after 42 years, exposing a dark era of "counterfeit adoption" practices in Chile. Nonprofit Nos Buscamos aided their emotional meeting, revealing a widespread scandal from the 1970s-80s.

Harnur Watta
New Update
Image credits: Hindustan Times

Image credits: Hindustan Times

A heartwarming reunion between a mother and her long-lost son has exposed a dark underbelly of deceit and counterfeit adoption practices that plagued Chile in the 1970s and 1980s.

Maria Angelica Gonzalez was overjoyed to embrace her son, Jimmy Lippert Thyden, who was taken from her arms shortly after birth four decades ago, only to be told that he had passed away.

The emotional meeting took place at Gonzalez's home in Valdivia, Chile, marking the beginning of a remarkable journey of discovery. "I love you very much," Thyden, now a criminal defence attorney in Ashburn, Virginia, told his mother as they shared tears and embraces during the reunion, as reported by AP.

Thyden's quest to find his birth family was ignited by news stories about Chilean adoptees reconnecting with their biological relatives with the assistance of the Chilean nonprofit organisation Nos Buscamos.

The organisation played a pivotal role in unearthing Thyden's true history, revealing the story of a "counterfeit adoption." According to Thyden's case file, he was born prematurely at a hospital in Santiago, Chile's capital, and placed in an incubator.

Shockingly, Gonzalez was informed that her newborn had died and that his body had been disposed of. The adoption papers Thyden possessed falsely declared that he had no living relatives.

The truth, however, was vastly different, as Thyden discovered a mother and a newfound family of four brothers and a sister.


A Counterfeit Adoption Scheme

Nos Buscamos has been instrumental in facilitating over 450 reunions between adoptees and their birth families over the past nine years. The organisation's work in partnership with genealogy platform MyHeritage has led to numerous successful matches through DNA testing. 

Thyden's DNA test confirmed his Chilean heritage and connected him to a first cousin who also utilised the MyHeritage platform. The breakthrough came when Thyden's cousin identified a Maria Angelica Gonzalez in their family lineage, aligning with Thyden's birth mother's name. 

With a photo of his wife and daughters, Thyden finally broke through to Gonzalez, leading to a flood of emotions and a flood of shared memories. He eventually travelled to Chile with his family to meet his newfound relatives.

Stepping into Gonzalez's home, Thyden was greeted by 42 colourful balloons, symbolising the years of separation he endured from his Chilean family.  The experience was empowering for him, as he popped each balloon, signifying the reclamation of lost time and the building of a renewed connection.

Thyden's reunion and his subsequent engagement with Chilean authorities shed light on a widespread adoption scandal that took place under the oppressive rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.


Tens of thousands of babies were separated from their birth families, often through illicit means, during this tumultuous era marked by human rights violations.

Despite his successful reunion, Thyden remains committed to advocating for his fellow adoptees and pushing for acknowledgement from the government.  With support from organisations like Nos Buscamos, Hijos y Madres del Silencio in Chile, and Connecting Roots in the United States, efforts to address and rectify the impact of these counterfeit adoptions are gaining traction. 

Suggested Reading: France Bans Abayas In Public Schools; Education Minister Justifies

adoption Counterfeit Adoption Scheme Chile