This is an amazing people search and reunion story that was 41 years in the making.
As CNN originally reported on May 25th, 2015, a mother from Chile has been reunited with her long lost American son after 41 years of separation.
Nelly Reyes was only 19 years old when she gave birth to her son ( Travis Tolliver ) at a hospital in Santiago, Chile on November 15th, 1973.
Shortly after her son’s birth, Nelly was told that the infant had died due to a heart condition.
Even after numerous requests, Nelly was never shown the body of her newborn son and was never issued a death certificate.
Little did she know, her son was adopted by an American couple, who had been told the boy was an abandoned orphan, and living thousands of miles away in Tacoma, WA.
Travis Tolliver always knew he had been adopted, but had no idea that he was likely one of hundreds of kidnapping cases that occurred in Chile in the 1970’s and 1980’s, where newborns were taken from their birth parents and sold for adoption.
The newborns that were victims of these Chilean abduction-adoptions have been called Chile’s “Children of Silence.”
These children were part of a complex network of black market adoptions that likely involved politicians, doctors, priests and nurses in Chile over the course of several decades.
That country’s national child protection agency is investigating hundreds of cases like Travis Tolliver’s.
Travis Tolliver and his mother Nelly Reyes are working with Chilean officials to find the truth about what happened to him after his birth.
Travis and Nelly believe that he was abducted and sold for adoption.
Unfortunately, the people involved in this criminal adoption network will likely never face prosecution since the crimes occurred in the 70s and 80s and the length of time has now exceeded the statute of limitations.
There is currently no information on who took Travis from his mother or if there was any money involved in his case.
When he was in his 20s, Travis tried to find his biological parents but lacked the financial resources and international connections to complete his family search.
Last year, after seeing a CNN report on Chile’s “Children of Silence”, Travis decided to resume his search for his Chilean parents and ancestry.
After DNA matching confirmed that Nelly Reyes was his mother, Travis setup a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a trip to Chile to meet his biological family.
In spite of the English-Spanish language barrier, Travis was finally reunited with his biological mother and his five siblings on May 2015 in Santiago, Chile.
His mother Nelly said that she plans to hug her son every day during his visit to Chile.
Travis told CNN that the whole situation seems unreal and he can’t believe this happened to him.
He said the discovery that he wasn’t willingly given away will help him with the abandonment issues that he has suffered with his whole life.
Unfortunately, these revelations have taken a personal toll on his adoptive family. Travis said that his adoptive mother is having a difficult time dealing with this news.