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Spanish woman searches for abducted child, 3 decades later


Many cases have come to light in Spain of women whose children have been taken from them at birth without their knowledge, and sold to adoptive families.

Over three decades ago, Enriqueta was told her child had died at birth – but she later found out the truth.

Enriqueta is now 65. In 1980 when she was 34, she went to a clinic in Madrid to give a birth to her fourth child. Everything went well, and she remembers hearing her baby cry. But when she woke up, the doctors told her the child was stillborn.

"She was born dead but I said no, I felt like the girl was lying. And my husband said, no, that he saw the baby. And I, like a madwoman, told them: bring me my child, bring me my child. Then the nun came in and said I should be happy that my three healthy children are alive," says Enriqueta Pelayo.

On January 28, Enriqueta's daughter would have turned 31. But she knows she will probably never see her daughter.

"She was my child. How could four people who have no heart have done this? If she could listen to me, if she knew I am her real mother, who has never left her and always wanted, always, because inside me I knew she was alive," she says.

Enriqueta says she always suspected it, and that's why last month she called for the death certificate of her baby. When she was given a different one from the original, with the forged signature of her husband, she enrolled in ADD, an association created to help people like Enriqueta and seeks to uncover the web of buying and selling the children.

"There was a first step after the Spanish civil war during political repression in the late 40's. Later, when children of Republicans were considered children of prisoners, this really becomes a purely economic mafia. Here they are stealing children from women of all political and religious beliefs," says Enrique Vila Torres, Attorney ADD.

"They chose a victim among women who were pregnant and were to give a birth. When giving birth, they immediately took the child to fix and care, and in a few hours, the nun or the doctor himself came to the woman and informed her that her child had died for any reason," he adds.

In Spain there are about 261 documented cases of abducted children, but according to ADD database the figure could exceed 300,000. The association filed a joint lawsuit in January together with the Attorney General of the State which was accepted by the government.

"I hope that judges and prosecutors know that a mother does not lie and that they will work as hard as they can. Because this is a conspiracy of silence," says Rocio Amparo Cuerdo, member of the association.

ADD has asked the government to establish a DNA bank to cross reference the data of the complainants.

Some couples came to pay extreme prices for a baby. The result is thousands of children who do not know who their biological parents are - and as many parents who are fully confident that their child did actually did not die as they were told, but is living another life, with some other family.


40° 25' 0.0876" N, 3° 42' 1.242" W