Reestablishing Family Ties: Our Press Conference in The Boston Globe

Here is the article that appeared in today’s Boston Globe:

Reestablishing family ties – The Boston Globe: “Tears welled in Imelda Auron’s eyes before she began speaking.

The 31-year-old West Roxbury resident was one of thousands of Salvadoran children separated from their families during the 1980s, while the country was engulfed in civil war.

She had never spoken publicly about her situation or her reunion with her birth family.

But yesterday, sitting next to two other Massachusetts residents who have had similar experiences, Auron finally felt comfortable enough to discuss the joy, heartache, and anxiety that marked her quest to find her family.”

The article appeared in the City/Region section and had a couple of pictures that you can’t see as part of the online version. One of those pictures features half of my ear. 🙂

I only just met Imelda the other day, but I give her a lot of credit. I know it wasn’t easy for her to talk about what happened to her family. She did great. I hope talking about it will help her hear and deal with some of the feelings surrounding the death of her parents.

My sister and I have gotten a lot of comments on our video that we made, but what people may not realize is that it took many years of healing to be able to talk about everything so openly.

People may also not realize how lucky we are to live in a county that protects our freedom of speech. We may not always agree with our leaders and we may speak negatively about them but we don’t have to worry about the government storming into our homes and killing our loved ones.

I’m really happy we were able to get some press and I am very exited to work with everyone on building this network and getting our story out there.

E-Book and Press Conference

Over the past few weeks I have been working on putting together an e-book of our story. I am taking some of the posts from the blog and organizing then in chronological order to make it easier to follow. I hope to be done with this project very soon and I will be posting it here for people to download. Be sure to check back!

On a slightly different note, I took part in a press conference today. This press conference was set up to announce the formation of the Pro-Busqueda Network that I blogged about earlier. We had a lot of help from Physicians for Human Rights to organize the conference.

Myself and two other people who had been separated from their families gave statements. We shared a little about our stories and what we are hoping to get out of the network.

Check tomorrow’s Boston Globe for coverage!

Derek’s First Post

Okay, so Nelson/Roberto has been getting on my case to actually contribute here. I promised I would in January, but then I got into my last semester of college and things were crazy and hectic. But I digress. For those who don’t know me, my name is Derek, and I am Nelson’s brother. My biological parents are his adoptive parents. I was born on May 30, 1985, two years to the day after my parents took him from the orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

For this post I’ll deal with the beginning, at least the beginning for me. Obviously I knew from early on that Nelson was ‘different’ and my parents explained to him and I as best they could about who he was and what they knew, which wasn’t much. At that age, it doesn’t really matter. Family is family. Nelson was and is my brother in every meaning of the word. He has always looked out for me and I knew that he cared. We were very close, even though he was four years older than me.

My brother has already written about the night when he found out that he had family looking for him, so I won’t repeat the basic events. I don’t remember any other time, before or since, that my parents sounded so serious when they mentioned that they needed to talk with us after dinner. Right now I’m sitting no more than thirty feet from where I was that night, and I can still remember the look on my their faces and on my brother’s. Obviously, when you hear those words as a kid, you think about divorce and my parents were quick to explain that that was not the reason for this talk. In hindsight, Nelson is right to say that it didn’t make sense, but as I will reiterate later, the first thoughts of a 12 year-old on anything are not always rational.

As they explained the situation, I probably must have turned as white as a sheet, which is impressive for me considering my normal pallor. My first thought was that now that Nelson’s real family had found him, they would want him to live with them and I would never see him again. Looking back, it sounds silly, but I really felt scared for a bit that I would lose my brother forever.

Pretty soon, it will have been ten years since that night and instead of losing a brother, I’ve gained an entire second family. I can understand the apprehension that somebody might feel in this situation. I experienced a lot of new things and it wasn’t always easy, but I’m glad now that it happened. Everyone has been so welcoming, from the very first letters that our parents read to us that night through all of the visits and the other correspondence I have never once felt like an outsider, always like a member of the family. That’s enough for now, I’ll relate some of my other thoughts later.

Pro-Búsqueda Network

Pro-Búsqueda is putting together a network for families of people that have been reunited or who are thinking about reuniting. This is the brief description of what they are trying to create.

What we wanted to initially do was to put people who have been reunited in touch with each other, so they can share their experiences and look at positive ways to remain involved with their biological families, with Pro-Búsqueda and with El Salvador. We also see the network of ‘jóvenes reencontrados’ as a good way to pass on information to others in the same situation who have still not found, or made the trip back to meet, their biological families. As I’m sure you know, it’s quite a daunting experience to come back to a country which you hardly remember (or don’t remember at all), to meet a family which you didn’t know existed, so it would be great if there was some more support State-side for people trying to prepare for a reunion.

This sounds like a great idea to me. While meeting my family was a great experience for me, it was also difficult at times. Not difficult because we didn’t get along, but difficult because I had no idea what to expect from them or from their culture. My childhood in the US was much different from my siblings’ in Central America. It was also difficult because here are these people who you are supposed to be very close with, but you really don’t know them at all.

Honestly, I don’t know if I would have used a resource like this when I met my family, but that’s just because I was a lot younger back then.

I think this is a great idea and I can’t wait to get this going. On a side note, it looks like Sunnaze who I wrote about earlier is going to be involved with this as well.