Mila’s Last letter

A letter to her mother, Mama Chila, by Ana Milagro:

September 23, 1981

Dear Mom,

I hope that when you receive this letter you are in good health as well as everybody around you. Mom the person who carries this letter will ask about the kids and how he can help you. I want you to tell him everything that the children need. I will stay here meantime. I don’t know how long but I hope that you can understand my situation. I want to see my children the more than anything but right now I can not.

I could only send you some of the things you asked for because as you know my economical situation is difficult.

On the a different note I want you to explain why you left Nicaragua and what told you those people. Finding out that you are there [in Costa Rica] was for me a great surprise because I don’t know your reasons. Can you tell me where Luis is? I haven’t see him since I was there.

Some people are telling me that Toto is a cry-baby and is drinking too much coffee. Please don’t make them spoiled kids. Remember that they are with you for now but they will be with me again one day and you know how I am with them.

I want to let you know that Haydee is going to move into her own house in October and we are thinking about selling the apartment. Dalila says not to sell it and Tita says sell it to buy a house instead.

My advise to you is to sell it and have the money sent there because here [in El Salvador] the situation is getting worse every day. It [victory] is not going to be as soon as we thought. Maybe it is going to take two years or more and for that reason it is better that you sell the apartment and try to start over there. Even we [in the movement] don’t know how the situation is going to be and if my sisters left the country they wouldn’t have anywhere to go. However if you are there they will have somewhere to go in emergency. Dalila might move in when Haydee leaves because if not we will lose the apartment.

Regarding the power of attorney I advise you to do it there with help of a lawyer. Then send it back to the country [El Salvador]. I don’t advise going in person because it is too dangerous. Passing trough Honduras is to risky. They let you go inside but do not let you go out. Something bad could happen. Everybody who go inside the country is checked and interrogated. I want to tell you that some female cousins of the Haydee’s midwife went there, were taken out of their house, were raped, and killed. For that reason it is better that you do not to go although you I know want to see your daughters. But it would be far instead worse being so close but dead.

Try to solve apartment’s problem staying there [in Costa Rica]. Come to an agreement with them [your daughters]. You can call them by phone or write to them but don’t let them know where I am because that could be risky. Please tell Vilma the same. She should not to write things that could compromise me because every letter coming out of the country is read. The same goes if you call by phone. Be careful because the risk is with your daughters who are there [El Salvador].

Tina called 5 months ago and she said that she had written several times to Vilma but Vilma didn’t answer. Even more she thinks that the letters never were received because of the situation of the country

I explained to her that you were fine and I told her not to worry. I promised I would write to you but I don’t know if her letters were received. Tita says that Raulito of Andreita wants to buy the apartment. He wants to get a loan. We told him that you wanted 8,000 colones for it. I Think that is a very good deal. If you still find someone who wants to buy it, sell it. Please do what I tell you because you know better than anybody that I am always truthful with you. Even if you do nothing with the money but spend it on food that money is still yours.

Lupe of Andreita came to ask for clothing and shoes. She said because you always brought her cloth and shoes she misses you. Andreita also came. She has become a fat woman and asked us to send her regards to you. They still live in “Tierra Blanca” [white land]. Alicia lives en “La Santa Lucia” and she rents a house there with a young men and Yolan. She wasn’t able to get to United States. Isabel of Andreita is pregnant. La Lupe was looking for a job because Roque’s salary is no enough

I sent you photos of the baby. His name is Roberto Alfredo. Tell the kids that he is their little brother. I trust god that they meet him soon. Tell me what Eva says about her father, if she misses him, if she still remembers me. I am fine although I had some problems because of the childbirth but it was nothing serious. The baby looks like Eva.

Nelson/Roberto and an older cousin

I will see if I can send you money monthly so tell me what you need and how much money you spend. I sent you some things inside of the suitcase. If you need the suitcase then take it, if not send it to me because I need it.

The things which I send are

3 panties for Eva
socks for Toto
1 pan and spoons
2 blankets
1 lotion
1 soup
1 talc
1 blouse for you (Dalila sends it)
underwear for you
1 pair of shoes (Tita sends them)
3 towels
2 pair of pants for Rene
2 shirts
1 jacket
other things

Now I must I say goodbye to you.

The daughter who misses you so much,

P.S. Send me Vilma’s phone number. I will see if I can call from time to time in order to see how you are. If Luis should call Vilma’s mother in law, she shouldn’t tell him where you are. She should tell him that you left for the country.

We found your family – by Nelson/Roberto

Its the last day of camp august 1997. I think its 6 or 7 in the morning. I’ve been up all night. Most of it was spent in 7A. As I’m walking back to my tent I stop by in the bathroom and run into Waldyka. Hes been up all night as well. The grin of his face lets me know he knows where I have been all night. We hang out and cause some trouble. The bugle goes off and now more people are up. Everyone’s up and hanging out in front of 7B. There is a crowd of people so I climb up into Lizzy’s bed on the top bunk because there is no where else to sit. I’m so tired that with in minuets I’m a sleep. But then the second bugle goes off and its time for flag poll.

Now my parents are here and its time to say goodbye. What an amazing summer, I can’t believe its over. As I am saying goodbye I notice Yoli is crying which I think is weird. She doesn’t strike me as the type to cry. I’m so tired all I can think about is going home and sleeping. I hand Josh the envelope my parents brought for him and thank him for the best summer I ever had at camp. We pile into the car and drive off.

In the car ride my parents tell me and my brother that they need to have a serious talk with us after dinner. The though of them getting a divorce flashes through my mind for a second, but that doesn’t make any sense and I quickly push it away. It seams weird they have never done this before but honestly I’m too tired to think about it. We get home and I go right to bed. 5 hours later I wake to my mother telling me its time for dinner. Half a sleep I stumble down the stairs of our house in New Hampshire. We eat dinner. I’m still half a sleep and don’t say much.

As we are clearing our plates my mom says again “Don’t go anywhere we need to talk.” I’m thinking to my self “yea I know I’m not going anywhere.” My brother and I site down again. Now my parents are sitting next to me, one on either side. I’m really stumped whats going on?

My father has a FedEx package on the table. From it he pulls out a magazine or a newsletter. On the cover is a man. He points to the picture and says to me “This is Dr. so and so and he works with children in Honduras.” It was at that point that I knew I found my family. I don’t know how I knew but I did. My father would go on to explain that he works for an organization in El Salvador that helps find lost children. I was hardly listening, I just knew what was coming next and it took everything I had not to completely break down into tears. I had been waiting for this for so long. Then he finally says it “…they believe they have found your birth family”

He goes on to say that I have a father in panama a step mother an older sister and brother. No mention of my mother yet. It turns out that I was born in El Salvador not Honduras. Both my parents fought in the civil war in El Salvador as guerillas As part of the war my mother went with me to Honduras to kid nap a business man. The government found out about it and stormed the house. They think my mother was the one who opened the door and was killed on site.

I feel numb. I’m not sure what to make of this. In all honesty I never imagined having an brother and sister and so many family members. As for my father…well I guess I never really thought about him. The only person I really wanted to see was my mother.

After losing her daughter and grandson my grandmother, who lives in Costa Rica, she went back to El Salvador in 1993 to try out what happened to them. With a little luck she found an organization to help her. They have sent the past 4 years looking for me and found our number on the Internet…how cool. They are the ones who provided the packet with the newsletter.

There are pictures too. My parents say they have been looking at the photos and think that my brother and I look a lot alike. I glance at the picture and I don’t see the resemblance. Its a group picture and my brother is in the back so its hard to tell. There are also letters written to the lost baby “Roberto.” That’s me. Robert…I don’t know if I like that name but my mothers name is Escobar and I think that’s a cool name. Its turns out my birthday is may 22nd so I’m really 16. My august birthday is in a few days but this kind of changes things.

My father says they want to do a blood test to see if we are actually related. He asks me if I would be willing to do it. The question surprises me. Of course I do, but truthfully I don’t need a blood test, I already know its them.

The last time I saw her – by Eva

After thinking a lot about what I should write next, the day I saw my mother for the last time came to my mind. A lot flashes through my mind, the vision I have is so blurry. I do remember that day…

I’ve never talked about it before to anyone, maybe because I didn’t trust my memory. But now it seems to flow in my mind and makes sense after all. Oh God, I was just 3 years old…

I have the feeling I hadn’t seen her for so long the day she came, the last time I saw her. I remember she was in a rush, kind of nervous, maybe anxious, but looking at her was like looking an angel. I couldn’t have been happier to have her back.

I remember her bringing a lot of presents for me, my brother Ernesto and for my Grandma too. At that time, there was just the two of us siblings. I remember I loved all the presents, but all I wanted was to be with her. However, she was having a conversation with my father and they seemed to be very serious about it. Their faces had an expression of anguish that I couldn’t understand at that moment, and now I think maybe they knew they were not going to see each other again…

After that, all that I remember is my mom packing her bag the next day…

She’s got a perceptible sadness in her eyes, a sad look that will never fade of my memories. Even so she was calmed and peaceful, with a peace that only someone who is doing the right thing can have…

She comes to me and hugs me for so long. I don’t remember the words she said to me, but I do remember her looking at me with such love. I can say it was with the love that I use to look at my beautiful daughter nowadays., As if you were looking the most precious treasure you could have. My brother Toto was standing there, the interesting thing about it is that he was calmed as well. He wasn’t crying, but he’s got those puppy dog eyes about the situation. Maybe because he wasn’t aware of what was happening and was trying to understand, or maybe because it was a prelude of his strong but calmed personality.

I wish I could remember more about her. After watching her saying good bye all that I remember is that I cried, cried from the deepest part of my heart, like I am crying now. I remember all I could say was: “Don’t go Mom, don’t go… ”

Meeting for the first time – by Nelson/Roberto

I met my birth family for the first time when I was 16 during the Christmas of 1997. It was an incredible experience. One that I will never forget. Looking back on it now, it’s all a blur of memories. Filled with excitement, confusion, love and happiness. When I found them I found my self.

The first thing I remember is sitting on the plane listening to music. I’m always listening to music, especially on long trips. I don’t remember what I was listening to but I think I had really crappy head phones. It always bugs me when I don’t have a decent pair of head phones and for some reason this sticks out in my mind. Even though I had been to a few different countries before I had never been to Central America and I really had no idea what to expect.

We arrived late at night and as we walked thought the airport I remember going down a long flight of steps on our way to customs. I was still listening to music as we waited to pick up our bags. As we stood there a woman approached me and started to ask me in Spanish some questions. She had a piece of paper in her hand and I believe she wanted me to take a survey. Not knowing any Spanish I just stood there and ignored her. I felt bad because I’m sure I came off as being rude but I had no idea what was going on and all I could think about were the people waiting outside.

We finally cleared customs and head out of the airport. There were people everywhere and most of them were cab drives asking if we wanted a taxi. We just kept saying no and moving forward. Then there was a clearing and that’s when I saw them for the first time. In front of me stood an older version of myself and by his side was a little girl of 6 years. Immediately they hugged me, my little sister getting stuck in between me and my father. For a moment I tried to let her out but it was no use, they wouldn’t let go. My father had been waiting 16 years to see me and it felt like he would never let me go ever again.

After that its all a blur of meeting my older brother, older sister, grandmother, stepmother, cousins, aunts and uncles. There must have been 30 people at at the airport waiting to meet us. I have no idea how long we were outside of the airport hugging, crying and trying to communicate with each other. We have a picture from that night. Its blurry and you can’t really see anything. All you can make out are lights streaking across the photo. My mother has said from time to time that this picture describes the emotion of that night and I think she is right. It was just one big blur.

The next thing I remember is piling into a car with my little sister close behind. She sat next to me never letting go. My mother snapped a picture of the two of us. Later we would make a mouse pad from this picture and to this day that mouse pad sits on my desk. As we drove off I remember feeling completely lost, everything looked so different and I had no idea where I was. Even so I felt at home and safe. I looked down at my sister. Here was this little girl who I had never met but I meant the world to her. It was a strange feeling and one that I would feel again and again as I got to know my family.

Video – TV Interview
Part 1: The adoption, a leap of faith and a miracle reunion.
Post – Part 2: The Back Story