A letter from my father – by Nelson/Roberto

November 1997

Its 6:15 pm and its already dark out. I just got back from school and I’m the first one home. I dash up to my room and drop my bag. I fire up the computer and head back downstairs to get something to drink. As I go to the turn on the outside lights I bend over and pick up the mail. On my way back to the kitchen I start to go through it. Bill, bill, junk mail…but whats this?

Tossing the rest of the mail on the counter I’m starring down at a letter addressed to Roberto Coto form a Luis Coto. Its a letter from my father… When we got the original package from Probusqueda there was only letters from my aunt and grandmother. I take a second to look at it before opening it. Its three pages of neatly written cursive. I frown for a second. It all in Spanish and I can’t read any of it.

I head back up to my room letter in hand. Half an hour later my dad yells from downstairs “I’m home”

“Hi” I reply making my way out into the hall.

“How was your day?” he questions

“I got a letter from my dad.” I say excitedly

My adoptive father would tell me later these words made his heart sink because for 15 years he was the only one I called dad. There is a pause…”What does it say?”

“I’m not sure its all in Spanish”

Over dinner I show my parents the letter. My mom suggests that she could have one of her colleagues translate the letter for us. I tell her that I think some of my friend at school could translate it too.

The next day I stuff the letter in my bag as I head out the door. As I’m ride in on the T I stare at it I try to figure out what it says. All I can make out is “Dear Roberto,” So I just sit there staring out the window. I always sit in the the very first seat on the train. It has a window all to its self and I can get off the train quicker. I’ve made this 15 minuet trip for the past four years but today it seams endless. My leg is shaking in anticipation and everyone getting on the train is taking forever. Finally I arrive at my stop just in time to catch the last van.

I’m running late. Its 8:20am when I arrive and there is no time to find someone to translate. I’ll have to wait until lunch. I’m restless during my classes I pull out the letter every so often to look it over. I briefly show it to my friend Eric. Finally its time for lunch.

“Julia!” I call down the hall

She greats me with a smile, “Hey there”

“I got a letter from my father in Panama” I say pull the letter out of my bad

“Oh wow that’s so cool, what does it say?”

“I’m not sure. I can’t read it and I need to find someone who can translate it.”

“Maria might be able help you. She speaks some Spanish.”

“Really? Hmm I’ll have to ask her”

“She’s over there, Hey I got to run I’ll catch up with you later” She turns and walks off.

“yup, thanks I’ll see you later”

As she’s walking away she calls down the hall “Hey when are we gonna playing soccer?”

I smile “Anytime just let me know” I turn and head towards the lounge where Maria is sitting.

“Hey Maria are you busy?”

Maria look up “Not right now. Why whats up?”

“I got this letter from my dad and I have no idea what it says you think you could help me with it?”

“This is your father in Central America?” she ask examining the letter.


“Yea sure let me look at it”

Finally I’ll be able to find out what in the letter. Its loud in the foyer so we make are way in to the stair case and sit down on the steps going down to athletic office.

She sits and looks at it for a sec. She starts to read it to me but explains that its very hard with the writing and that he using some words she doesn’t know. As she tries to read it I realize that I’m not actually listening to what she is saying. I don’t think its the letter that I’m excited about. I can’t wait to see meet these people and see what they are like. For that I will have to wait, it will be another month before I get to meet them.

The Orphanage – By Nelson Roberto

When the gunfire stops a women lays dead face down in the door way. Two men have been shot as well. They lie slumped over rifles by there side. As the police go through the house I’m found crying in my crib. Next to me are two other girls. Social services is called in to deal with us. As I’m being as taken away a news paper photographer stops us to take a picture. One police officer is holding me while the male officer next her tries to get me to smile. It works. My face lights up in a happy little smile completely unaware of what has just happened and what is to come.

I’m taken to a private orphanage in Tegucigalpa Honduras. This will be my home for the next year. I will spend most of my days in a my crib straiting out of the window on the third floor of this clay building. I won’t learn how to walk or speak very well. I won’t eat very well either. But I will be fed.

During this time a notice is put into the paper asking anyone who might be missing a child to come forward and claim me. No one does, so six months after I arrive I am legally put up for adoption. I will wait another six month before I meet my parents.

It’s May 1980 and I have just turned two. My adoptive parents arrived in the country a few weeks earlier. Today we will meet for the first time.

My soon to be dad wakes up early and staring making coffee. My soon to be mom lays in bed a few more minuets for before joining him. They are tired from a long night of nervous sleep.

“What do you think he will looks like?”
“We will know very soon.” My mother replies.

They shower and dress quick anticipating what is to come.

My dad paces nervously waiting for the social worker to arrive. “Why do you think they wouldn’t let any picture be taken of him? Do you think might be something wrong with him that they don’t want us to know about?”

“I don’t know hunny we will see soon enough.”

“Where are they? They should have been here by now.” my dad says anxiously

“They will come try to relax” my mom replies trying to hide her own anxiety.

“I’m going to call to make sure” My dad hurries off to make the call. He return shortly. “She’s not home.” He reports disappointedly

Then the door bell rings. Finally the social worker has come to take them to the orphanage.

As they arrive they are greeted by one of the staff members. Not wasting any time my dad asks. “What is he like?”

“Hes a sweet little boy but he will cry and cry if he is not fed first.” She answers shaking her head

“Oh?” my mom inquires.

“Don’t worry hes really nice” she replies quickly “but he doesn’t talk much. He only knows how to say agua. That means water and he says it when hes hungry or when he needs anything else.”

As they walk through the rooms filled with cribs, some of the children poke their heads up to see the visitors.

“I wonder if we could adopt more than one.” My dad wonders aloud.

“Here we are.” The staff member stops at the last crib on the third floor. “Oh and one more thing…” she says as a smile crosses her face “he really loves Coke.”

This is the moment my had parents been waiting for. As they approach the crib they see me lying down in a cloth diaper and an old t-shirt. I look up with a blank expression on my face not knowing what to expect.

My mom hands me a Paddington bear with a blue raincoat and red hat. I play with it curiously. Its the first stuffed animal I’ve ever had. They pick me up and hold me. I’m not sure what to make of this. They takes turns holding me and playing my with long curly brown hair. But now they must leave to finalize the adoption.

They put me back in the crib and say good bye. They will be back for me tomorrow once it is official. As they drive away I watch from my window, holding my Paddington close, wondering who are these people and if I’ll ever see them again.

Part 1: The adoption, a leap of faith and a miracle reunion. – Nelson/Roberto

I was adopted from an orphanage in Honduras in 1983. My adoptive parents had just started the adoption process and were probably about a year away from getting a child. Then one night they got a phone call around 9:00pm saying that there was a child available for them however there was no picture, no background information and they would have until 3:00pm the next day to decided. I don’t think this ever happens in adoption cases.

Thankfully, after a long night with not much sleep, they decided to adopt. They were living in the Boston area and had to rush to get everything ready before leaving for Honduras. It was the beginning of April and they had to be down in Central America by May. As they were getting ready to leave they found out that they would need FBI clearance in order to travel to Honduras. This normally takes 4 or 5 weeks and they only had one. To their surprise someone pulled some strings for them and Senator Kerry’s office was able to get them clearance in 2 days.

They flew down to Honduras where they were provided with a place to stay and a lawyer to help them with all the paper work. Again, this never happens. As the adoption went on the people involved where very hush hush and wouldn’t tell my parents anything. They mentioned something about a gunfight but wouldn’t say why I was up for adoption or why they were trying to get me out of the country so fast. My adoptive father speculated that I was illegitimate sun of the president or something like that. They did learn that our Mystery Politician was overseeing the adoption and this explained where all the political help was coming from.

They finished the adoption and took be back to the US with them. The judge who oversaw my case required that my father mail her updates every 6 months. My father diligently sent letters for almost 2 years. While talking to another parent about there experience he learned that these updates were not part of the normal adoption process and he promptly stopped. This seamed to the make the whole adoption that much weirder.

I grew up knowing that I was adopted (My parents are white and they always told me I was.) But they couldn’t tell me who my parents were or even when I was born. This was very hard for me growing up since it meant it would be next to impossible to find my birth family. My Adopted father had this newspaper article that someone had gotten for us. The article had a picture of a man who had been killed around the time that I went into the orphanage. As I was growing up he would look at the picture and try to see if there was any resemblance between us.

Then one day the impossible happened. My parents got another phone call at night in the summer of 97. A man called from an organization called Probusqueda that looked for lost children in El Salvador. It turned out I had been born there not Honduras and my birth family had been looking for me for 4 years. My parents told me soon after when I got home from summer camp. It was a huge shock for all of us.

The organization sent us pictures and letters from them written to the lost child Roberto(that’s me.) After a blood test to confirm that hey were indeed my family we started to make arrangements to fly down. In truth they really didn’t need to do the blood test. I look exactly like my birth father and a lot like my older brother.

That Christmas we flew down to meet them the for the first time. My adopted parent were nervous that I would want to stay with my birth family but that never really crossed my mind. Since then I have been down about twice a year to visit them and we have become one big family. Its been truly an amazing and I’m so lucky to have had such wonderful adoptive parents who supported me all these years and when I went to meet my birth family.

Part 2: My Origins, how I was separated from my family.

Happy Birthday Mom – By Nelson/Roberto

Today is my adopted mother’s birthday so I just wanted to say Happy Birthday to her and to thank her for everything she has done for me over the years. I always think of you and dad when I hear this song.

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Mother-Father before I forget
Thank you for all that you have been to me
And just in case you are wondering I love you

[Verse 1]
I know that our difference caused
Us to waste so much of our time we could have used
Getting to know each and one another
But now that I’ve grown into my own
And learned some things about life
I now can see that it wasn’t easy to raise someone like me


[Verse 2]
I remember those days when you used to sit me down
And try to school me about the plenty opportunities in life
Hoping and wishing and praying that something would stick
And somehow click within this mind of mine
See you used to say, if you throw enough on the wall
Something is bound to rub off
And I’m here to tell you
That you don’t have to really worry about me at all


Listen now
There was no limit to all the things that you’ve done
And would have for me my sisters and brothers
And I’ll never understand how you would talk all day long
And just as you said, in one ear and out the other
Isn’t it funny how things change when you get older?
Now I know that I’ll never find another
Love like yours inside anyone else

The meaning of family – by Eva

It was late at night. It seemed that every Christmas flight was delayed on this day. It was the longest waiting I’ve ever had. We didn’t talk too much, we were just there waiting. Time passed and we just looked at each other trying to guess what was going on through each other’s mind.

Suddenly a bunch of people come to the exit door and there he comes … Oh my God! That’s him, that’s Roberto! We don’t need any DNA test in our hands to know its him, he is an exact copy of my father standing there! We didn’t know what to do but go over him and hug him. All of us wanted to hug him and touch him, maybe to see if it was truly happening… I remember my grandma’s face, she wanted to cry but she was trying so hard not to.

After all the hugs and kisses, I looked back and they were there. It was his family. It is his father, his mother and little brother. There were like the definition of family. They were there right behind him supporting him but so stumped. I don’t know what would they were thinking at that moment. I can’t imagine the overwhelming feeling they could have been experiencing then but they were so brave. They just were standing there and letting him to reunite with his family and I mean, they are his family… I believe they may be thinking: “we are going to lose him!”

What a difficult decision to make: keep him with them by not saying a word about his family, or let him to get together with his family with the risk to lose him. Myself I don’t know what I would do being in their place.

Today I wonder: How is that you can become family to people you’ve never met? How is that you can also love these people since the very beginning? How is that you get to know them just to look into their eyes? Would it be because all of this was meant to be? What a perfect plan since everything fits since the beginning even if it didn’t look like. God knew how to make it work. He knew the perfect family for him so he would never be alone. God gave him three amazing people that really loved him, cared about him and raised him as the wonderful guy he is. We love them just knowing they took care of him as their own, but then we got to know how wonderful people they are!

I’ve met them 9 years ago, and I heard Tom says once: “… we met 9 years ago, and it seems like we have met you for the whole life…” and now I think those words are so true… Those words meant a lot to me, because he was kind of saying what he feels about us. Margaret said at the Church back in New Hampshire she was glad to have their daughter (me) and her daughter (Dani) at home for Christmas. Derek also said something like: She is our sister, she is visiting! Today I am glad I had them as well. I’ve never felt so supported and never felt someone who is not my own blood takes care of me so much like they all do. They give me support, they give me confidence, they give me advise and they give me love. All of this on top of the material things. Love is what I truly appreciate and keep in my heart.

I guess I’ll always keep saying to them THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU… They must be tired of hearing it but there are no other words to express what I feel about them and about the love they have to my brother who needed them so much, and for us that just appeared one day looking for our boy. Today I gotta say how beautiful people you are!

I’ve never imagined the possibility to “post” ones feelings anywhere, and now that is what I am doing. This post is so personal and it shows my perception and the meaning of the word FAMILY to me, “not always the family that is our blood but the family that can BECOME your blood”

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.