First ‘baby theft’ case confirmed

After 40 years of research, help from ANADIR (Asociación de Afectados por Adopciones Irregulares) and DNA tests, a woman has met her daughter whom she believed to have died in 1970.

There has been much debate recently about the phenomenon of ‘stolen babies’, children taken from their parents at birth and given to other families for adoption. These baby thefts occurred from the end of the Civil War up until the 1980’s.

ANADIR believe that around 300,000 babies were ‘stolen’ in the period from 1940 to 1990. Adoptive parents were told one of three stories: the baby’s parents had died in a car accident, the baby was the child of a prostitute who did not want it or taht the parents were drug addicts.

Allegedly involved in the kidnappings were doctors, nurses, priests, nuns, civil registrars and even cemetery staff.

So far, only the Public Prosecutors in Cádiz and Sevilla have opened investigations into disappearances during the last years of the Franco regime. In Cádiz, there have been at least 80 complaints by people whose babies were apparently kidnapped and given to other families.

In most of these cases, there were no death certificates and no bodies in coffins, and most of the women never even saw their offspring.

In this case, the daughter wanted to locate her birth mother and hired a private detective and a woman was located who was ‘possibly’ the mother. This investigation coincided with efforts being made by ANADIR and the end result was positive confirmation, through DNA, that they were actually mother and daughter.

This is the first confirmed ‘baby theft’ case to be confirmed in Spain. The baby was born in 1971 at a clinic in Cataluña and shortly after birth was handed over for adoption.

The adoption itself, in theory at least, would be legal, with ‘mother unknown’ being included on the adoption papers.

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