Spanish ‘stolen baby’ reunited with blood family
Inés Madrigal, the first Spaniard to open a court case on the babies stolen under General Francisco Franco, after 32 years of searching has found her biological family.
The 50-year-old said the relationship had been confirmed by genetic analysis and her biological mother died in 2013 aged 73.
It emerged she was voluntarily given up for adoption by her parents.
Madrigal was a test case for the many Spaniards taken illegally from their mothers as infants. The mothers were told their children had died while they were given to other families to adopt, often with help from the Catholic church.
No one knows how many babies were stolen but victims’ groups say the number could be as high as 300,000.
“For the first time the puzzle of my life is complete,” said Madrigal, who was taken by Dr Eduardo Vela when she was born in the San Ramón clinic in Madrid in 1969. She said her three brothers had also been searching for her after seeing her on television and noticing a resemblance to their mother.
The brothers revealed their mother had told them they had a sibling whom she had volunteered for adoption. They also had a sister in the US, El Mundo newspaper reported.
El Mundo said one of Madrigal’s brothers had sent her a Facebook message in 2015 because he was looking for someone born in June 1969. She said she did not see the message until this year.
One registered his DNA profile with the national data bank and a California-based genetic analysis company, 23andMe, confirmed the link with a sample of saliva.
That US intervention was required demonstrated that the Spanish DNA banks were “not prepared or able” to reunite people because they used inadequate search parameters.
Last October a court in Madrid ruled Vela, a former gynaecologist, removed Madrigal from her biological mother but said responsibility for the abduction expired when she came of age.
Vela initially admitted signing her birth certificate, stating that the adoptive parents were the biological mother and father. But when he went on trial last year he denied the signature was his. His clinic closed in 1982.
The practice began in the late 1930s with children taken from “undesirable” families, who were often republicans.
Her adoptive mother told a judge before she died that Vela had given the baby as a gift because she could not have children.
The Spanish civil war continues to haunt modern Spain. Picture credit: Wikimedia