At the age of 20, Alejandra Goicoechea was sitting in her psychologist’s office, seeking treatment after a period of unexplained depression, when the psychologist made an earth-shattering suggestion: “I think you’re adopted.”
“It hit me hard,” says Alejandra, “because until that moment I hadn’t thought much about it.”
But the more she thought about it, the more things started to make sense.
“I grew up with parents who were much older than my friends’ parents,” she says. “But I never suspected that they had adopted me until that moment.”
Raised in 1960 in the Barracas neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alejandra describes her childhood as being wonderful. Her parents, though they were older, were very attentive and supportive, but for a reason she couldn’t explain, she felt a sense of emptiness. After this dramatic revelation from the psychologist, Alejandra struggled to gather the courage to confront her parents about it. “I didn’t want to hurt them,” she says. “I talked to friends, to neighbors, to the people I grew up with. No one was able to give me any useful information.”
Finally, after 3 years, she sat her parents in the living room and told them that she had a question for them.
“Am I adopted?” she asked.
“Yes,” they answered. “You are.”
‘I will find them, no matter what it takes’
“I felt my heart drop to the floor,” says Alejandra. “I asked what they knew about my biological parents: who is my mother? Who is my father? They replied that they know nothing. At least tell me where I came from, I insisted. Where was I adopted? Was it from an orphanage? My father said he didn’t know. My feeling was that they didn’t want to talk about it.”
Alejandra emerged from the conversation feeling confused. She had just finally confirmed the truth that she’d been slowly digesting since that day in the psychologist’s office, but she had no clue whatsoever about who her biological family was. She was determined to learn more.
“I started going to different adoption agencies and looking for information, but every time I came back empty-handed, because even I didn’t have basic information,” she says. “I realized that it was probably an unofficial adoption, so there would be no record of it.” Despite this, Alejandra swore to herself that she would search for them and find them, no matter what it took.
‘The moment I’d been dreaming of’
A few years ago, Alejandra came across the possibility of taking a DNA test to find relatives.
“I took a test, and got a very distant match from a third cousin who lives in the U.S. — and he was trying to find his own birth parents,” she says. “Together, we mapped out our genetic matches, and found another relative in the U.S. and focused on his family tree, but we found nothing. The tracks led to Cuba and Spain, but we couldn’t trace them any further.”
Two years passed until another match appeared with a relative from Spain who was studying in the Netherlands at the time. He was also a third cousin of Alejandra’s but fortunately, he had researched his family history and had a large family tree. “I asked him if he knew of a relative who had come to Argentina,” says Alejandra. He promised that when he returned to Spain, he would ask his family, saying that his grandfather would surely know.
Summer came and the distant cousin kept his promise. After speaking to his grandfather, he called Alejandra and told her with excitement: “I found them!” He had two great-aunts who moved from Argentina to Spain and married the Batallán brothers.”
Alejandra couldn’t stop crying.
“Batallán was a name that appeared again and again in the research I did,” she said. “I felt I was finally approaching the moment I’d been dreaming of since I was 20 years old.”
The cousin told Alejandra that he knows descendants of this family who live in Palermo, Buenos Aires: Ramiro and Maria Mercedes Batallán. Alejandra immediately searched for them on Facebook and found Mercedes. Alejandra tried to message her, but the message was apparently intercepted by the spam filter and didn’t reach Mercedes. “I waited for months and there was no response,” says Alejandra.
But then, the pandemic broke out, and Alejandra was forced to stay at home for a prolonged period. She decided to use the time to find another channel to her potential birth family. “I found Ramiro on Facebook, saw that we had a mutual friend, and contacted her,” says Alejandra. “I asked her if she knew him, and she replied that they were neighbors. I was finally able to reach them.”
‘Suddenly, I am surrounded by family’
They set up a video call, and Alejandra told Mercedes and Ramiro everything she knew. They shared photos and provided information about their father, who they believed might have been Alejandra’s birth father. Alejandra asked if they would be willing to take a DNA test, and Mercedes agreed. Alejandra had a MyHeritage DNA kit at home, so she gave her the test, and they waited for the results.
A few weeks later: good news at last. Mercedes and Alejandra were sisters!
“It was such an exciting moment,” recalls Alejandra. “I saw pictures of my father and discovered that he was very tall. At that moment, I finally understood why I was the tallest kid in my class. Even in the first meeting with Mercedes, I felt like we had known each other our whole lives.”
Some details still remain a mystery: Mercedes and Ramiro could not shed light on the circumstances of Alejandra’s birth.
“He was very young, only 20 years old. He may not even have known that I exist,” says Alejandra. “He got married in 1968, and two years later, Mercedes was born. It turns out that all our lives, we lived 15 minutes away from each other and didn’t know.”
Alejandra recently celebrated her birthday together with her newfound sister, and it was an event she will never forget. “I have two children, a son and a daughter, and we live together,” she says. “We have never had an extended family, no uncles or aunts or cousins. Suddenly, I am surrounded by 11 family members who embrace me with great love. The excitement I feel can’t be explained in words.”
Finding her family has had such a profound effect on Alejandra’s life, she decided to help others achieve the same. She founded an organization called “Encontrarnos” that aims to help reunite families.
MyHeritage has donated 100 DNA kits to Alejandra’s organization in hopes of helping many more people like Alejandra find the family they are looking for.
The post She Learned She Was Adopted, Then Found Her Birth Family. Now, She’s Helping Others Do the Same appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.
Source: My Heritage