“I don’t know how I feel,” he told CNN after reuniting with his mom at Chile’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport. “It’s crazy! I never thought this could happen.”
Abducted as a baby, Tolliver was raised by a Tacoma, Washington, couple who didn’t know he’d been taken. His adoptive parents were simply told that he’d been abandoned. But the truth was much more sinister: Tolliver was stolen from his mother, who was told her baby had died, though she was never shown a body.
It’s unclear how he ultimately made it from his native country of Chile to the United States, but he’s one of the “Children of Silence” – infants who were taken from their birth parents in Chile during a dictatorship there.
Reyes was just 19 when she gave birth to Tolliver. She’d had a healthy pregnancy, so it was a shock when doctors told her he’d died.
“I’m going to hug him every day,” the now 61-year-old told CNN. “I love him so much.”
And now that he’s met his biological mother, Tolliver hopes to overcome his “abandonment issues.”
“I wasn’t given up willingly like I thought for all these years, so that makes my heart feel wonderful,” he said.