The civil war that shook El Salvador from 1982 to 1990 ripped families apart. Parents feared for their children’s lives. Rather than find them dead, victims of the war, they sent them away. The total number of children sent away is unknown, though it is thought that over 700 were given away for adoption in foreign countries.
A liaison between the US Department of Justice, Cal State Berkeley’s Human Rights Center, and El Salvador’s “Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos” has created an opportunity for El Salvadors adopted children to find their birth parents. They are reaching out to families looking for their lost children. Those who have documentation proving their parentage are helped through the process. Those without documentation will be entered into a DNA database. Efforts first concentrated on the people of El Salvador. Workers spread throughout El Salvador collecting DNA samples. This part of the project is almost complete. The next step is tracking down the adoptees and getting their DNA entered into the database.
So far 300 children have been located. Still there is much work to be done. The organization needs to get DNA on as many of the adoptees as possible so as to have a better chance of finding their birth families.