Chapter 7: A NEW STRATEGY The Right to Identity

When they stole the children they tried to change what is natural- ...A person is born with a certain history; one cannot insert oneself in another's history. We know this because of the children we have recovered. They all have said that they knew there was something wrong. that they felt pressure on their heads and anguish in their hearts. That is what the found children told us. Berta Schubaraff

The creation in 1987 of the National Genetic Data Bank marked an important moment in the evolution of the work of the Grandmothers. The bank provided the Grandmothers with the scientific expertise they needed to bolster their cases and prove to the judicial system the affiliation of the children found. But it was not enough. Legal obstacles to their work arose constantly. For example, the grandmother of Ximena Vicario found herself without legal standing because of an antiquated law regarding custody that prohibited nonparental relatives (grandparents, uncles or aunts, and siblings) from being interested parties in custody cases. Only after the Grandmothers brought pressure to bear on legislators was the law eventually changed.

Moreover, when cases under investigation ended up in court, the appropriators frequently refused to let the children be tested at the bank, and often judges failed to question either the legitimacy of the adoptions or the patently false birth certificates that were produced. The Grandmothers realized from the very beginning that the courts alone, even when working properly, were not enough: the existing adoption law and its regulations helped cover up children's disappearances and protect the kidnappers. Something more fundamental was needed to protect the rights of the disappeared children.

Already in 1986, at the first Argentine Congress of Adoption, the Grandmothers challenged the closed adoption system, because maintaining secrecy about origins made possible the illegitimate adoptions. That secrecy, they maintained, was also damaging to children who had been adopted legally: given the publicity that surrounded the work of the Grandmothers, these children would be bound to wonder about their origins and the fate of their parents. The Grandmothers argued for new ideas and legal instruments to make adoptions truly protective of the welfare of all children. Children had to be told the truth about their history. They also criticized the Argentine adoption law for facilitating illegal adoptions by not requiring that the biological parents be present during the proceedings.


In 1985, influenced by the Grandmothers' arguments, the Argentine government presented to the United Nations Working Group drafting a convention on the rights of the child an article regarding the rights of children to their identity and life with their families of origin. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted in November 1989 by the General Assembly, and by September of the following year it had obtained the twenty ratifications needed to gain the force of international law. By the end of 1997, the convention had been ratified by 191 states, becoming in the process the most widely accepted human rights treaty in history. As of May 1998, only the United States and Somalia among the UN member states had not yet ratified it.

The convention's primary focus is on "the best interest of the child." Its fifty-four articles cover a wide range of areas, from children's right to be free from sexual and economic exploitation to their right to proper nutrition, housing, education, and health care. The articles fall under three headings: provision (the right to get one's basic needs fulfilled), protection (the right to be shielded from harmful acts or practices), and participation (the right to be heard on decisions affecting one's own life). It constitutes the most important body of international legislation on children's rights, and its norms are binding for those governments that have ratified it.

The 1989 convention broke new ground in creating new rights, such as Article 8 on the preservation of the identity of the child, and in introducing new legal concepts-such as Article 21 on adoption, which recognized "that intercountry adoption may be considered as an alternative means of a child's care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child's country of origin."5 The Grandmothers, who played a key role in formulating and developing the language of Article 8, worked closely with the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs in drafting it-a remark- able feat for women lacking any formal training in internationallaw.

The original wording proposed by the Argentine government was very strong:

The child has the inalienable right to retain his true and genuine personal, legal, and family identity. In the event that a child has been fraudulently deprived of some or all of the elements of his identity, the State must give him special protection and assistance with a view to re-establishing his true and genuine identity as soon as possible. In particular this obligation of the State includes restoring the child to his blood relations to be brought up.

The final version reflected the compromises necessary to have the article endorsed by the other members of the working group. Representatives of some countries did not want to be obliged to include the concept of "identity" in their national laws. Others did not want to create conflict with reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. Still others questioned whether Article 8 would be compatible with laws allowing abortions.

As adopted, Article 8 declares:

I. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection with a view to speedily re-establishing his or her identity.

Though not as specific as the original draft, Article 8 fills an important legal void by forcing the state to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity and to take action to restore that identity when it has been put in jeopardy. Argentina's National Congress ratified the convention in October 1990, though it took exception on four questions: the moment when life begins, international adoptions, family planning, and children in armies. Incorporated into Argentine jurisprudence, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has become part of the body of law regarding children.

Significantly, because the concept of identity is not defined in the convention, it remains somewhat ambiguous. Although elements- "nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law"-are explicitly named in Article 8, this list is not exhaustive; thus different interpretations of the "right to identity," incorporating different elements, could arise in the future. Legal scholar George A. Stewart breaks down identity into four interpretive categories:

Familial identity includes natural parents, family and ancestors as well as family name. Tribal identity is intended here to include ethnic, cultural and religious identity. Biological identity includes medical and genetic information about oneself and one's ancestors and blood relatives, and also historical data such as place and time of birth and records of events important to the person. Political identity is nationality.

Issues of identity and its various interpretations open up a discussion in international law that may have far-reaching implications for human rights movements worldwide.

The convention stipulated that a UN Committee on the Rights of the Child be established to monitor and help governments bring their national laws and practices into conformity with the convention. The committee, which consists of ten members of varied professions and nationalities, reviews reports on the implementation plans from the countries that have ratified the convention. Similarly, the Grandmothers, who had actively supported the passage of an international convention protecting children, worked vigorously in implementing the mea- sure as they educated both the public and professionals about it. The incorporation of the convention in Argentine law aided their efforts to make broad changes in the adoption system and in particular to end the secrecy that characterized adoption proceedings.

Estela de Carlot to comments:

Here, people think of us as "searchers of identity." Abroad ,Article 8 of the Convention is called "the Argentine article" because we fought for it. We supported by many people in Argentine society and even in the government, succeeded in incorporating it in our Constitution. And it was not only Article 8, but also Articles 7 and I 1, articles that speak of the right of children to be themselves, to have their family and identity, and how the state has the obligation to restore it to them. Article II states that children who have been taken illegally out of their country of origin have to be returned to that country. So, there is support for the return of the children who have been taken abroad. those "second disappearances'. carried out by the military, the police. or their accomplices.

In 1990 the Grandmothers pointed out to President Menem that because Argentina had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, he was obligated to ensure that the disappeared children recover their identity. Yet his upcoming presidential pardon of the members of the juntas would in effect legitimize the children's captivity, condemning them to ignorance of their real families and to life with their parents' murderers. Eighteen months after his election, Menem remained silent about the disappeared children. The Grandmothers held the government responsible for its inaction and stated that it was plain common sense and within reason to expect that the Estado de Derecho {democratic state) ought to intervene and repair the damage that the Estado Terrorista {terrorist state) had done. They therefore called on the international human rights community to hold the Argentine government to its commitment that the right to identity become a reality.lS In turn, the right to identity became the legal foundation on which the Grandmothers built their arguments.

The case of Emiliano Carlos Tortrino Castro became the test case in the Argentine judicial system for recognizing and applying the right to identity. It centered on the issue of compulsory genetic testing of the youngster to ascertain his biological affiliation. Emiliano had disappeared with his mother, Marla Carmen Tortrino, in March 1977, when he was eight months old; his father had disappeared a few months before. The child had a visible identifying characteristic: a cleft palate. Immediately after his disappearance, the two families started to search for him. After a few days, Grandfather Tortrino learned that a child with a cleft palate had been found in the streets and put under a judge's guard. In April the judge gave the child to a couple, authorizing them to give him their name. In a matter of weeks the child had lost his identity; in less than six months, the adoption was completed.

In 1988, with the help of two prosecutors nominated by President Alfonsin, the Grandmothers got involved in the case; they offered to provide witnesses and demanded that genetic testing be performed on the child to determine his identity. The adoptive couple challenged the judge's order requiring such tests, and the attorney general sided with them, arguing not only that he wanted to "protect the intimacy" of Emiliano but that mandatory testing threatened the "physical and psychic integrity of the minor. "In 1995 the case reached the Supreme Court, which issued no decision on mandatory genetic testing; it declared the case closed, citing the statute of limitations. The Grand- mothers responded by launching a national and international campaign to collect a million signatures to send to the Human Rights Commission of the OAS to protest the Supreme Court's ruling.

Human rights lawyers such as Alcira E. Rios-professor of civil family law at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and one of the Grandmothers' legal advisors-support mandatory genetic testing of the children:

I believe that the testing has to be mandatory in the case of the children. It cannot be mandatory for adults because it would be contrary to the constitutional principle of self-incrimination. But the minor has been the victim of a crime, and the judge is obliged to investigate the crime, and if he needs the testing he has to order it. The judge has to decide since the minor is not able to give informed consent. And here it would not be self-incrimination because the child is a victim, not accused of any crime.

Finally, in December 1996, the Supreme Court agreed with Alcira Rios's reasoning: it ruled that mandatory testing can be ordered even if the "adoptive" parents or the child are opposed to it. This decision, which represents a significant victory for the Grandmothers, will help resolve some of their cases presently in court.

The case of Simon Antonio Riquelo, in neighboring Uruguay, has raised similar issues. In 1976 Simon, twenty days old, was taken from his mother, Sara Mendez Lompodio, when she was kidnapped in Buenos Aires. After spending four years in jail, Sara, together with the Grandmothers, started the long search for her child. In 1987 Sara and the child's father, Mauricio Gatti (who died of a heart attack in 1991), found a boy in Montevideo whom they believed to be their son. The boy had been adopted by a relative of the military officer in charge of Sara's kidnapping. The court in Uruguay ruled legitimate the opposition of the adoptive parents to the blood test, and Sara took her case to the Supreme Court. At the end of 1997 the Court ruled against her. There is nothing else Sara can do within the Uruguayan judiciary. It is likely that in the future, she will pursue her case at the international level.


In 1991 the government opened the archives containing information on the Nazis who had been living in Argentina since World War II. Human rights organizations immediately demanded that the archives containing information on the Argentine disappeared also be made available. The military and security spokesmen claimed that there were no files on the disappeared and that the last de facto president, General Reynaldo Bignone, had ordered the burning of the archives. The Grandmothers pointed out that even if there were no formal archives, there were plenty of "living archives"-such as General Ramon Camps, who was responsible for the death of over 5,000 people.

In July 1992, the Grandmothers met with President Menem and they insisted that the government create a commission to search actively for the disappeared children. One result of this meeting was that the Office of Human Rights was upgraded to undersecretariat status, which conferred a wider range of action and decision making on its director, Alicia Pierini. Most important, the government formed the National Com- mission for the Right to Identity, whose purpose is "to impel the search of the disappeared children and to determine the whereabouts of children kidnapped and disappeared of known identity and of children born while the mother was illegally detained, and to fulfill the commitment made by the state when it ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child."
The commission is composed of seven members-two prosecutors designated by the attorney general, two members chosen by the Grand- mothers (who, to maintain their independence and freedom to criticize, did not want to sit on the commission themselves), and three members of the Undersecretariat of Human Rights, including its director.

A critical element in its success is that the commission, like the National Genetic Data Bank, is not restricted to working solely on the disappeared victims of state terrorism. It also investigates the cases of children who have lost their identity in other ways, such as through illegitimate adoptions and the traffic of children. Since the commission's inception, over one hundred young people have approached it for help in identifying their origins and establishing their family history.

The Grandmothers were thus able to bring to the commission's attention the most pressing cases-including those of the Reggiardo Tolosa twins, Emiliano Carlos Tortrino Castro, and Major Norberto Atilio Bianco and his wife-which the commission could use its power to resolve, maneuvering through the legal morass and judicial delays. The commission's own investigations have uncovered forty additional cases of disappearances of pregnant women and children, which had not been previously reported to the Grandmothers' organization. The Grandmothers' lawyers found that the commission facilitated their task, as its constant exchanges with the judicial system's representatives gave the prosecutors a deeper understanding of the cases' complexities.

However, the Grandmothers understood that despite some progress, they needed to remain vigilant. In December 1993, together with a number of other organizations working on behalf of children's rights, they created a separate committee to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Argentina. Having succeeded in including the right of identity in the convention and in Argentine law, the Grandmothers sought to ensure that the Argentine judicial system incorporated this new right in its practice.


In 1991, because of the newly created right to identity, a "full" adoption was annulled for the first time in Argentina. After genetic testing demonstrated that the child's identity had been forged, Judge Hector Armando Nattero declared Ximena Vicario's adoption null and void. Alcira Rios explains:

Many of the disappeared children have been "fully" adopted. Adoption law in Argentina establishes the loss of biological identity and inclusion in the adoptive family. And it is irrevocable. When we asked for the annulment of Ximena Vicario's adoption, many people raised their eyebrows, because in this country there had never been an annulment of a full adoption. This is the first case. The basis for this was the right of identity. Once the testing showed who she was, it followed that there had been fraud in the adoption process; and since family rights are paramount, her adoption was annulled. They all agreed-the judge, the Judicial Chamber, and the Supreme Court. This opens the way for annulments of other adoptions. The children themselves, when they become adults, can request that their adoptions be annulled. That is why this decision was so important. And now the right to identity has constitutional rank because the Convention for the Rights of the Child has been incorporated into the newly reformed national Constitution

The legal decision requiring that the Reggiardo Tolosa twins recover their name and be issued legal documents with that name was also based on the right to identity. After the genetic testing demonstrated that they were not the children of policeman Samuel Miara and that there was no biological relationship between them and him, the court restored their identity and appointed a guardian. Miara no longer had any rights over them. \

Over seventy-five cases are currently being pursued by the Grand- mothers in which genetic testing needs to be performed to assess the children's identity. Once their true identities are ascertained, their adoptions too might be annulled. As the Grandmothers had argued, full recognition of the right to identity by the Argentine judicial system was and is essential to recovering who the found children really are.


The Grandmothers' experience in struggling to recover the disappeared children, together with the introduction of the right to identity into the new Constitution, is changing how adoption is regarded in Argentina. The Grandmothers oppose not adoption itself but the legal regulations, procedures, and practices that are not in the best interest of the children. Chicha Mariani expresses their views forcefully:

I believe that adoption is a totally legitimate institution and that it is absolutely necessary-with the caveat that children should not be sold or taken away from their families, as has happened here. I also believe that a child has a right to her or his identity. I do think that international adoptions should not exist and that they are an abominable practice. In 1983, in Geneva, for the first time we talked with representatives of an international adoption agency and we realized what was going on: they had photo albums offering children, as if it were a natural thing. That horrified us. ...I think that to transfer a child is like transferring a plant from one environment to another. The plant dries up if you change the environment. Likewise, the child suffers from discrimination. I think it is a terrible thing to take children from their country, to change their environment. Roots are a powerful thing and the proof is in the thousands of cases of people looking for their roots, wanting to find out their origins.

The thinking of the Grandmothers converges with that of Maria Josefina Becker, deputy director of the Brazilian Child Welfare Agency, FUNABEM (Fundacao Nacional para o bem-estar do menor abandonado}. Becker articulates a Latin American viewpoint on international adoption:

Another question surrounding international adoption concerns the paucity of real knowledge as to the medium and long range consequences of such adoption, especially with regard to children of different ethnic and racial origins. We can assume that in most cases the baby or small child will really be loved and accepted by the adoptive parents, who will do everything possible to protect and shield the child against any form of discrimination. However, one day the child will become an adolescent and in time a young adult. The fact that the child has been adopted by a family does not necessarily mean that he or she has been adopted by a society or by a country. What problems will the young black, or person of indigenous or racially mixed features, experience in the formation of his or her identity, in relationships with his or her peers, and in becoming integrated into the daily life of the society? ... We must also think of the right of the adolescent to know his or her own roots. How will they react to the fact that a decision to deprive them of one nationality and grant them another was made without their having any say whatsoever?

These new questions and new thinking arise directly from the Grandmothers' struggles. They presented their work and discussed the right to identity at the Second Interdisciplinary Adoption Symposium in the Southern Cone, held in Buenos Aires in November 1994; another participant in the same workshop, a professional in the field of adoption, underscored their call for change:

The institution of adoption deserves a new ideology that rescues the value of freedom. the importance of truth. and respect for personal rights. especially the right to identity. ...The knowledge of one's own genesis is an essential factor for the construction of the self of the adoptee. ...[I]t is necessary to have a new ideological and legal definition of adoption. more flexible, more open, more respectful for the dignity and individuality of each per- son, as unique beings. with a right to a life worth living.

Influenced by the Grandmothers and supported by a few professionals and politicians, legislators began in 1994 to draft new adoption legislation that would take into account the right to identity. Graciela Fernandez Meijide, a member of Congress, is one of the proponents of the new law:

In general. adoption legislation tends to stress the rights of adults, instead of the rights of children. Our law emphasizes the right of the child. It demands that children be told the truth. that they are adopted. The judge is supposed to keep all the information about the biological family so that when the child is sixteen, he or she has access to that information and can search for their families if they want. ...Sometimes we think it is cruel to tell a person the truth (first as a child, but later as an adult). But that view reflects a colonialist attitude. Only the colonizer refuses to respect the identity of the colonized. It does not matter what the origin of an adoption is. It can be a perfectly legal adoption. as when a child is orphaned or abandoned. Or an adoption following a crime, as under the dictatorship, when children were stolen. Or an adoption following the sale of a child, a horrible practice, more and more common in our country. Regardless of the adoption situation, it is hypocritical not to tell the truth. It is a lack of respect of children's full humanity and their right to their identity.

The new legislation will also specify that illegality in the adoption process is sufficient grounds for annulment. Grandmother Antonia Segarra elaborates on this point:

When it is proven that a child has been stolen. of course the adoption has to be annulled. Those who stole the child should be arrested and the child reunited with her or his family. We wanted this to become law and to be an established principle in jurisprudence. so that we do not have to fight for each case separately. We are not against adoptions. but our grandchildren were stolen; their parents did not abandon them and we have not abandoned them either. We have looked for them since the very beginning.

The newly drafted legislation was approved by the House of Representatives in 1994 and by the Senate in early 1997. In its final version the law gives adopted children the right to know that they are adopted and full access to their adoption records at age eighteen. While the new legislation does not explicitly prohibit international adoptions, it requires a five-year residency period in Argentina for those wishing to adopt. If enforced, this condition will make international adoptions practically impossible. The Argentine government maintains that before international adoptions can even be considered, a body of law to protect children needs to be developed; otherwise those adoptions can become a cover-up for the sale and trafficking of children.


Illegal adoptions and trafficking of children are serious problems in Latin America.34 In Argentina, according to a 1989 investigative report from Defence of Children International, during the years of the dictatorship, the sale and traffic of children reached its peak; but the practice has continued, with an estimated 12,000 illegal adoptions per year. One adoptive mother reported, "In 1986 I was told of a boutique at the back of a store; it looked like an adoption agency, and it had been operating since the Proceso. The sister of an acquaintance of mine bought a baby for $8,000."

In the interior of the country, in some of the poorest areas, it is not uncommon to have witnesses give false testimony about births. Sister Martha Pelloni, a well-known community activist, in testimony before the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights accused members of the judicial system of participating in the illegal adoption and traffic of children. A 1993 report by the superior court of Corrientes province acknowledged that children were given away without any oversight or regulation. Sister Martha stated to the court:

From the moment I arrived in Goya, in Corrientes province-and I knew nothing about the issue-1 started to get calls from distraught relatives regarding children who are now in Italy. France. Germany. and the United States. When I asked the callers to identify themselves. I always received the same answers: fear and tears. I asked myself: Who are the provincial authorities responsible for people reacting this way?

In 1994 the case of Carlitos Garcia in Chaco province attracted enormous attention. The child was adopted by a Spanish bullfighter and his wife, in flagrant violation of Argentine adoption law. The judge involved had participated in an unusually high number of adoptions, given the population and number of births in the region. The case became symbolic of the ease with which international adoptions took place despite the government's opposition. An international adoption agency based in Oslo, Norway, was reported to operate in Argentina and to have arranged for more than 3,000 children from Latin America and Asia to be adopted in Europe.39 Even worse, drug traffickers have been implicated in the sale of children.

A national network to fight the traffic of children has recently emerged. The private foundation Identidad de Origen {Identity of origin), started by former Buenos Aires province senator Ricardo Ivoskus, has launched a campaign to lobby Congress against any type of legislation that may lead to the acceptance of international adoptions. Ivoskus, who has taken a leading role in this fight, has exposed the corruption in the judicial system that has allowed illegal adoptions to take place. Grandmother Elsa Oesterheld laments: "Foreigners come here and buy children, that happens all the time. In our talks, we tell people about the National Genetic Data Bank, as a tool in the fight against the traffic of children, where parents of stolen children can deposit their blood, so that the children can one day trace their origins."

The right to identity can and probably will be invoked in connection with the newly developed technologies of assisted reproduction. In her book De /a ciguella a /a probeta {From the Stork to the Test Tube) Argentine feminist Susana Sommer asks, "What will be the answer when those born of in vitro fertilization or surrogacy ask about their identity? "43 Children conceived through artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and other reproductive technologies who want to know their history will be able to claim the right to identity in requesting information about their genetic origins. As these new reproduction modalities become more common in Argentina, legal experts, ethicists, and feminists will have the difficult task of reconciling them with the right to identity.

In the United States as well, the secrecy surrounding adoption and issues of identity has become controversial. A sealed records policy still exists in most U.S. states, and the origin of adoptees continues to be a well-guarded secret. Adoption agencies, courts, and hospitals refuse to divulge any family information to adoptees or to birth parents searching for their biological kin. The birth certificates of adopted children do not reflect their true history. Author and adoption counselor Betty Jean Lifton has poignantly described the adopted child's search for roots and struggle to form an authentic self after experiencing disconnection and losses that society usually fails to acknowledge. A network of members of the adoption triad-adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents-is now working actively for a healthy adoption system with open adoption and open records, one that recognizes the adoptees' rights to the knowledge of their origins.

However, since the United States has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adoptees cannot support their demands for change by claiming the right to identity.

The ability to claim memory and one's history are essential to that right. Erik Erikson has shown us that identity develops both from immediate life involvements and from one's larger sense of history and continuity with the past. The Grandmothers' work accords with his views and introduces into the international legal sphere the principle that human beings are not isolated units, that feelings of belonging and connection are necessary components of a healthy identity.
The fight for human rights starts with everyday issues. Guided by love for their children and grandchildren, the Grandmothers started their searches-first as individuals dealing with their personal tragedies, later as part of a movement. Eventually their work transcended the particular, resulting in the creation of a new ethical and legal principle that has now been incorporated in international human rights legislation. As Eleanor Roosevelt convincingly wrote in 1958:

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home-so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they ARE the world of the individual persons; the neighborhood ...; the school or college. ..; the factory, farm or office. ...Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.

Inspired by the Grandmothers' example, citizens in other countries are taking action. Currently in El Salvador, relatives of children who disappeared during the civil war have organized themselves to denounce the disappearances and to find the children. The Asociacion Pro-Busqueda de los Nifios {Association for the Search of Children) has documented the disappearance of 156 children and identified 24. One of the recent stories is particularly striking: Gina Marie Craig {her adopted name) was taken by Salvadoran soldiers and adopted by an American couple from Ohio. The child kept insisting that she knew her family was alive. Genetic testing has proved her right, and she is now trying to reconnect with her large family in a rural area in El Salvador. "No one believed me, but I always knew it in my heart," said Gina Marie in a 1996 interview. There are probably dozens of children with similar stories. In practically all the countries around the world that ratify the Convention for the Rights of the Child, the right to identity will affect their adoption practices and procedures and help prevent the traffic and sale of children.

Estela de Carlotto summarizes the successes of the Grandmothers in creating new mechanisms and practices that will aid all children:

Without being doctors or lawyers. only grandmothers. and with the price- less collaboration of professionals committed to our cause, we were able to defeat the perverse design of those who stole our grandchildren. ... Because of our initiative. since 1987 we have in Buenos Aires the National Genetic Data Bank, unique in the world[;] ...this Bank will keep our blood and those of our families until the year 2050. ...In the legal arena we succeeded in changing those obsolete laws that viewed children and their families through a colonial lens: the adoption law, the custody law, etc. ...In the international order we were able, together with other national and international organizations. to include Articles 7.8, 11, and 12 in the Convention for the Rights of the Child. And in the psychological arena, we have opened the national and international debate about the right of a child to live with her or his family of origin.