HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A firefighter experiences a happy ending when he met his biological mother for the first time in Chile.
Eyewitness News first told you about Odessa firefighter David Avary several months ago when he found out he was one of thousands of children stolen as babies and adopted out illegally under the Augusto Pinochet regime in Chile.
It was a trafficking of children that experts say was the Chilean government's way to reduce poverty and control the population.
A Houston organization called Connecting Roots, founded by a Houston firefighter who was also stolen at birth, was able to track down Avary's biological family.
He met his family for the first time this past weekend. A hug and reunion that were once just a dream became a reality nearly four decades later.
"To come through that exit and my family run and hug me, just a lot of emotions flowed through in that moment," Avary told ABC13.
Teresa del Carmen Campos is Avary's biological mother who lives in Chile. She said when she saw him for the first time at the airport over the weekend, she ran, hugged him tight, and didn't want to let go.
Moments before the reunion, she said her heart was beating fast and she asked God to give her strength for a moment that she waited for since her son was taken illegally when he was just 10 months old.
"It was kind of unreal," Avary recalled his feelings. "I was living in a dream."
Avary was welcomed by a crowd of people whose life changed the moment they found out he had been found.
For years, all they had was a memory of a baby boy that stayed in the hearts and minds of his family.
His biological mother said she always carried a pain in her chest, because her newborn was taken from her while he was receiving medical treatment at a facility.
She said a government welfare social worker forced her to sign a paper, and all she can remember is that she was never able to see him again.
He was later adopted by a family in the United States that had no idea he was put up for adoption illegally. Both of his mothers also met for the first time.
Del Carmen Campos said she's forever indebted to his adoptive mother, Mary, for giving him a happy childhood and raising him to grow up to be a wonderful man.
It was an unforgettable and life-changing moment for these families as they make up for lost time.
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