Children of a Dirty War
Argentina struggles with the legacy of a horrible crime
The trial is pushing other adoptees toward traumatic crossroads. Julieta de Petrillo, 18, has a military birth certificate, and she knows that her adoptive mother worked as a midwife in a detention center. "I'm just scared that they will take me away from home," she says. "My mother did everything for me. She says I am not the daughter of subversives, and I believe her." But, she adds, she has decided to take a blood test to be sure.
De Petrillo's turmoil has been compounded by the press, which has published her photo alongside those of strangers alleged to be her real parents. "I just wish they would leave me alone," she says.
Some young Argentines in similar straits have formed a support group called HIJOS. Others try to insulate themselves. Carlos D'Elia, 17, has asked the press to forget him, HIJOS to give him time, and his biological grandmother not to speak out. He was devastated when his military parents were sent to jail and has only just begun to form bonds with his new family. Like other children of the disappeared, D'Elia suddenly has been confronted with a past he either never knew or tried to avoid. But, in truth, all of Argentina is in that position.