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Essay

Ana & Isabel’s Reunion

Isabel and Ana Williams are two friends who, like me, were adopted from El Salvador and grew up in the New England area. The sisters had only faint memories of their life in El Salvador. However, Isabel remembers the face of a woman, who she thought was her mother, lying dead next to her. Her memories drove Isabel to begin searching for her birth family in 2008.

With the help of Pro-Busqueda, the same organization that reunited me with my birth family, Isabel and Ana were able to locate their birth mother, Ester, in rural El Salvador. They also learned that they had been forcibly separated from their birth family during a massacre in 1980 when the Salvadoran military forces placed them in an orphanage to be put up for adoption. Their birth mother, who survived the attack, tried to get her daughters back but was prevented from doing so, and they were adopted to the US.

Since 2010 Isabel and Ana have been trying to meet their birth mother in person. However, due to a debilitating illness, Isabel is not able to travel, and Ana does not want to have the reunion without her sister by her side. Their only option was to bring their birth mother to the U.S.

After five years of waiting, Isabel and Ana were finally reunited with their birth mother on June 28th, 2015. I had the privilege of photographing their reunion and capturing some of the family’s first moments together in 35 years.