Marcia Engel: "So much trouble to find my own parents . For a right that every child - the right to contact his parents . I figured the spot : this has to change , I 'm going to help people. And this goes beyond the search for relatives. I want to make people aware of their rights and opportunities.”

Sahira Emilia Chagres

My name is Sahira Emilia Chagres and I was born in Colombia (Bogota). I was 9 months old when I was taken away from my mother and when I was 18 months old I came to the Netherlands.
Soon I started asking myself who I was and where I came from.

Unfortunately I had been through a very difficult time with my foster family. They were also not open to my search and I had to figure out everything on my own.

When I was in my adolescence, I tried many ways to find out my background, but with no result. In 1999 I became a mother myself and this ignorance and the desire to investigate was gnawing at me more and more. I could never handle that my mother relinquished me. And I had the feeling that no one understood me. Later I found out that I was abducted, but then I did not know. That is why I am working on a book about adoption.

At the end of 1999 I called in Dutch TV show Spoorloos (Lost Without A Trace). Unfortunately, after 4 years of waiting no result came. My details would be incorrect although I had all the information.

In 2001 I obtained the information through Weeskinderen (orphaned children) because I was still curious about what was wrong with my papers. Meanwhile, I came in contact with Plan Angel through a friend of mine.

After a telephone conversation and a meeting with Marcia I got a little hope again. I also learned that I had been held in suspense for years. But thanks to the hope and power in me, I have not given up.

Marcia advised me to send out a call through Facebook on my last name which I have done on the same evening, with photos. I also sent out photos and my personal details to all orphanages. I received many comments on my Facebook message, also from family. Unexpectedly, I suddenly got in touch with a close relative, a cousin of mine. My story had loosened something in her and she wanted to call. 

Because my Spanish was not that fluent, I contacted Plan Angel again and I asked Marcia to contact my cousin and aunt. Having long and nerve-racking days hoping for good news I finally had contact after 36 years. It appeared that my cousin is really family and that my mother is the sister of my aunt. She confirmed the story.

Thanks to the efforts and mediation of Plan Angel I came in contact with my mother, sisters and brother. And then in April 2014 I went there for the first time with my mother, to explore my family, roots, culture and country.

Thanks to the hospitality of Marcia’s father I had a beautiful time in Bogota. After that I travelled to Mitu Vaupes where the family of my mother lives. Through the commitment and compassion of Plan Angel, Marcia and her father there is more hope of finding your family. I hope that through Plan Angel and our stories there are increasing more possibilities to help people in their search. But I also hope there will be more understanding and clarity about adoption processes in any country, because for us it is not just paperwork. It is about our lives and living with adoption.

Sahira Emilia Chagres



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