"It knocked the wind out of me … I was suffocated by the gravity of this moment," Jimmy Lippert Thyden said about the reunion with his birth mother
After 42 years, Jimmy Lippert Thyden finally embraced his birth mother for the first time.
Last week, the Virginia criminal defense attorney was reunited with Maria Angelica Gonzalez in Chile, more than four decades after hospital workers there told the woman that her son died after she gave birth, according to the Associated Press.
“It knocked the wind out of me … I was suffocated by the gravity of this moment,” Thyden told the AP after the reunion. “How do you hug someone in a way that makes up for 42 years of hugs?”
On Aug. 17, the mother and son began to make up for lost time in Valdivia, Chile.
"Te amo mucho," Thyden told her, according to USA Today. "I love you so much."
"It's a miracle from God," Gonzalez, 69, told the newspaper. "When I learned that he was alive, I couldn't believe it."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
The journey toward the happy moment began in April, when Thyden learned about Nos Buscamos, a Chilean nonprofit that is dedicated to reuniting Chilean-born adoptees with their birth parents, he told the news outlet.
“The paperwork I have for my adoption tells me I have no living relatives. And I learned in the last few months that I have a mama and I have four brothers and a sister,” Thyden told the AP.
Thyden took the MyHeritage DNA test to confirm his Chilean origin. Nos Buscamos teamed up with MyHeritage to provide Chelean adoptees and suspected victims of child trafficking in Chile with at-home DNA testing kits. Thyden's test confirmed he is 100% Chilean after he matched with a first cousin who also used MyHeritage.
Thyden is among an estimated 8,000 to 20,000 babies who were taken from mostly poor mothers in Chile and placed with families in North America, Europe and beyond, through an illegal adoption network — a policy orchestrated by the Gen. Augusto Pinochet regime in the '70s and '80s as a means of reducing poverty.
The Virginia man’s story is the latest in a series of such emotional reunions.
Last November, Elan and Micah Nardi were reunited with their biological mother. The twins had been adopted by a couple in Massachusetts who were told only that their mother had wanted them to have a better life.
Aware of their Chilean roots, the Nardis began to dig further after their adoptive mother saw a news story last December about Texas firefighter Tyler Graf and other stolen children of Chile.
Tyler Graf grew up in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, but it took more than three decades for him to discover the shocking truth of his adoption — he, like thousands of other babies in Chile in the '70s and '80s, had been stolen from his birth parents.
Graf told PEOPLE last year that it is his mission to help others like him through his organization Connecting Roots.
"Seeing the happiness that this creates when these two families meet for the first time, to know that there was a lifetime of pain that is now going to be patched, it's incredible," Graf told PEOPLE.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.