Following the discovery that she and Robert had been taken from the land of their birth and baptized with new identities, the Mexican authorities arrested their “parents.” Until some solution could be found to their predicament, the two “children” were left in Santa Martha, basically under house arrest. Overnight, they had become stateless and nameless. Both of them found it impossible to sleep. They took long walks around Molly’s property, wondering if Rudy and Loretta would come back.
Molly had read a lot about the years of civil war in Guatemala when thousands of her countrymen had fled the oppression to start new lives in Mexico. They had no documents either, no status of any kind, but at least they knew their names. She couldn’t understand how or why this particular nightmare belonged to her and Robert. She tried to keep him calm, but anger and resentment quickly settled into Robert’s heart. He wanted to return to Guatemala and find his home.
Molly would have liked that too, but she realized how difficult it would be. If she and Robert had been born to poor families during that turbulent time, she doubted that a record of their births had ever existed. And after so long, the chances of finding anyone who remembered them at all would be next to impossible.
Where had the names Molly and Robert come from?
Three weeks after Rudy and Loretta had been arrested, Sr. Ramírez made a special trip to Santa Martha to explain the convoluted circumstances.
“Soon after arriving in Mexico your “parents” reported to the Mexican authorities. Although they were American citizens, they successfully argued that Guatemala had been their home and political refugee status had been granted to them under their birth names: Molly Anne Evans and Robert Michael Davies. They kept the two of you a secret for fear that the authorities would take you away.”
He added that they managed to procure duplicates of their birth certificates and Mexican credentials. Coincidentally they had both been born in 1951 and they simply changed the 5 to an 8 on the documentation, which provided an identity to the small boy and girl they had brought from Guatemala. They settled in Santa Martha where they could easily evade the eyes of the Mexican immigration department. In that tiny town, no one worried about formalities.
Sr. Ramírez finished by telling the distraught pair: “After bestowing their own names on the two of you, your parents elected to use the ones they had taken when they had entered the religious life: Rudy and Loretta.”
Neither Sister Loretta nor Father Rudy ever contacted their orders; their time in Guatemala had left them disillusioned with the Church. But Loretta did get in touch with her mother. Within a year, “Grandma” moved to Santa Martha and it had been she who placed the image of Molly’s “deceased father” on the mantel piece.
Rudy resented the arrival of Loretta’s mother. He had a bitter falling out with her and left Santa Martha to live in an even smaller town, taking Robert with him. The children were not quite two years old when the split occurred so they lost conscious memory of each other.
After thinking for many months about all they’d gone through, Molly’s head ached. She deduced that when she and Robert met at the party in 2002, the indelible bond they had shared as infants drew them together. She must have sensed their common predicament and all too soon, the drama began unfolding.
Rudy and Loretta were deported to the USA and Molly was allowed to take Mexican citizenship. She stuck with the name she’d been given when she first moved to the country. Robert went to Guatemala and claimed that nationality. Although he searched for his family, every trail he followed ended in disappointment.
Molly moved to Merida in 2005. After selling her home and the extensive property in Santa Martha to an eco-resort developer, she had enough capital to start a B & B in her adopted city. She rarely talks about her former life; secrecy is cemented into her soul. But once in a great while she meets someone who instills enough trust and she’s able to confide.
One night I watched a documentary about misplaced Guatemalan children. The profiled child had been adopted by an older American couple who searched for their daughter’s birth parents and eventually found them.
The film had impressed me and the following day when I ran into Molly at the library, for no particular reason I recounted the story to her. When I finished, I felt surprised to see that she had tears running down her face. “Maybe I knew that girl?” she said.
I didn’t know about her background but from the pleading look in her eyes, I knew she wanted to tell me something important. “Do you want to go somewhere for a coffee?” I asked.
For two hours we sat under the umbrella of a rubber tree in the central courtyard of a quiet downtown café. Molly gaveme all the details, and after hearing her tragic tale, we both felt emotionally exhausted. I asked if I could help her in any way.
“Yes,” she said. “Tell people about me and the other displaced children. Millions of people worldwide are homeless. Millions live in refugee camps and many more reside anonymously in every country of the world.
Have you met Molly?
Well maybe you have . . . you’ll never know unless you connect the dots.