ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque woman said she spent almost 40 years thinking her mother abandoned her.
Naomi Martinez said her father used a severe burn accident she had when she was a child as an excuse to take her to the U.S., supposedly for medical attention. Then, she said he told her a story about her family back in Costa Rica.
Martinez said she was about 5-years-old when her father took her away from her mother, brother and sisters.
She said her father blamed her mom.
"I thought she abandoned me and didn't want me and was glad to have me out of her life," Martinez said.
So she was surprised and confused nearly 40 years later, when her family found her on Facebook just months after she created an account.
That is when, Martinez said, she learned not only did her mother not abandon her but she had been desperately searching for her.
"The first time that I heard my mother's voice was something really emotional for me because she told me, ‘I still see you as a little girl,'" Martinez said.
Martinez now believes her father used an accident she had when she was a child as an excuse to take her away.
She has had scars since she was 3-years -after she burned herself on a stove.
"My father had to have a signed affidavit from a lawyer that allowed him to take me out," Martinez said. "The way he got around that was he told my mother, ‘I'm going to take her to the United States to get her treated by a doctor up there.'"
But Martinez said her dad never took her to a doctor and never took her back home.
So on Thursday, Martinez's mom will visit her in Albuquerque for a reunion that is 40 years overdue.
"I can't believe it," Martinez said. "It's just two days away, and I get to see and hold my mom for the first time since I was a little girl."
Martinez will be picking her mom and oldest sister up from the airport Thursday, just in time to celebrate her mom's 80th birthday together.
KRQE News 13 was unable to reach Martinez' father. Martinez said she hasn't spoken to him in years.
Martinez is now married with four daughters of her own.
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