From The Filmmakers

Nelson de Witt / Roberto Coto

Since I first learned of my family’s story, that unforgettable August night, I knew someday I would share our story with the world. For me, this film is the beginning of that journey.

Growing up with two identities changed me. It made me feel like an outsider because I began to see the world differently than those around me.  What was normal for everyone else felt challenging to me and what seemed extraordinary to others became ordinary.  

When John and I started talking about making this documentary, I realized that in the film was a chance for me to find meaning in what happened, rediscover where I come from, and bring people into my world.

My family’s story runs through the heart of the Salvadoran Civil War. It is a story that most people, even in El Salvador, have no idea ever even happened. I want to change that. My efforts are dedicated to the memory of my mother, Ana Milagro Escobar, who disappeared with me in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in 1982.

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John Younger

My favorite explanation about the need to tell stories comes from the historian Wallace Stegner, who wrote, “Any people in a new land may be pardoned for being solicitous about their history; they create it, in a sense, by remembering it.” While Stegner was speaking about 19th Century Mormon Pioneers, I’ve always felt that his words apply equally well to anyone whose truth doesn’t fit neatly into a familiar little box.

I met Nelson as his counselor at a YMCA summer camp in Western Massachusetts. I was trying to keep up with a cabin full of Mighty Midgets before heading off to my first year of college. He was a happy and determined 8-year-old who already was showing his proclivity for being a snappy dresser. One memory that has stuck with me of Nelson the camper is from the Family Visiting Day, when his younger brother Derek grasped around one of Nelson’s fingers and seemed to never let go from the minute he arrived until it was time to leave.

After reconnecting with him on Facebook recently, I started reading Nelson’s blog, Ana’s Miracle, to find out why he now referred to himself by two names, Nelson/Roberto. His blog posts and videos about life with his family revealed an absolute determination to share that story. It’s a story that deals with subjects like war, adoption, family, and identity. It’s a story that recalls events which are larger-than-life and twist in unexpected ways. But most of all, it’s a story about what makes us alike or connected, which is something I began learning about from Nelson and his family a long time ago.

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