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In photos: the struggle of a mother and her son, from adoption to deportation

Adopted at birth in Mexico, Michael Polinske came to the United States when he was barely six months old and grew up thinking he was a U.S. citizen until he found out aged 17 that his adoption had never been finalized and he was living in the country illegally. In 2011 he was deported.
9 Jul 2019 – 05:07 PM EDT
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These framed passport photos of Michael, Michelle and Amanda sit at a table in Toni Polinske's living room in Midland, Texas. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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Maria Antonieta 'Toni' Polinske outside her home in Midland, Texas. Her adopted son Michael was deported in 2012 after 26 years in the United States. Crédito: David Adams/Univision
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Michael Martinez was born in Mexico and was adopted by the Polinske family in Texas with two days of age. He was deported to Mexico in 2011, aged 26. Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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Toni met her husband, John Polinske, at a dance in 1976. They left for a year before getting married in South Dakota in 1977. They moved to Midland in search of work after the shale oil boom in the West Permian Basin of Texas, one of the largest oil and gas deposits in the country. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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John Polinske was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1927, of Polish, German, Irish, Italian and French. He served in the US Army for 19 months during World War II. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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Maria Polinske, (l) with her parents and the three adopted children, Michael, Michelle and Amanda, shortly after her birth in Torreón, Coahuila. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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His adoptive mother recalls that Michael was a restless baby, needing attention. "My mother told me: 'Hold him close to your face, tell him your mother is here, your mother is here ... that's what I remember most," said Toni Polinske Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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mother and kids.jpg
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The children enjoyed a relatively normal education in Midland, Texas, although their parents were concerned about their unresolved legal status. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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Bath time for the Polinske children. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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Despite six months of paperwork and $ 8,000 in legal costs, the Polinskes never received official adoption documents or Mexican passports. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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John Polinske was 17 years older than Toni, had three children from a previous marriage and had undergone a vasectomy. So, the couple decided to adopt in Mexico. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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Michael played with the football team at Goddard Junior High. "I played in every position, whatever, I practically never left the field," said Michael, who is now 33. (Seen here in the back row, second from the right) Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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A class year book shows Michael in the second row, second from the right. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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Michael with his youngest son, Michael Jr. Crédito: Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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The adoption of Michael Polinske was finally approved by a Texas judge in 2003. Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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The Ector County courthouse in Odessa, Texas, where Michael's adoption was finally granted in 2003. Crédito: David Adams/Univision
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Texas birth certificate.jpg
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Michael's deportation order in 2007 indicated that when he entered the United States in 1986, "he was not admitted or paroled after being inspected by an immigration official." Courtesy of the Polinsky family.
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Michael's Mexican birth certificate in the name of Michael Vito Martínez Caldera, dated August 28, 1985, one month after his birth. Courtesy of the Polinske family.
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