I had a great childhood living with loving parents and a sister who was also adopted. I always knew I was adopted and thought it was quite normal. Wasn't everybody adopted ? I never hesitated to tell friends that I was adopted and can’t remember anyone ever having a problem with it. The only time I ever remember being mildly inquisitive of my roots was when I was watching a county cricket match on TV and asking my Dad which side I should support !
It would be true to say that for over 50 years of my life I never gave a second thought to my birth parents and it was no consequence to me that there may be someone out there who had given me away at birth who might be wondering what became of her little baby.
Thinking back on it, when people asked whether I would ever consider searching for my birth mother, I think I always responded by saying I would somehow feel guilty in doing such a thing while my parents were still alive as I would consider I was being ungrateful and committing treason even by thinking of the possibility.
My dad died in 1989 and it was not until my mother became permanently resident in a nursing home suffering from that awful disease dementia, which resulted in her brain becoming so jumbled that she didn’t know who I was or what day it was, that I even considered investigating my roots.
Anyway, by May I had mapped out the Musgroves tree and then on 2nd June 2006 at about 10.00 in the evening, I found her, her husband and a son on the Electoral Role with an address and telephone number. Wow !! This was the point at which this was no longer an academic exercise. What had been names on bits of paper suddenly became real, live people.
What to do now ? I hadn’t believed I would find her and if I did I never considered she might be alive. I had and she was !
Unless you have experienced that moment it is impossible to explain the excitement and expectation generated by speaking to a complete stranger who sounded so familiar.
My birth mother is a lovely lady who had just turned 18 when I was conceived in Malta, where she was working as a childrens nurse with the family of a naval commander. Her father and step-mother gave her the option of either having me adopted or she would be ostracized from the family. Not much of an option !
Her parents were not supportive of her predicament in any sense of the word. Irene tells the story of her changing her mind about having me adopted at the place where I was to be handed over and how I had to be forced from her arms. The world was a completely different place for an unmarried mother in the 1950’s and I can fully understand why I had to be put up for adoption. Luckily attitudes have changed since then.
It turns out that a short while after my adoption had been legally completed, Irene asked if she could have a photograph of her little baby and this photo of me when I was about 6 months old was sent to her by my mother via the adoption society. It must have been quite a shock for Irene when she met me over 50 years later to discover I had changed somewhat !