I was finally given the chance to tell my birth mother she did the right thing when she gave me up for adoption/ Sue Plunkett column

I was adopted as a 12 week old baby by the most loving and caring parents anyone could wish for.

Saturday, 18th December 2021, 4:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th December 2021, 4:14 pm
Reporter Sue Plunkett writes about how she was adopted as a 12 week old baby.

My birth mother was young, single and did not have the means or family support to care for me.

Growing up I always knew I was adopted, it was never kept secret from me or anyone else.

My mum told me she and my dad had chosen me, a line used very often to adopted children, but my dad used to joke he really wanted a boy!

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I never wondered longingly about my birth parentage, my parents told me what they knew, which was the truth, and I was happy with that. I had a secure, loving and happy home and, as an only child, was a bit spoilt. Ok then, a lot spoilt.

On her deathbed my mum talked about my 'real' mum and said I would probably want to find her once she was gone. I promised her I wouldn't and I never broke that promise.

The verse she used to recite to me moves me to tears even now : "Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget, not even for a minute, you didn't grow under my heart, but in it.'

I only realised the absolute agony and heartbreak my birth mother must have experienced in giving up her baby when I had my first child. As I lay there staring in wonderment at this tiny little being that I had created I imagined how it would feel if someone walked in and said they were going to take her off to be brought up by someone else.

I was adopted from what was known as the Catholic Children's Rescue Society, now Caritas. In the 60s it was run by nuns so, after I had my daughter, I wrote a letter to the society which I requested they send on to my birth mother.

It wasn't a request to make contact, I just wanted her to know she had done the right thing and I had a happy loving childhood. I didn't want her to have any feelings of guilt or regret. It was really important to me that she knew that.

For whatever reason the letter, written 23 years ago, was never passed on.

And I only found that out when I arrived home from work one day three years ago to find a letter from Caritas on my doormat informing me that someone had made an inquiry about me.

I must have stared at it for 10 minutes before the words sunk in. I couldn't believe it, it was a genuine shock.

I contacted the agency and was told my birth mother and a younger (half) sister wanted to get in touch. Over the course of several months letters and emails were exchanged between myself, the social worker dealing with my case and my new found relatives, who I discovered live in Australia.

For the first time in my life I was given access to my adoption records but most of the information in there was already known to me so there were no big shocks. In fact reading the description of my birth mother's character and personality was like reading about myself.

I will be honest, it has been an emotional journey but I am now in regular contact with my birth mother and sister and hopefully one day we will be able to meet.

Sadly, my birth mother has felt a lot of regret and guilt about giving up her child and the bitterness I feel towards those who did not make sure that letter was passed on to her will never go away.

But at least I have been able to tell her personally that she did the right thing.

Borne out of her guilt, my birth mother was prepared for me to snub her, but that would have been just too cruel and simply not in my nature.

Discovering my new found family has given me a lovely feeling of comfort that there is someone at the other side of the world who is connected to me and my children.

Getting to know them has been a real joy in my life, and theirs too I hope, and it was not something I could ever have imagined happening.