Genes Reunited Blog
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This week saw the return of ITV1 series Long Lost Family, and the first episode proved to be the emotional rollercoaster reunion we had hoped for. Taking me from a state of sadness and sympathy to one of joy and happiness as the relatives are reunited and I reach for yet another tissue to dry the stream of tears running down my face.
This week we met Mark, an ex-rugby player seeking the biological mother he has never met, and Stella, a woman seeking the daughter she was forced to give up when she was 18 months old.
Mark knows that his mother’s name is Fabia Charlotte White and that she grew up in Islington. She already had another son, Simon and her parents would not allow her to keep another, particularly because she had split from her fiancé, Mark’s father, when she found he had been unfaithful.
Mark’s own searches for his mother have been unsuccessful and so Nicky Campbell sets out to help him. To start with they aren’t having much luck, but then they find a marriage record which you can see here on Genes Reunited.
The Long Lost Family Team discover that Mark’s mother now live in France and contact her to see if she is willing to meet them. The team visit Fabia in France to hear her side of the story. Fabia was forced to give Mark up when he was 6 months old and her mother thought it best to cut all ties with him, forcing her to send every photo she had of Mark with him when he was adopted. A year later, Fabia had married and tried to get Mark back, but was not allowed. She has thought about him every day and is overjoyed that Mark wants to meet her. She has carried a lot of guilt for almost 40 years and is very nervous of their reunion.
Next we meet Stella who had to give up her daughter Maxine in the 1960’s. Stella had courted a friend of her brothers for over 2 years when she discovered she was pregnant. Her boyfriend, John, suffered from dystrophy and did not feel he would be a suitable father. Stella worked to keep Maxine despite the issues faced by single mothers in the 60s. She worked two jobs but her mother became ill and Stella was needed to look after her father and two younger brothers. Suffering from exhaustion, her GP advised her to look into adoption and she made the selfless and heart wrenching decision that she could not provide for Maxine in the way that she deserved. When Maxine was 18 months old Stella dropped her off at nursery and waved goodbye knowing she would not be going back to collect her, and that adoptive parents would be taking her home.
Stella went on to get married and have 2 other daughters, but has never forgotten Maxine and is desperate to find her. Nicky Campbell tracks down Maxine who is thrilled to learn that her mother has been looking for her. She has been trying to find her mother since her adoptive father died and cannot wait to meet her.
The day of the reunions arrives and Fabia is visibly nervous and apprehensive. When she plucks up the courage to approach Mark they embrace for a long time. Fabia keeps apologising, saying she is "so sorry", emphasising the guilt she has been carrying around for all these year. Mark assures her she has nothing to be sorry for, he has had a wonderful life and upbringing and he feels that his life is now complete.
Stella and Maxine have a very similar reunion. Stella and Maxine are overjoyed at finally meeting, Stella telling Maxine that she is lovely and has been thought of every day since she was adopted. Maxine also meets Stella’s other daughters, her half-sisters, and it is a wonderful occasion to witness. Although it is being filmed it feels natural, not at all cliché or like we, the viewer, are intruding.
If you missed the first episode of Long Lost Family you can watch it online here.
Don’t miss the next episode of Long Lost Family this week on Thursday 19th April at 9pm on ITV1.