Genes Reunited Blog
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Anne Clegg is 48 and a mother of three but she has always wanted to find her birth mother and has been looking for nearly 20 years without success. She was only 6 weeks old when her mother gave her up for adoption to a couple who lived in Essex.
Anne found out she was adopted when she was 11 and her adoptive mother told her that she was born in London but would give her no more information. It was only when Anne was 19 and a mother herself that she started to look for her birth mother. Out of loyalty to her adoptive parents she had delayed her search but when she started to do some research all she found was that her mother was only 16 when she gave birth to her and that her name was Janet Lee. She found out her last known address in North London but there the trail went cold. Anne's one great belief that drove her search is that her birth mother loved her because she had asked her adoptive mum to send photos.
The Long Lost Family team had a difficult challenge as Janet Lee was such a common name. A letter which was found in the adoption file showed that Janet had moved to Southport. The team then checked to see if she had married and found that she had to a Mr Wilkes but again drew a blank until they discovered she had married again to Michael Cullen. This time they were successful, she was still living in Southport and had 3 more daughters.
So the LLF team contact Anne's mum who is delighted to hear that her daughter does not blame her and has tried to find her. She says that Anne's father showed no interest and that she was sent to a Mother and Baby home to complete her pregnancy and have her baby. It was clear that her baby would be put up for adoption but when they took her the authorities only gave her 10 minutes to pack her baby's things and say goodbye which was of course heart breaking. She also said that her mother had taken the picture of baby Anne away from her and would not give it back.
The second story in this episode follows Fiona Dunn who is 59 and lives in Blackburn. Throughout her childhood she had heard rumours that she was adopted but did not know absolutely until she was in her teens. It was then that she discovered that whom she thought was her Mother, Edith, was in fact her aunt and that her father had been Edith's brother, Bill. Fiona was told that her mother was a bit of good time girl and that she was the result of an affair!
When Fiona was 31 she was told a family secret that had been kept from her for over 30 years. Her paternal grandma happened to mention Maureen was coming to tea, and when Fiona asked who Maureen was she was told that Maureen was her sister. They had the same mother and father and whilst Fiona had been given up for adoption she had kept her sister, Maureen.
Fiona was given the opportunity to meet Maureen but suffering jealousy and a deep feeling of rejection she said no. Three months later her grandma died and Fiona saw Maureen at the funeral but decided not to approach her. This was the only time that the two sisters had ever seen each other.
Over the next 30 years a feeling of regret and what if set in and Fiona decided that she would try and find her sister. She had heard rumours that her birth mother had died, so this would not be an easy search. She found that her sister Maureen had got married and this made the search even more difficult as she did not know her new surname. The Long Lost Family team tried to trace a death certificate for Fiona's mother but no evidence of a death could be found so the team explored another avenue and found that her sister had married a Mr Livesey in 1997 in Lancashire. The programme contacted her and she confirmed that she was Fiona's long lost sister living only 10 miles away in Preston. In addition Maureen was able to confirm that their mother was still alive. Maureen was absolutely delighted that Fiona was searching for her and agreed to meet although they decided to delay a meeting with their Mum as it was a very emotional time in her life.
Maureen says that when she was 21 she asked to meet with her sister but was told that sadly Fiona did not want to. However she was able to explain that the reason why Fiona was adopted and not her was because their grandma had ordered that their mother give her up. For some unknown reason she did not repeat the demand when her sister was born.
At the end of the episode Anne meets up with her Mum by the sea in Essex. She tells her Mum that she totally understands why she was adopted and they also discover that many other photos sent to her from Anne's adoptive parents never reached her.
The culmination of the second story sees Fiona meeting up with Maureen. She has already been told that her mother is still alive and she says she will be an emotional wreck for the rest of the day. They meet at a country hotel close to where they both live and this is the first time they have seen each other since the funeral 30 years before. One week later Fiona meets her mum.