Hazel's story

I was adopted when I was six weeks old in 1958. My dad told me they chose me because of my blond curls and blue eyes! I had a lovely upbringing and had every opportunity going. My adoptive parents have always been my mum and dad and they always will be. However I always felt there was something missing. As I became an adult I felt a real urge to trace my birth family and find out more about my background. I first started searching in 1991, using numerous search agencies to help me. I received a phone call in 1999 to say my birth mother had been found and contacted. I can’t describe the feeling when I first received a letter from my birth mother, Kathleen. The letter was polite and informative telling me about my two sisters which was a real shock. However it was clear my birth mother, whilst happy to hear I was doing well, did not want to make further contact. I felt very upset and quite depressed about it for many years. 

Then in 2012 I decided I felt strong enough to resume my search. With the help and support from After Adoption, contact was made with both my birth mother and with my two sisters. This time it was different and my birth family wanted to stay in touch. We exchanged hand written letters and emails, telling each other about our lives. I discovered that the reason my birth mother had not wanted to meet years earlier was because she was caring for her very sick husband and did not want to create more upset within the family. After a few months of exchanging letters I met with my mother and two sisters in May 2012. I was so nervous before meeting them, wondering what they would be like. My daughter and I talked about it so much beforehand: “what will they look like, what will their house be like, will they drink coffee, what will they eat, will we have wine?” It sounds crazy but preparing to meet with them was so emotional and I was so worried we would have nothing in common. However when I opened the car door outside their house, my sister ran down the path, gave me a big hug and asked me what I’d like to drink! It was such a relief. When my daughter and I were inside everything felt normal. They ate the same food and talked about the same things. It was funny because everyone thought I looked more like my birth mother than my sisters. Someone also said that they knew I was one of them because of my curly hair! 

The time since we met in 2012 has flown by and it feels amazing. Both my sisters have young children and so I have had a whole new family of nieces and nephews to get to know. We have spent time learning about each other and getting together last Christmas was wonderful. I didn’t know what to call my birth mum at first but have settled on ‘nanny’ because that’s what the kids call her! I wondered at first how I would fit in, as it was clear my two sisters were very close and their two families spend so much time together. However I have been welcomed with open arms and I’m favourite aunty amongst the children! 

I’m pleased to say I no longer feel depressed about who I am. There is a lot to look forward to with so many family events I will be part of. I’ve found the missing pieces in my life which has brought not only joy but a sense of peace too.

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