Names are changed to protect client identity. This story may upset you.
I was put into foster care when I was about 3 years old. Mum visited me very, very occasionally. I stayed in care until I was 16. I never saw Mum again. She also never signed me over to be adopted. She would not quite let me go either.
I decided to find Mum when I got into my early 50’s. I chose Nicola to help me. I’m glad she really prepared me because it was tough and upsetting sometimes. A true rollercoaster.
Nicola rang me one day to tell me that although she had not found Mum yet, she had found a younger Brother. A Brother that had stayed with Mum and not been sent away like me. I didn’t even know about him, Mum had hidden the pregnancy and my Brother. And that explains why I never really saw her.
Nicola insisted that I have some counselling and got someone local to me to ring me. She said she would carry on looking for Mum and get in touch with my Brother but she needed me to be looked after by the counsellor while she did that. I wanted to push on with contact but Nicola made me hang back and get sorted first. I just had to trust her and I am glad I did.
Nicola sent me a letter that my younger brother had sent to her. (she was a ‘go-between’ for the letters for a good while). My Brother knew about me but had been hiding a horrible fear, he suspected that I or both of us had come from an incestual relationship, and he was too scared to find me or do anything about it. Another child caught up in this mess. He had Mums contact number, although they were not at all close and had a very strained relationship.
At this point, I am so grateful that I already have a counsellor. Nicola stayed in touch and supported me but she needed me to have someone I could speak to privately outside of this search. Someone I could be really open with in confidence. My heart hurt so much now in case something horrible had happened to my Mum, I wondered if it hurt her to look at me. Was she abused? Did I remind her of something bad? Why was I sent away and not my Brother?
I wasn’t ready to speak to Mum yet, I needed to get my head in a better place, but I did meet my Brother. Once I had met him a few times, we decided it was time to approach Mum. We took things quite slowly but if we were going too fast Nicola would put the brakes on
My Brother rang my Mum and told her that I was in touch with him. The response was very stony. She clearly had an issue with me or the way I had come into the world. Everything felt bad then.
So now I had a little Brother and still no Mum. I liked him but I resented him too. We started counselling together then. Turned out he had lots of issues too and that Mum was just not maternal full stop. Really, really slowly we got through all this stuff. Horrible painful stuff.
It took well over a year before we came out of the other side of the worst. By then we were really close and had worked hard to get there. We decided to try Mum again, we were both stronger. We spoke to Nicola again ( she never really left us through all this and would still stay in touch). We decided that Nicola would write to Mum. So it was neutral. I can’t remember now what she put but it was about not judging her for the past. We promised not to ask her about who my Dad was.
Mum responded, she agreed to meet me and my Brother.
It wasn’t like on TV. There was no bond or hugs and kisses. It was awkward, but now I knew there was a painful reason behind this it didn’t affect me. I just felt sorry for her. I had worked hard to get close to my Brother and I was happy to do it again with Mum.
Although I still see Mum maybe once a month, and things are easier between us, it was my Brother I was really close too.
He passed away very unexpectedly 4 years after Nicola reunited us. I never would have had that time with it if I hadn’t wanted to find Mum. Even though it was hard and tough in the beginning, it was worth it to have him with me for 4 years. Perhaps if he hadn’t been alive, Mum would never have agreed to meet me. He was like the bridge to Mum. I miss him.
My relationship with Mum will always be a work in progress. I still do not know who my Dad was. I would still encourage people to search, but just please listen to Nicola when she asks you to get counselling. You have to trust her, she just ‘knows’.