Last week’s episode of Long Lost Family was probably the most emotional yet. But it doesn’t stop there. This week Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell worked tirelessly to reunite more long-separated families. In episode five we’ll witness two reunions that are healing the pain of the past.
Sheila Thomas and Jacqui Denton
Growing up in London, Sheila was raised in a working household. She left school at age 15 to work as a receptionist and it wasn’t long before she fell madly in love with a married man. She became pregnant and at only 17, she was frightened and unsure of what to do. Unable to ask her boyfriend for help she told her parents everything.
They quickly took charge of the situation and Sheila had to quit her job and leave her boyfriend. She was sent to a mother and baby home and it was there, on Boxing Day 1967, that she gave birth to a baby girl she named Jacqueline. It never dawned on Sheila that her baby would be taken from her. She was distraught when she realized that her precious child would be given up for adoption. She never recovered and despite going on to be happily married, she never had any more children.
Sheila felt unworthy to be a mother and never forgave herself for allowing her baby to be taken without a fight. Now 64, Sheila has longed to give her daughter a hug and know that she is happy. Long Lost Family tracked down Jacqueline, who was overwhelmed to hear that her birth mother was looking for her. Her adoptive parents kept her name and when Jacqui met Sheila, her adoptive mother came too. The meeting has given Sheila the strength to move on and put the pain of the adoption behind her.
Stephen Andrews and Janet Johnson
Stephen was adopted in 1964 by Terrance and Betty Andrews. He found out that he was adopted when he was eight-years-old, but it wasn’t until his teenage years that he questioned why he was given away. Now 49 and married with three children, he longed to answer the questions that have plagued him all these years.
When his adoptive mother died, he decided to face his past and see if he could track down his birth mother. His adoption file raised more painful questions. It stated that his birth parents planned to get married, sparking the question again, why did they give him away?
Long Lost Family tracked down Stephen’s birth mother, Janet. She was overjoyed to hear that he was looking for her. She explained that she was only 15 when she got pregnant and that she was frightened and unsure how she was going to support her baby. She went on to marry Stephen’s father and have two more sons. When Davina met Stephen to tell him she had found his mother, he was shocked to hear that he has two full brothers. Davina reassured him that he was not forgotten and when he meets Janet for the first time, she explained in her own words the circumstances of the adoption. Stephen can finally begin to get over the hurt and shame he has felt all these years.
About Brian Gallagher
Brian is the International Social Media Specialist for Ancestry, working closely with our United Kingdom, Sweden and Australian teams.