With a milestone birthday coming up soon and my plans to look at my DNA profile, I decided to revisit my adoption files. I got these many years ago so there were no shocks for me but it is odd how you react differently to the information as you go through your own life and times. Today I am going to talk about my birth father who I would actually love to track down although I don’t really know where to start.
My father was called John and he was born in 1947 in Wexford in Ireland. He was 5 feet and 10 inches with brown eyes and a fair skin. His father was a farmer but John came over to London and lived in Forest Gate E7. He worked in the building trade. My adoptive mum told me he was a plasterer. She would emphasize that this was very skilled job and I should respect him for that. It appears my father came from a large family with 4 brothers and 5 sisters. He was Roman Catholic. For many years I thought he was Protestant and that it was religious difference that had led to the difficulty in him and my mother staying together. I think this came from my adoptive mum trying to second guess why they could not be together as she had the impression from the nuns that they had loved one another. The adoption papers confirm they had known each other for 2 and a half years and already had a baby the year before who was also adopted apparently in Ireland.
It is clear that my birth parents considered marriage. My mother was quite a bit older than my natural father in her late twenties whilst he was just 20 at the time of my birth. It seems my maternal grandparents disapproved of them marrying due to my natural father’s lack of security. Inevitably, that angers me a bit.
There is reference in the adoption papers to my father’s jealous nature and occasional violence against my birth mother. I think it is hard to make a judgement on this as it is clear that by the time my mother was being interviewed, she was keen to distance herself from him and also to prevent him from saying no to the adoption.
What is lovely for me to know is that John wanted to keep me. That is so clear from both the adoption file and the actual letters written by my birth mother at the time that are included in the files. He came to see me in the hospital. This means so very much to someone who has struggled to feel good enough in life.
In the aftermath of my birth, social workers attempted to find him without success to establish his views before releasing me for adoption at all.
Whatever the calibre of the man, it breaks my heart a little that a man who at the very young age of 20 was prepared to take me on, marry my mother and get a flat for them may be somewhere wondering where I am and what happened to me. I would of course love to find him and suspect he probably went back to Ireland at some point. I have no wish to disrupt a new family or to upset him but maybe I would upset him more by not trying to find him.
It strikes me in wider terms how often we assume the father is of less importance than the mother. We think men can be unfeeling in such circumstances. I am heartened that is seems very clear that my birth father did love me even if it is quite possible that he only saw me on one occasion
Adopted adults can have support in tracking down birth relatives via the NORCAP register.
So dear reader, should I try and track him down before it is too late?