Harry was born in Aberdeen in 1946. He was adopted and raised by a loving family. Harry married, had children of his own and a successful career. Life was good, over the years he often wondered about his birth mother and her story, hoping that she had found happiness too.
In 2003 Harry accessed his Court Process papers, the legal documents lodged with the court at the time of his adoption. The papers revealed the heart breaking story of Christine, Harry’s birth mother, who at the age of just 15 years was sent away from home to have her baby alone in a Mother and Baby unit miles from home and family. Harry met with a member of the Birthlink team, he was able to talk and reflect on “their story”. Harry decided to register on the Adoption Contact Register for Scotland. Sadly, there was no link, no other matching registration. Harry decided to wait and hope….
In 2010, Harry came back to the Birthlink team to explore if there were other options open to him. He shared that his awareness of the ticking clock was prompting him to try to find Christine before it was too late. Harry thought he had found an address for her; he had written a letter but got no response. Birthlink Search team were asked to research the family tree in an attempt to locate Christine or a member of the family who could link us to her. The search was complex and involved hours of work in National Records of Scotland and the National Library of Scotland, poring over historical records and electoral rolls. The search took many twists and turns and after many months a link to Harry’s birth family was made with his second cousin Tom living in Shetland. Tom shared that Christine was alive and well, aged 81, living in Glasgow. She had a daughter in her 50’s. Harry was ecstatic to learn that he had a sister. Harry decided to use Birthlink’s mediation service to write out to Christine again, in the hope that she would feel more confident about responding. In the summer of 2013, Christine called the Birthlink office, she made her feelings clear that she did not welcome this approach and had no wish for contact: “I don’t want to know about this, it would cause far too many problems. I am not well and too old to be bothered. It’s all in the past, I don’t want to know anything, and I plan to burn this letter. After all this time, why now?”
Christine was advised that Birthlink would respect her wishes and not make further contact but if she ever felt that it would be helpful to speak with our team about anything, then she could do this confidentially. Harry was understandably disappointed but tried to empathise and see things from her perspective. He would respect her wishes as the last thing he wanted to do was cause her any further pain. Later that year, Tom and Harry met up they exchanged family news, stories and photographs. Harry was particularly moved to see a photo of Christine, aged just 15…. a friendship was formed and the cousins meet regularly. Christine was unaware of this connection.
…Until 2018, Harry contacted Birthlink again. He reflected on his thoughts and feelings and shared that he felt the need to simply write to Christine, to say what he needed to say; summarise his life. He asked Birthlink to proof read his letter in which he offered an absolute assurance that the letter was a one off and he would not contact her again. The content of the letter was sincere and loving and Harry hoped Christine would find comfort in his words and his story.
…. Until 2019, Harry contacted Birthlink to share the news that he had received a call out the blue from Christine, “a wonderful shock!”. She had invited him to meet with her for a cup of tea at her home. In May 2019, Harry stood nervously outside his birth mother’s door, trying to calm his nerves and consider how it would feel at the age of 75 to eventually meet Christine whop was now in her 90’s. He gently tapped the door, when Christine answered he cheekily said, “I will have grown a bit since you last seen me…..” Christine laughed and the ice was well and truly broken. They spent the afternoon together drinking tea, chatting and laughing….They keep in regular contact and Harry has now met his sister June, they too got on like a house on fire.
Harry wanted to share his story and hopes it will inspire others to believe “it is NEVER too late”. He kept hope in his heart and it paid off….