Mum left me to die

All I had to go on was my old, faded birth cer­tifi­cate...

Chat - - Content - By Carolyn Jones, 44, from Ne­vada, USA I just want to find my mum and

My mum Roz walked out of the kitchen car­ry­ing a choco­late cake.

‘Happy birth­day to you…’ she and my dad Derek sang to me.

As the glow of the can­dles lit up my face, I closed my eyes and made a wish.

I wish I could meet my real mum, I thought, blow­ing out the 10 can­dles – it was the same wish I made ev­ery year.

Ever since I could re­mem­ber, I’d known Roz and Derek weren’t my real par­ents. They’d told me the truth about my adop­tion.

‘When your real mum had you, you were born very pre­ma­ture,’ Dad said.

I’d been born in Lon­don in March 1973, three months early, weigh­ing just 1lb 3oz.

Back then, hos­pi­tals didn’t have the re­sources to care for pre­ma­ture ba­bies.

Doc­tors told my birth mum it was un­likely I’d sur­vive.

So she’d named me...then walked out of the hos­pi­tal and out of my life for­ever.

Only, I didn’t die as the doc­tors had warned.

And, when the po­lice and So­cial Ser­vices tried to find my mum, she’d dis­ap­peared with­out a trace.

But she’d signed my birth cer­tifi­cate. Her name was Pat Ross and she’d been born in New­cas­tle upon Tyne.

The po­lice vis­ited her Lon­don ad­dress, but it was a squat and no­body there had heard of her.

The case went cold, so I was put up for adop­tion.

‘We couldn’t wait to give you a lov­ing home,’ Dad told me.

And my child­hood was full of happy mem­o­ries.

Aged 7, Dad was trans­ferred to Amer­ica for his job with Bri­tish Air­ways. So we all moved to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia and I set­tled into my new home.

But noth­ing could make me for­get about my birth mum.

Years passed and my mother was in my thoughts as I grew up and when I met Robert, 34 – the man I’d

marry – in 2002. She was al­ways on my mind – never more so than in April 2003 when I had our son At­las. He was my world. And he made me re­alise how hard it must’ve been for my birth mum to walk away from me.

‘I just wish I could let her know I sur­vived,’ I told Robert.

But, other than a faded birth cer­tifi­cate, I had noth­ing to go on.

In sum­mer 2007, I signed up to Face­book. I con­tacted a few ladies called Pat Ross from New­cas­tle – none were my mum.

I was dis­heart­ened... I needed to solve the mys­tery of me. How I came to be be­fore I ended up alone on that hos­pi­tal ward.

Then, in early 2017, I watched a video on­line of some­one search­ing for a long-lost rel­a­tive. I could do that, I thought. So At­las, then 14, filmed me on my phone as I held up flash­cards telling my story.

tell her I’m alive,

one card read.

Within days, the video went vi­ral.

A few peo­ple sug­gested I con­tact Search An­gels, a ge­neal­ogy or­gan­i­sa­tion with ac­cess to DNA data­bases, which helps find rel­a­tives. So I did. Years ago, I’d sent off my DNA sam­ples but hadn’t heard any­thing back. Search An­gels helped me to find the re­sults on­line.

And, af­ter a lot of dig­ging, they found some­one they

be­lieved was my un­cle.

I found his wife on Face­book and sent her a mes­sage.

Does your hus­band have a sis­ter called Pat Ross? I asked her hope­fully.

No, I’m sorry, she replied straight­away. I was gut­ted, felt so de­flated. ‘I re­ally thought we were onto some­thing,’ I sighed to Robert.

And then she sent me another mes­sage.

He had an older sis­ter. Her name was Grace Meers and she fled to Lon­don in the 70s. My heart thumped. Do you know where she is now? I asked. But she’d no idea. Search An­gels agreed Grace Meers must be my mum.

‘She must’ve lied about her name on my birth cer­tifi­cate,’ I told Mum and Dad.

They sup­ported my search and my un­cle agreed to help, too. Over the next weeks, he spoke to other mem­bers of the fam­ily and fil­tered the in­for­ma­tion back to me.

We be­lieved that my birth mum fled from New­cas­tle to a Lon­don squat – aged only 16 – af­ter dis­cov­er­ing that she was preg­nant.

Her fam­ily had no idea about me. But, back then, un­mar­ried preg­nant women were shamed. My heart bled. ‘She was so young, she must’ve been ab­so­lutely pet­ri­fied!’ I cried to Robert.

I car­ried on dig­ging.

Then, this Jan­uary, a friend made a shock­ing dis­cov­ery...

I think your mum might be dead,

she e-mailed.

She’d man­aged to find a death cer­tifi­cate and sent me a copy of it. It was for a Grace Meers. And there, in black and white, were the de­tails.

She’d died in Septem­ber 2003, aged just 47, from kid­ney dis­ease. I was dev­as­tated.

‘Oh, Mum!’ I sobbed – for years I’d longed to meet her, to tell her that I was OK. Now it was too late. I was in­con­solable. Need­ing clo­sure, I started search­ing on­line for the site of her grave.

Even­tu­ally, I learnt her boyfriend had laid her to rest in North­ern Ire­land.

I man­aged to find his sis­ter on Face­book, and sent her

a mes­sage.

Grace had no idea you were still alive,

she told me.

She promised to lay flow­ers for me on Mum’s grave on Mother’s Day.

This year, I hope to travel to the UK to meet some of Mum’s fam­ily in New­cas­tle Upon Tyne. Then I’ll visit her grave. I’ll fi­nally be able to tell her all the things that I’ve wanted to for decades.

That I’m her daugh­ter, and that I sur­vived.

And – most of all – that I for­give her.

She’d fled to a Lon­don squat, aged 16, preg­nant…

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