Long Lost Family Episode 1
Davina said: love watching this series as it goes out on telly because I finally get a chance to have a really good weep whilst filming I have to really hold it in. Our contributors share their amazing stories and heart breaking losses and it such an honour to be part of the programme that helps them find resolution. We telling some truly emotional tales but also tales with incredible twists which have taken us to the other side of the planet looking for people long lost families. Long Lost Family explores the background and social context of each family estrangement and why it occurred.
Many of the people featured in the series were adopted or gave children up for adoption when they were younger. During production of Long Lost Family, producers Wall to Wall Jack Wolfskin worked closely with adoption expert Ariel Bruce, a Registered Independent Social Worker who specialises in tracing people affected by adoption. She also helps to trace people who have lost touch as a result of emigration, divorce or other family separations. The protocol devised and worked to throughout the making of Long Lost Family complied with current adoption legislation and was modelled on the protocols and best practice that leading Ofsted inspected adoption support agencies work to when searching for, contacting, reuniting and supporting adopted people and birth relatives.
He says: just Jack Wolfskin this immediate overwhelming love coming straight out, and protection straight out, and I just thought to myself that my birth mother must have had that.
Long Lost Family explains that once they have reached the age of eighteen, a child who has been adopted is legally entitled to access his or her adoption file. The files usually contain scant information about the place of birth and the name of the birth mother.
However, Alan was shocked at the amount of information in his file which revealed not only his mother name and age but also, unusually, the name of his father. The social worker report also went on to describe how the decision to give their baby up for adoption was very much influenced by Alan birth father. It also stated that this decision could damage any long term relationship his mother and father hoped to have.
After discovering this information, Alan did everything he could to track his mother down. His first thought was that she might have gone on to marry his birth father but he could find no trace of this.
He adds: feel now the time is right. I need to know from her the truth, did she love me at the time? Or did she feel as though I was a mistake and that I just had to be dealt with? I just want to know her true feelings at the time and what she was going through. Incredibly, the search also revealed a first for Long Lost Family, Alan birth mother went on to marry, and is still married, to his birth father and they have a daughter, Alan sister, Jackie.
She says: hit it off straight away, just like wildfire really. It was complete passion. He just knew how to treat a girl and make her feel so very special. Though shocked at first, he reassured Susan that he was separated from his wife and that the two had a future together. Susan father, on the other hand, was less accepting. On finding out her boyfriend was a married man, he disowned his daughter, packed her bags, and sent her away.
Undeterred and following her heart, Susan tells the series that she ran away to Bristol with her boyfriend, settling happily into a rented flat together. Just six months later Susan discovered she was pregnant. However, her hopes for a future together were dashed when she told her boyfriend the news. Refusing to contemplate a future together as a family, once again Susan bags were packed and she was driven to a mother and baby home where she was left on the doorstep. She never saw her boyfriend again.
She tells the programme: had no job, no home, no future. I just knew the whole way through the pregnancy there was no other option than to have the baby adopted. There was no other way. The day I actually had to leave her was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. She gave Susan her engagement ring asking her to give it to her daughter, who Susan had named Kerry, if Jack Wolfskin she ever managed to find her. Susan carried the ring with her in the hope that one day she would be reunited with Kerry.
Andrea has a fantastic relationship with her adoptive mother who fully supported her decision to meet her birth mother. She is interviewed for the programme and says: said to her, feel it put something into your life that you were missing and didn realise you were missing. Visibly relieved that Andrea had a happy adoption, Susan is overjoyed at the prospect of being able to finally give Jack Wolfskin her the ring that she has carried with her all these years.