Facebook Logo Twitter Logo
Joy’s story

Joy was born in Glasgow in 1946. At the age of 40, after raising her own family she acted on the curiosity that had always niggled away at her, she wanted to know about her birth family and the circumstances that resulted in her being adopted. Joy accessed her adoption records. What she discovered was that although paternity had not been legally established/no father recorded on her birth certificate, Joy’s putative birth father and her paternal grandmother had cared for her for the first few months of their life. Joy’s grandmother had legal guardianship and the plan was that she would care for her. Sadly, this was not to be. Joy’s grandmother’s health deteriorated and she was no longer able to care for her. Joy’s birth mother Anne struggled to make the decision about the future care of her child. She finally gave consent to allow Joy to be adopted. Tragically, records indicated that a number of months later, Anne approached the adoption agency to say she had changed her mind. It was too late……

With the information she had from the adoption agency, Joy searched public records in an effort to find out about her birth family. She found an address for her birth mother Anne and with the support of a worker from Birthlink wrote a letter. The only response Birthlink got was a brief call from the woman at the address they had written to stating that she was “not the person” being looked for. Joy was certain that her birth mother was the person who had called. After some soul searching, she made the decision to write directly. She wrote a very warm and sensitive letter, knowing that this may be her only opportunity to say what she needed to. Joy had no expectation of a response. Joy carried on with life, busy with work and family she put thoughts of the letter to the back of her mind. A few months later, Joy was pottering around at home when there was a knock on the door. Joy was absolutely shocked to find her birth mother, Anne with her husband on the door step. She invited them in. Joy felt like a “nervous wreck”, Anne appeared equally nervous. Over a cup of tea Anne relaxed a little and seemed really curious to know more about Joy and her life. They talked for a while and discovered that they both worked in secretarial office based jobs, both shared a loathing for sewing. Anne’s  husband seemed hostile and spoke very authoritatively telling Joy “its nice to see that you have done well for yourself but OUR girls will never know about you….” He made clear his views that Joy was not welcome in the family and that she should not contact them again. The pain of this experience was unimaginable. Joy was heartbroken.

Joy carried on with life but there was always that flicker of hope in her heart: what if…? She knew she had 3 younger sisters who did not know she existed. Joy had been raised as an only child and longed to know more about them. Some 30 years after finding out about her sisters Joy came back to Birthlink. At the age of 70 years, she registered her details on the Adoption Contact Register for Scotland. There was no link which did not surprise Joy. If her sisters did not know she existed then why would they be looking? Joy explored how she might find out more. She was supported to search for information about her sisters at the National Records for Scotland. With the help of a friend she searched the public records for any news of her sisters. She discovered that her birth mother had died in 2007; her husband had died in 1999. This saddened Joy as she had kept hope in her heart that maybe one day her birth mum would get in touch…..Joy focused her search on her sisters and was delighted to learn that they had all married and had families of their own. She checked electoral rolls and was amazed to discover that they all still lived locally. The dilemma was what to do next?…..After some soul searching, Joy decided that she had to try to make contact. Given the traumatic memory of contact with her birth mum, the prospect of further rejection was terrifying. Joy also worried about causing pain and disruption in the lives of her sisters. It was a risk but one that she felt she had to make. The Birthlink worker wrote out to Christine, the eldest of the three sisters, the letter indicated that a member of the family was trying to trace her but did not disclose who this was. Within a day or two, Christine called and was told about Joy. She knew nothing, when she got the letter she was curious, thinking a distant cousin was perhaps trying to make contact. Christine was “shocked and delighted”, she kept repeating, “I have another sister”. When I shared Joy’s story, Christine said, “I wish she had got in touch years ago”, she felt certain her younger sisters Lisa and Jane would feel the same.

They DID!!!

Things moved fairly quickly from this stage. Joy was on holiday in Tenerife when she found out about Christine’s response. She was absolutely over the moon; “I’m not on my own any more”. The sisters wrote to one another, gently getting to know one another, they then talked on the phone before finally meeting (it took a wee while to get all 4 under the one roof as they all had busy lives). There was an instant connection and they talked and laughed with ease, sharing a life time of stories, memories, heartbreaks and achievements. There is a tinge of sadness that their mum could not be part of their union; however, the sisters have forged close relationships in a very short space of time. They meet regularly, celebrating life events and supporting one another through hard times. Wherever they go, there is life and laughter, they all have a twinkle in their eye and love in their hearts. Joy regularly shares photos of them all together with the Birthlink Team and they have earned the title of “the fab four”. They are very special women and Joy is delighted to have a “happy ever after”.