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My mum was forced to give me up

Reunited with her birth mum, would Angela get her happy ending?

Pam and I have now built a strong relationship
Angela Barra, 45, Brisbane, Qld

Having found out, at the age of five, I was adopted, I grew up unable to shake a feeling. One of rejection. At 20, wanting answers, I contacted an adoption group in the hope of finding my birth mum. Six weeks later, they got back in touch.

My birth mum's name was Pam and the adoption group set up a meeting at her house. A lady with a beaming smile opened the front door. 'I've always loved you,' she cried, throwing her arms around me.

I really wondered if this could be the beginning of a wonderful family fairytale. But it just wasn't that simple. I had so many questions, but she didn't find it easy to talk.

Two years later, my adoptive mother passed away. Consumed by grief, I did something rather drastic. I cut all ties with Pam, truly believing that I was protecting myself from that familiar feeling of abandonment.

I had a happy childhood with my adoptive parents

It wasn't until I saw a documentary about the forced adoption scandal 13 years later that something changed inside.

The program described how thousands of young unmarried mothers in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s had never been given the option of keeping their children.

Feeling shaken, I contacted one of the women featured in the program. 'Reunions are difficult because although you desperately long to meet your child, it also forces you to relive the hell you went through,' she explained.

I realised Pam was a victim too. I had to find her! But she had moved.

My birth family

Finally, two years ago, I found her name on a blog. I wrote in the comments section, just praying she would read it. Two months later, I got a phone call.

Over 20 years had passed and when I opened the door her once brown hair had turned grey. But that beaming smile hadn't changed a bit. 'I went back to the nursery to try to get you, but they told me you'd already been adopted,' Pam told me, weeping.

Today, I'm proud to say Pam and I have built a very strong relationship. Now I even call her 'Mum'.

Our reunion may not have been a fairytale at first, but our future is looking bright.


As told to Keeley Henderson

If you or anyone you know is affected by issues in Angela and Pam's story, contact Origins on (02) 9604 9352 for advice and support.

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