One man grieved his son for decades, who was snatched away from him right after birth, never to be seen again -- or at least that's what the father thought.
Andy McNicol from West Midlands in England adores children. He helped his wife Hazel raise her three children, treating them like his own kids.
On top of that, he has another two kids from a previous marriage and has fostered seven children with his current wife.
SOMETHING OR SOMEONE IS MISSING
However, with all the space these kids took up in his heart, there remained a hole in his chest for one redhead baby. He was forced to let go of this newborn without even a goodbye over 40 years ago. McNicol expressed:
"[At the nursery] there was this little wrapped up bundle with a ginger head sticking out at the top and I just cried."
This newborn boy, born in 1970, was and is McNicol's long-lost biological son, who was taken away from him against his wishes.
A BREAKING HEART
The family of the woman he impregnated, then-22-year-old Brenda, banned him from seeing the baby. The two lovers had conceived their child while unmarried, which was looked down upon during that time.
On top of this, McNicol, who was 27 years old at the time, was separated from his previous wife and still not divorced, meaning he could not marry Brenda and resolve the issue.
This led her family to ban him from seeing the baby and Brenda herself. Effectively, he had no communication or say in his son's life. His name was not put on the birth certificate. Instead, the father's space on the birth certificate read as "unknown."
Beyond this, and tragically, the family gave the child up without consulting him. McNicol wasn't even allowed to hold his son before he was taken away.
GRIEF BEYOND EXPLANATION
This adoption completely devastated the father, who never searched for his baby boy. His wife Hazel spoke about how much her husband suffered, recollecting:
"The baby was born in June and I met him in November and he was still very, very raw. He's cried in my arms."
Decades passed until finally, in 2016, they managed to get hold of ITV's "Long Lost Family." The television program's team managed to find his son, John Mundy, who had moved to Australia.
A LONG-AWAITED EMBRACE
The television program managed to bring the two together as John flew in from Australia. When McNicol and his biological son came face to face, the dad immediately hugged his child. Mundy recalled:
"When we finally met, he put his arms around me and said: 'I’ve been wanting to do that for 47 years.'"
Although the two live on different continents, their relationship didn't simply end after their embrace. Now the duo talks on the phone once a week, catching up on all the father-son discussions they may have missed.
FINDING A WAY HOME
In the past, with this different approach to marriage, womanhood, and societal values, John and Brenda were not the only two who had their babies ripped away.
A young and naive Elizabeth was only 22 years old and unmarried when she gave birth to a baby girl in August 1937. However, she was forced to give it up because she had no husband -- a shameful state of affairs during that time.
Placed in an orphanage, Elizabeth's child left at 19 years old, determined to find her mother. Decades passed, and it seemed all hope was lost.
However, she reached out to RTÉ's Liveline, who managed to locate her mom in Scotland. Elizabeth, living in Dublin, made her way to Scotland to surprise her biological mother.
Although anxious, she was met with warm hugs not only from her biological mother but half brothers she didn't know she had. She, like McNicol, managed to find a missing piece of heart -- one they will cherish forever.