Raised to believe that her biological mother had died, one young girl's intuition screamed that this simply wasn't true. Eventually, she chose to find out what really happened.
Phyllis Whitsell was put into an orphanage in Birmingham as a child. The nuns used to tell her that her parents had passed away. However, something deep inside her felt something wrong with this claim.
When she turned five years old, she was adopted by a loving family, and while she cared for them deeply, she still felt as though something was amiss.
Bridget Mary Larkin [left]; Phyllis Whitsell [right]. │Source: twitter.com/MumsnetTowers twitter.com/TheCurrentCBC
A COMPLEX REUNION
Despite all the naysayers, she searched for her biological mother, Bridget Mary Larkin. At only 25 years old in 1981, she went to knock on the door of a home she was told her long-lost mom was residing in. Recollecting, she said:
"It probably wasn't the best time at all. My baby was only eight-weeks-old and I was there, full of hormones. In another way, it was now or never. I knew she was getting older."
Opening the door, Whitsell was utterly taken aback by the person she saw, with matted hair as well as bruises.
MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME
Larkin led an extremely traumatic life and ended up becoming an alcoholic. Due to her ongoing issues with drinking, the daughter chose not to reveal her identity but, as a nurse, became her new caretaker. Speaking about her time spent with her, the daughter said:
"We’d go for fish and chips, or a walk, but I always kept my secret. We had special moments together, although the alcohol made her muddled."
Her biological mother was diagnosed with dementia and spent the last 13 years in a care facility where her daughter would visit her. Larkin passed away at 62 years old, still unaware that the nurse looking after her was her child.
A DARK PAST
Speaking about her feelings towards her mom giving her up, Whitsell claims to hold no grudges. The nurse expressed sympathy for her biological mother's traumatic life, having been abused by her brother when she was younger as one example.
She also asserted that she understands how tough it is to beat addiction. Whitsell also appreciates that she gave her up because she knew she couldn't look after her.
Whitsell has since written a book about "A Song For Bridget" about her biological mother's life, hoping it will be turned into a film one day.
JUST AROUND THE CORNER
While Whitsell's journey to finding her biological mother was arduous, one man found out just how easy it could have been to find his blood-related family if he had just walked down the road.
An adopted Steve Taylor was stunned when he found out later in life that he had most likely rubbed shoulders with one or two of his biological siblings in the hallways of his high school.
Steve had a deep curiosity about his biological family, but the urgency to find them only arose in 1993. Their first kid was born with Pneumothorax, a condition that makes one's lungs cave in, and they needed to know if there was a biological link.
Steve received the shock of his life when he discovered that his mom had lived in the town where he had been residing since he was a child - Lebanon, Ohio. Five of them also grew up in the same area as him.
In fact, for over a decade, his brother Bill was living right down the road. They all chose to reunite, connecting instantly, something Whitsell may have felt with her mom even if she didn't know who she was.
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