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This woman thought she had found her birth mother's family, but it wasn't what it seemed

“I was so happy those days, I was thinking ‘This is definitely right, this is my family’.”

Image: TV/Flawless Films

GERALDINE MCCARTHY WAITED three decades to begin the search for her birth mother, and within a couple of years she had been reunited with people who appeared to be her blood relatives.

However, despite all the pieces falling into place, it was a false lead.

She was born in 1958 at the Castlepollard mother-and-baby home, and was adopted after six months.

Adoption Stories

Geraldine’s story is explored in the third episode of TV3′s Adoption Stories, due to air tonight.

In the early 1990s, when she finally had the time and resources to search for her mother, she submitted a Freedom of Information request for her file from the mother-and-baby home.

The response received contained three vital pieces of information – her mother’s name, Margaret, who was from Mitchelstown in Cork, and was 22 when Geraldine was given up for adoption.

“My adoptive mother had told me at one stage what she thought the surname was, so at least now I had a first name and a surname and an age to go by,” Geraldine told TV3.

“She told me to write to the Adoption Authority and look for my birth certificate because my mother was dead.”

They said, that in order for them to give me birth certification, I must provide them with my mother’s death certificate. How in the name of God could I provide them with the death certificate when I didn’t even know who my mother was? How utterly ridiculous.

Geraldine persevered. She placed an ad in a local Cork paper in an attempt to track down any potential relatives – and she had some success.

A family got in touch, and while unfortunately the woman believed to be Geraldine’s mother had passed away, she was able to speak to her siblings.

“They spoke a lot about her, and told me a story, and they said my turning up had made sense of her life for them,” she explained. She wanted to double-check, and arranged for a DNA test to be carried out.

I was so happy those days, I was thinking ‘This is definitely right, this is my family’. This is my family! It was such an awesome feeling.

However, the results revealed that she was not related. The documentary explores how this coincidence could have happened.

Source: TV3 Ireland/YouTube

The Government’s Commission on Investigation into the mother-and-baby homes inquiry has started examining the experience of vulnerable mothers and children resident in mother-and-baby-homes during the period 1922-1998.

The Commission recently launched its own website www.mbhcoi.ie, Minister for Children James Reilly explained recently.

As indicated on the website, the Commission would like to hear directly from persons with information about matters within its terms of reference. I am also aware that the Commission intends to conduct a national advertising campaign to notify members of the public who may wish to engage with its investigations.

The third episode of Adoption Stories airs this tonight at 8.30pm on TV3.

Screaming rooms and Banished Babies: The sad history of where I was born >

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Nicky Ryan

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