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Friday 2 June 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# adoption stories
'If I was a scientist I'd invent a time machine, and go visit my birth mother'
Nine years after being adopted by Irish parents, Liwen has settled in well.

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AT NINE YEARS of age, Liwen Flanagan is like any other Irish child. She’s progressed from playschool to primary school, and is now thinking ahead to the future, and what she might like to be when she’s older.

However, her first few weeks of life were drastically different. She was born in China, where she was given up for adoption due to the country’s one-child policy, which has been relaxed in recent months.

Her story is revisited in the third series of TV3′s Adoption Stories, which takes a look back at other stories featured throughout the series and how their lives have progressed.

Liwen was adopted by Angela Martin and Ciaran Flanagan, who live in Stamullen, Co Meath, and joined their three sons – Kyran, Tommy, and Sean.

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“To me, it was like nothing I had ever experienced,” Angela told the programme, but I always wondered would I bond with her because I’d had my experience with birth children.

I just had visions of being handed a stranger’s child, even though we had photographs of her.

“I really thought the day we signed to say that we were accepting her that that was it, but the day we were handed her, it was like being in labour and literally you deliver your baby, and the midwife puts the baby up on your lap and cuts the cord.

“It was exactly the same. You just feel, ‘oh my God, this is one of the best experiences of my entire life’.”

Angela added that every small milestone in Liwen’s life is seen as a bigger achievement “because you just think what a rough start she had”.

Her father Ciaran explained how she settled into the family without an issues, and is becoming a little bit of a character:

She gets up and asks ‘Is ma in work today?’ in her little Dublin accent. I say ‘yeah’, and she asks, ‘Can I have crisps for breakfast?’

This is obvious from speaking to Liwen herself, who says she wants to be either an inventor, a games maker, or nurse:

If I was a scientist or inventor, I wish that I could make a time machine, go back in time and see what my birth mom was like, and how she looked and what her personality was like. I think she would look like me, black hair and nice tan. I think she would be very nice… because I’m nice, and she could be like me.

The new series of Adoption Stories – What Happened Next airs tonight at 8.30pm on TV3.

‘It’s like looking at myself in drag’: Adopted brother and sister reunited after 40 years >

More: This woman thought she had found her birth mother’s family, but it wasn’t what it seemed >

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