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'It's like looking at myself in drag' - adopted brother and sister reunited after 40 years

Paul recognised Maggie immediately when he met her for the first time.

Image: TV3

PAUL LITTLE WAS 27 when he discovered he was adopted.

He was having difficulty looking for his birth certificate in Joyce House, the office of the civil registration service in Dublin 2, when he rang his mother for advice.

“I said, ‘Is it possible I’m adopted?’ There was pure silence over the phone, and in the silence I just knew.”

Dublin-raised Paul later submitted his details to the National Contact Preference Register, which facilitates contact between adopted people and their birth families.

Years later, on his way to a wedding, he received a call from a social worker who told him he had been matched with a sibling.

Maggie Lyng, who grew up in Meath, was seven years younger than him.

She always knew she was adopted and began looking for information about her birth family once she turned 18.

There was something missing in me. In order to fill that gap, I had to get answers.

Maggie was searching through records in the General Register Office when she discovered she had a brother.

Two weeks later, her social worker rang her with good news: he had been found.


The siblings talk about their reunion on the fifth episode of TV3′s Adoption Stories, due to air tonight.

Paul says he immediately recognised Maggie when they met.

I thought to myself, ‘She’s the image of me – god help her.’ It’s like looking at myself in drag.

Source: TV3

After some 40 years apart, he handed his sister the birthday card he had never been able to give a sibling.

“Your first birthday present from your big brother,” it read.

Source: TV3

Maggie, for her part, gave her brother his original birth certificate, which she had found in the General Register Office.

Together, they then met their birth mother, who had been tracked down by a social worker.

Paul asked her about his birth name, which he only discovered after he met Maggie.

The answer, he says, was comforting.

The morning they told her they were taking me, she had been praying to Our Lady and, when the nun came into her, she said she was bawling crying. When the nun asked her if she had a name for him, she said she was going to call him ‘Aidan Mary’ because Mary will look after him all his life.

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

Read: Just two men have been approved to adopt since 2004 >

Read: How to cope when you fall out with an adult sibling >

About the author:

Catherine Healy

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