Timothy Welch was one of thousands of children given up for adoption at a home for mothers and babies in the UK in the 1960s.
He was only six weeks old when he was separated from his biological mother, June Marie Phelps, who was 18 at the time.
Timothy, a 59-year-old teacher from London, grew up with his adoptive parents Bill and Unique.
“My adoptive parents always told me ‘you were special, you came to us in a different way’.
“She couldn’t have children of her own, so she started the adoption process and adopted me at the age of 36.”
Timothy described his life with his foster parents as “really happy”.And it wasn’t until after the deaths of her adoptive parents that she tried to find her birth mother: Bill in 2018 and Yuneke in 2020.
“As an adopted child you always think about checking up on your birth family, but whether or not to act on it is another matter,” Timothy said.
“A lot of it goes back to identity as a person over the years. I wondered who I was, some personality traits that were different from those of my adopted family.”
“When my adoptive parents died, it made me feel different about the world and myself.”
“A counselor told me that when adoptive parents die, people often become curious again about their heritage, because We’re all looking for a connection.”
“I think that’s what it was for me. It allows you to think: Now what?”
Timothy began his search for his birth mother in January 2022 by going through some old family photos.
“I found a picture of my birthplace: Yateley Haven, Hampshire (England),” he explained.
“While searching I found that there were A closed Facebook group for mothers of families and children born there,
“I applied to join the group and the moderator, Penny Green, got back to me and asked for my story.”
“As a keen amateur historian, she was very interested and offered to help me locate my birth parents.”
Penny Green, a former charity worker from Bedfordshire, created a Facebook group for people who had been born in, or had a relationship with, The Haven, an England home for mothers and babies run by a Baptist church after they were born themselves Were.
62 year old woman told Single mothers petitioned to go there to give birth, and their children were given up for adoption, often by force.
“The theory at the time was that they were favoring single mothers, because it was not viewed well to be a single mother,” she said.
According to the Yateley Society, The Haven was open from 1945 to 1970, and About 1,800 children were born there.
Penny’s mother was 36 when she was sent there by her parents because she was single and pregnant.
However, unlike many young mothers, she refused to give up on her daughter. According to Penny, her mother then changed her name and told people she was married, but the child’s father had died in a car accident.
Timothy also believes that his mother was a victim of forced adoption.Due to the fact that he was too young.
“June had no choice, especially if she wanted to continue working. How am I going to survive without a job?”
Penny said that although some mothers at The Haven knew their children were being taken, they were not told when they couldn’t even say goodbye,
“A mother makes a toy for her child when he is taken away, but since she was not told when he was being taken away, she was never able to give it to him.”
“Some the mothers were so traumatized that they went into hiding And they were too afraid to bring up the past.”
Following Penny’s advice, Timothy applied to the General Registrar’s Office for a copy of his original birth certificate, which listed his biological mother’s full name, date and place of birth.
Next, Penny uses voter lists and internet searches to find him.
After Penny made the first contact on his behalf, Timothy found Michael Mortimer, his mother’s current husband.
Timothy provided Mortimer with his email, which he forwarded to Timothy’s brothers and they arranged a day to meet in London.
“They are both wonderful men: kind, caring and thoughtful,” she said.
,I feel very fortunate to have met you at this stage of my life. And I’m really going to enjoy getting to know them and their respective families.”
“A bonus for me was meeting Chris’ partner Amanda and Greg’s partner Gemma and some of their children, who are all lovely.”
On Saturday, September 19, 2022, after a gap of 58 years, Chris and Greg took Timothy to be reunited with his birth mother.
“It was the first time I could see myself in my mother’s eyes”she expressed.
“It was emotional, but also natural.”
“We talk about many things, but What I loved most was to see her and absorb the person that she is,
Timothy explained that despite her health problems, his mom has fond memories of him and eats like an Olympian.
Timothy said that since the meeting, is starting to gather details about his early life,
“My mother was 17 when she got pregnant and 18 when she gave birth to me. She had another child a year or so ago, when she was 16, who was given up for adoption And haven’t seen since,” explained.
“She was the youngest of three children: she had a sister, Audrey, ten years older than her, and a brother, Bill, eight years older. He is still living.”
“My father’s name was Hedayat Mamgan Zardi and he was an Iranian Muslim. They had fleeting romances and liked to dance the night away in Oxford.”
“Efforts to find my biological father and elder brother are at a very preliminary stage.”
Timothy explains that June married in 1966 and had two more children, his brothers, with whom he is now in contact.
Reflecting on his experience finding his family, Timothy said: “You have to keep an open mind and be strong with yourself.”
“I have siblings now, so it’s interesting to have this extra layer and it’s exciting to me.”
“I’m going to visit my mother and I look forward to meeting her as time passes.”