Adoption is a wonderful resource that has given thousands of children worldwide a fighting chance. However, the process also creates a lot of emotional baggage. There are times when a parent doesn’t want to give up their child or when a child ends up feeling betrayed or like something is missing. Fortunately for Timothy, that isn’t always the case.
Although he had a very happy childhood, he did sometimes wonder about his biological family. When something happened that changed the entire course of his life, he chose to pursue the search for his biological mom.
Put up for Adoption
At just 6 weeks old, Timothy was separated from his birth mother, June Mary Phelps, and put up for adoption. June was just 18 at the time and Timothy believed she was the victim of forced adoption. “June didn’t really have a choice, particularly if she wanted to keep working. How would she support me without having a job?” He explained. It turns out that there are many cases where forced adoptions occur, but we’ll get back to that later as it plays a crucial role in Timothy’s adoption.
Curious about His Roots
Timothy was adopted by Bill and Eunice, who’d always wanted a child. Timothy shared, “My adoptive parents always said to me ‘you were special – you came to us in a different way’. They couldn’t have their own children, so they started the adoption process and when they were 36, they adopted me.” He had a happy and content life and chose not to act on his occasional curiosity. “As an adoptive child you always think about researching your birth family, but whether or not you act on it is another matter. A lot of it goes back to identity as a person over the years. I wondered who I was, certain personality traits that were different from my adoptive family.”
When Bill passed away in 2018, and Eunice in 2020 Timothy was facing a range of new emotions. “When my adoptive parents died, it makes you feel differently about the world and yourself.” Timothy said, sharing that he met with a therapist who assured him, his feelings weren’t uncommon. “I think that’s really what it was about for me. It gives you a permission to think – OK what now for myself?”
Following His Curiosity
However, it wasn’t until 2 more years went by that Timothy set out on his quest to find June. Early 2022, Timothy was going through some old photos and found a picture, with his birthplace written on the back. He was born in Yateley Haven, Hampshire and noticed they had a private Facebook group for mothers and the children who’d been born there. “I requested to join the group and the moderator Penny Green replied and asked me about my story. As an enthusiastic amateur historian, she was very interested and offered to help me trace my birth parents.” He explained.
According to Penny, many young mothers applied to give birth there, then were often forced to put their babies up for adoption. Penny said, “The theory was back then that they were doing all these unmarried mums a favor because it was not the done thing to be an unmarried mother,” further explaining that her mother had also been sent there but refused to give Penny up.
The Haven was opened in 1945 and remained so until 1970. In that time, it’s estimated that 1,800 babies had been born. According to Penny, “One mum made a toy for her baby to have when they were taken, but as she wasn’t told when they were taken, she never got to give it to them. Some of the mothers were so traumatized they had hidden away and were so scared of bringing up the past.”
Meeting a New Family
Penny suggested Timothy apply for a copy of his original birth certificate as it would have essential information such as his birth mother’s full name and the official date of his birth. Penny then used her resources to track down June, discovering that she’s currently married to a Michael Mortimer. She reached out to him on Timothy’s behalf and the family coordinated a meeting.
The teacher from London would soon be taught a few new things about life. He had two brothers on his mom’s side. Chris and Greg, who’d help make the arrangements for Timothy to meet June. Around 58 years after his adoption, Timothy met his mother on September 19, 2022.
Adoption Leads to Happily Ever After
He said of the meeting, “It was the first time I was able to see myself in my mother’s eyes. It was emotional but at the same time it felt natural. We spoke about a variety of things but the part I enjoyed the most was just looking at her and taking in the person that she is.” Continuing, “My mother was 17 when she was pregnant and just 18 when she gave birth to me. She had another baby boy a year or so earlier when she was 16, who was put up for adoption and she has not seen since.” He also shared, “My father’s name was Hedayat Mamagan Zardy, an Iranian Muslim. They had a fleeting romance and loved dancing on nights out in Oxford.”
Now that Timothy has delved into his family history, he’s in the early stages of locating his father and older brother. In the meantime, “I shall be visiting my mother and look forward to getting to know her as time goes on.” he said. Moreover, he’s excited to get to know his brothers and their families too. “Now, I’ve got brothers, so it is interesting to have this extra layer and it’s exciting to me. They are both wonderful men – kind, thoughtful and reflective,” Timothy expressed. “An extra bonus for me was meeting Chris’s partner, Amanda, and Greg’s partner, Gemma, and some of their children who are all lovely.”
Keep Reading: ‘I just cried holding her’: Couple welcomes baby girl after 5-year adoption journey