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Mother and baby homes

  • 26-10-2018 7:44pm
    Registered Users Posts: 34

    I‘m not sure which forum I should post this in so administrators feel free to move it to a more appropriate forum if necessary.

    Recently at my grandmother‘s funeral, I was approached by a man who told me that my grandmother was his mother and she had him in a mother and baby home. Both of my parents died years ago so I can’t ask them about it and it is not something that I would broach with my aunts and uncles. The man told me that he came to see my grandmother four years ago and was sent away. The discussion didn’t last long as it took place in a graveyard surrounded by relatives. I was wondering if anyone had any tips. Is there any way I could research this myself? For some reason I found this man a bit disingenuous and I‘m not sure if I believe him. Thanks in advance.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 942 ✭✭✭Ghekko

    I'd tell your aunts/uncles and let them decide if they want to pursue it. Did he give you any details - name, birth name, age? It would be easy enough to locate a birth Cert if you had an approximate date of birth and the name your grandmother would have given him. You could look through the books in the GRO and look up his birth - his surname would match that of your grandmother's maiden name. It's a bit strange that he would single you out at the funeral and divulge such a sensitive piece of information given the day that was in it. Did he leave a contact number?

  • Registered Users Posts: 34 GemmaLouise

    Thank you for your reply. He spoke to me and my sister and we are 2 of only 4 grandchildren that my grandmother had so that’s why he spoke to us. My uncle and aunt (there is only 2 alive) are very difficult and odd and honestly so old fashioned that I can’t see it bringing them any good. My uncle is aware of his existence as he lived with my grandmother until her death and the man told me that when he called to the house to see my grandmother he spoke to my uncle also. I did not speak to my uncle about it as he is very upset about my grandmother‘s death and he is a very quiet and unapproachable man. I am 100% sure that he would shut down the conversation immediately. (He is very odd) Yes, we did get a contact number. He introduced himself using my grandmother‘s maiden name alright. I feel very strange about the whole situation and am not sure if I should investigate any further as I feel in a way that I am going behind my grandmother‘s back.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 942 ✭✭✭Ghekko

    Understandable so that you don't want to involve your aunt/uncle. It's hard to know how to proceed. My own husband traced his birth mother and thankfully it has worked out. I'd say your grandmother hadn't told many people in her life. It must have been very difficult for her.
    I assume he was adopted?? If so his name would have changed when adopted so it's odd that he would have introduced himself using his birth name . Did he say what he was hoping for at this point? I'd leave the dust to settle until after the months mind and see if your uncle would be approachable after that to ask him about the previous contact he and your grandmother had with this man. Any chance he'd have recognised him at the funeral? It's tough on this man that he hasn't been accepted into the family and maybe he just wants to make a connection. But if you have any doubts as to whether he is genuine or not you could always suggest doing an ancestry DNA test or similar to find out for sure if he's your uncle.

  • Registered Users Posts: 34 GemmaLouise

    Thanks for your reply. The man said that he was fostered and I didn’t ask him any further about that. He also said that he didn’t know who his father was. I suppose the main thing that is troubling me is how my grandmother would feel if we (my siblings and I) were to investigate this. If she did give birth to this man and if it is the truth, she clearly didn‘t want us to know about it. I feel strongly that she would be very upset about it. I am angry at this man for approaching us at the funeral. My brother and sister are adamant about making contact with this man. I feel that my granny would be turning in her grave if she knew we were digging into a secret that she kept buried for more than seventy years. I know that it probably sounds mean but I feel a fierce loyalty towards my granny. I would like to know what others think about this ethically and morally? I feel so torn about it and I can’t stop thinking about it.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 942 ✭✭✭Ghekko

    My thinking on the subject is that the man, if genuine, has a right to know his origins. Being fostered was possibly even harder as he had no security of having legal parents and could have been out on his own at 18. Whatever his story I'd feel he has a right to know where he came from and more importantly any medical history.

    Needless to say you cannot help him with answers about his birth father but he may match to paternal relatives if he does a DNA test as suggested above.

    As regards being disloyal to your grandmother I don't go along with this notion. The deceased are gone and whatever secrets they had (or thought they had managed to keep) can't necessarily be buried with them. This man exists. He is not a secret and he shouldn't have to hide himself away. I can't see that he will disappear into the background if he had the courage to go to the funeral and be seen, so it may be best to make contact - or let your siblings do it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 34 GemmaLouise

    Thanks for your insight. Maybe it is too soon after her death for me to be able to think this way. I don’t believe I will ever agree that once someone is dead others have the right to expose their secrets. However I do understand where you are coming from that this man is a person, not something to be hidden away. I think I just need more time to think about it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 34 GemmaLouise

    On another note, my feelings about this man‘s ‚rights‘ are divided. I am sure he had a difficult upbringing, but he did find out who he birth mother was and she turned him away (if this whole story is true) That was her decision as his birth mother. She had a ‚right‘ to do that. Do his rights trump hers just because she is dead? This is all stream of consciousness for me.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 942 ✭✭✭Ghekko

    I suppose she exercised her right to turn him away and it would seem he stayed away until now. But maybe there are other family members who would accept him into their lives and be delighted to meet him, and that is their right. I'd give it another while and see how you feel in a month or so. It would be up to your siblings if they want to make contact with him in the meantime and find out a bit more about him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 63 ✭✭purelike

    Ghekko wrote: »
    My thinking on the subject is that the man, if genuine, has a right to know his origins.

    I second this. Let’s assume he is genuine. Relinquished people have this desire to know where they come from. He didn’t decide to be given away. I’m guessing the man is in the second half of his life. It probably took all the man’s courage to speak to you on that day. I’m sure he would be happy to talk to you again. With a few questions you could quickly figure out the man. Also, you may not be the one to fill him in or whatever, someone else in your family might.

    Best wishes!