Back to My Roots
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 5th May, 2015
Over the Bank Holiday weekend I had to take some enforced leave from general election campaigning to be in Manchester to take part in filming for a TV documentary about my childhood adoption and the recent reunion with my two blood-sisters. The past few months have been an emotional roller-coaster, from the moment my sisters wrote to me out of the blue, after tracking me down 63 years after our mother gave me up for adoption. The adoption itself was not a happy one and I could not forgive my adoptive parents for steadfastly refusing to give me any information about my mother, though they had met her and (as I have learned only recently) for several years she was living with my two sisters within walking distance of the house where I grew up. It was only after David Owen helped change the law in Britain, giving adopted children the right to access their original birth certificate, that I was able to start some detective work on my origins when I returned to London after seven years working in Brussels. I thus discovered my original identity was as Graeme Leslie Morton and that I had an elder sister; the fact that there was another, younger sister born after our mother remarried came as a complete surprise to both of us last year. Anyway, the story of our reunion was picked up by the Manchester Evening News (by a strange coincidence, the first newspaper that published my freelance articles when I was a teenage reporter in the Vietnam War), there was then a three-way Radio Manchester radio interview and now a full-blown TV documentary, filmed by Ricochet Productions, scheduled to be broadcast on BBC1 this summer. There were some emotionally tense moments during filming, not least when we visited our mother’s grave yesterday afternoon — the first “contact” I had had with her since she gave me up from adoption — but in many ways I feel I have achieved a degree of closure of many things that tore me apart as a child. Moreover, whereas I had rejected Manchester comprehensively because of my unhappy childhood I can now cherish my roots and appreciate my home town again. And for anyone who is in a remotely similar position I can testify: it is never too late to find out who you really are.