58, says: “I have known since I was eight years old that
I was adopted. My parents sat me down one day and explained
that my birth father had been an American serviceman serving
at an East Anglian airbase. He and my birth mother had been
in a relationship, and she'd fallen pregnant.
Eventually he was sent back to the USA, promising to send
for my mother as soon as he could. But she never heard from
him. In the end, having been left to take care or her siblings
after the death of her own mother, she had been left with
no choice but to have me adopted.”
the news came as a shock, Carol never had any desire to
trace her roots. Her parents were wonderful and she had
a perfect childhood. She was happy to just enjoy life with
the parents she knew and loved.
Carol lost her beloved father at 17, and her mother a few
years later. Although she was old enough by then to take
care of herself, she needed something to help her get through
always loved music, so I threw myself into that. I got a
job in a record shop, which was where I met my husband John.
He came in to buy a trumpet one day, and left with a date
with me a couple of days later! We started seeing each other
regularly, and because John was also into music, we joined
and John married two years later and had a son, Simon. Having
been adopted herself, Carol wanted to give a child the same
chance she'd had, so the couple went on to adopt a little
boy called Bobby.
passed without Carol giving much thought to the news she'd
received as an eight year old, and it wasn't until her lifelong
friend Maureen suggested one day that it might be interesting
to trace her roots that she started to consider it.
my parents had been alive, I hadn't wanted to mention it
in case it upset them, but at that stage there seemed nothing
to stop me. So, we started looking on the microfiche at
York Library. It wasn't long before I found my birth mum's
marriage certificate. This led me to discover that I also
had two half brothers!
said to Maureen all along that I intended to stop looking
if at any point I felt uncomfortable, but this news had
made me determined not to stop until I knew everything!
I was so excited!”
enlisted the help of a professional family finder. They
helped her trace her family, and acted as a neutral contact
for both sides. They soon found Carol's aunt Stella who
lived in Norwich.
told the counsellor that my real mother's name was Sheila
Wood, and that she was still alive and had been living in
Australia since 1955. She said she was sure she would be
thrilled to hear from me and that I should send her some
photos and a letter.”
waited eagerly for a reply, and it wasn't long before an
airmail envelope with an Australian postmark dropped through
the door. Inside was a letter from Sheila with some photographs,
and Carol was amazed to see that her mother looked identical
that was not her only surprise. In her letter, Sheila told
Carol that she too was a singer, as were all her family!
that wasn't enough of a coincidence, Carol found that both
she and her mother had been working as jazz singers, doing
wartime numbers, and both had even chosen to dress in full
forties costume to do this!
soon spoke on the telephone, and instantly we clicked. It
felt as though we'd always known each other and never been
apart. At that moment, I felt that the mystery I'd lived
with all my life had been solved. I'd never wanted for anything
as a child, but I'd always had a sense of being different.
As I spoke to my birth mother, I felt that somehow I fitted.
The jigsaw of my life had been completed.”
and John saved up to visit Sheila and the rest of Carol's
family is Australia. Despite it being an incredibly nerve
wracking experience for her, after only a hour or so, Carol
felt as though she'd been a part of the family for years.
She was thrilled to meet her two brothers, their wives and
her four nieces, all of whom she wasn't even aware of the
existence of only months before!
was a miracle that we found each other and I consider myself
to be an incredibly lucky person. I was raised by amazing
parents, met a wonderful husband, had two great children,
and now I've found a whole new family I never knew about!”
Sheila has helped me fill in the gaps, and I understand
myself so much better now. I can see why I do certain things
and why I like the things I do. I was never unhappy, but
this has given me a whole new sense of self I've never had
now I can finally make some sense of where my great love
for music came from – it's obviously in the blood!”