Plymouth woman finds child she didn't know she lost 38 years ago
September 18, 2009 / plymouth.co.uk
A WOMAN has finally traced the long-lost daughter she says was taken from her at birth and adopted 38 years ago.
Maureen Mottram, aged 59, said it was "a miracle" to be in contact with the child she thought she would never find.
The Plymouth grandmother says she lost all memory of her traumatic pregnancy and its aftermath which saw her being sent to, and escaping from, Moorhaven asylum when she was just 20 years old. She started searching for the child after the shocking memories began to surface during alternative therapy for depression, she said.
Having placed an appeal for information in The Herald, she was contacted by a local adoption agency which found her daughter and put the pair in touch.
She has received a letter from her forgotten child – who still lives in the South West and has children of her own.
The pair are corresponding by post, but Maureen says she hopes they will meet in the future when her daughter is ready.
Maureen, who lives with husband Phil in Kings Tamerton, said: "I'm so excited I've found her and I've got a lovely letter that I'll treasure all my life. I read it all the time.
"I didn't think I'd ever find her. Thirty-eight years is a very, very long time. I didn't expect this. It's a miracle.
"I've just wanted to tell her what I've been through.
"The adoption wasn't my idea and I wanted her to know that.
"I think I will meet her, I really do."
Maureen said her daughter, who was named Anna Marie at birth but whose name has changed, has asked to remain anonymous at this time.
Her letter explains that her adoptive parents gave her "a good start in life", she enjoyed her school years and is now married with children.
It reads: "It was a big surprise to find out that you have been trying to contact me after so many years.
"I found out I was adopted when I was 10 or 11 but it made no difference to the way I felt growing up.
"I'm keeping this letter brief to protect my family and I don't feel any anger towards you. I have a lovely life and family and at present I would like to keep in contact via letter."
Maureen has written to her daughter and sent her newspaper clippings of her many fundraising challenges.
Known as 'Supergran' to many in the city, she has raised more than £31,000 for Plymouth charities through a variety of events, including running the Plymouth Half Marathon and walking the Great Wall of China.
Brought up in a Catholic family, Maureen said she became pregnant by her then- boyfriend, who abandoned her when he found out about the child.
"I was sent away to live with friends during my pregnancy so people my mother knew didn't find out I was pregnant," Maureen said.
She said that when she gave birth, at Freedom Fields Hospital on June 16, 1971, she had an epileptic attack.
"The baby was taken away from me and I never got to hold her, or even see her," said Maureen.
"After being discharged from Freedom Fields I was sent to Moorhaven mental hospital. The diagnosis was severe neurotic depression."
She said she remembers signing some papers in the Ivybridge asylum, which she now realises must have related to the adoption, but believes she was unaware of what they were at the time.
Maureen has described how, a month after being admitted, she managed to escape with help from friends.
After her mother Mary Brimble died at the age of 89 in January this year, the child's birth certificate – registering the name Anne Marie Brimble – and letters referring to her adoption were found.
It was after this that she began her search and contacted The Herald.
She said she couldn't believe her child's existence had been hidden for so long, but hoped this was a happy ending to their story.
Nick Goodwin, deputy director of Families For Children, the agency which put mother and daughter in touch, said: "As an agency we have provided an intermediary service through which they have been able to establish the beginnings of contact."