Monday, 31 October 2011

I Never Knew My Mother

This is National Adoption Week, as an adopted person it means something to me. I was adopted as a baby by what would be considered today as an old couple. I have never tried to find my birth parents for several reasons. I had quite a strict upbringing and those of you who know me well may find some of the following revelations amusing. There was no alcohol allowed in the house and it was Bible class on Saturday mornings and then Sunday School and evening service at the Baptist Chapel. Yes I have made up for lost time!!

My adopted Father was a gentle quiet man who had survived the first world war. He hardly ever spoke about it. My adopted Mother was very much in control of the house. Very strict about many things. Made me into a liar sometimes when I wanted to stay with friends. I was never allowed to have anyone to stay. They did the best they could in the only way they knew how.

There was a time when I considered finding my birth parents, but because of my job I decided against it. Did not want my life story dragged through the press. I have been on the register of adopted children for a very long time and no one has tried to find me.

I used to do a lot of performance poetry and the one I wrote about adoption was requested on Poetry Please on Radio 4. They asked me to record it and it was ultimately used on the CD that the BBC released to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Poetry Please.

I will leave you with the poem. Know that I have no regrets, my back ground made me strong and I live a very happy life. I have no relatives at all but am richly blessed with wonderful loving friends. Not to mention you lovely people on Twitter who make me laugh so much and cry with joy when you do those kind amazing things you do. I may not have relatives but as that wonderful boy  Harry Moseley used to say I love my Twitfam. XXX

If you want to know more about how you can give a home and a wonderful love filled life to a child please go to



I discovered your name
I found it written in real ink
on a paper as old as me
permanently creased by time
and the need for secrecy.
My birthright.
I knew of you from nursery stories
but only in the abstract
with Cinderella and Red Riding Hood.
What they thought I needed to know
just enough for my own good.
Occasionally I would weave a
fantasy of imagined beginnings
in rebellion to my actual situation.
But if the truth be told
I had no real need of you.
We have one day in common
do you think of me then?
As a burning loss or a skeleton
which history promised would
remain securely locked in a past life.
Should I search for you
while there is still time?
Perhaps you are no longer alive
should I have felt your passing?
Have I you to thank for my grey hair
or was it him whose name wasn't written there?
Is there any history of breast cancer?
The medical questionnaire laid the truth bare.
I do not know.
Did you ever hold me to your breast.
or did THEY think it best
you should have no sight of me?
Barbaric days, thank God they're gone
when neighbour's condemnations
and unreal expectations
were considered more important
than the lives they tore apart.
I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.
I don't think you had a choice
a single pregnant women had no voice
in those hypocritical times
when men were free
and free women were sluts,
second hand goods
with a baby badge of shape.
I don't know if we'll ever meet
for now it is enough I know your name.

Wincey Willis



  1. Another excellent blog Dame Wincey. Keep up the good work.


  2. I just love this and means loads to me !! I can't put in to words !! If my Star gets as far as you I will be a very happy Dad just means loads thank you xXx

  3. Beautiful poem, Wincey. Great blog, all round. x

  4. Lovely poem Wincey.

  5. A poignant and pertinent blog for National Adoption Week. Everyone who reads it will be moved, I'm sure.

  6. Very moving Wincey .I am sure many adopted people will relate to what you have shared .well done .xx

  7. From the heart, deep and true. Makes me sad I will never have a son. You have such a loyal bunch of friends who care so much. Beautifully written, as always. xxx

  8. Moved indeed. A wonderful example that adoption can produce beautiful, caring people :-)

  9. How wonderfully moving Wincey. Thank you for sharing those personal thoughts. I'm glad to be part of your twitfam :) xxx

  10. Great post, Wincey - and that poems gets better every time I read it.

  11. A very moving poem Wincey. I am privileged beyond my dues to be a member of your twitfam, and more so to be considered your friend. Have a lovely week. Q. x

  12. Dawn pendlington2 November 2011 at 18:08

    A moving and poignant poem that says so much about it's topic in so few words .

  13. Very thoughtful Wincey so glad those days you speak about to well are now behind us, and Mothers can keep their children without recriminations

  14. What a very moving poem, I have tears in my eyes. I didn't know you had a blog but will be reading it now.

  15. A very moving poem.


  16. Beautiful poem wincey. X and loudly heartfelt blog. X

  17. An amazing poem and an interesting blog. I know exactly how you feel as I am in the same position having been adopted as a baby myself in 1972. We are part of a very exclusive gang!

  18. Wincey xxxxxxxxxx I'm crying because this is beautiful and you have hit quite a few nerves.

  19. I'm adopted and was always told my birth parents had been killed in a car crash.When I had kids I decided to find out who my birth parents were, only to find out they were alive.Only birth mums name was on my birth certificate.I traced, and met her and it was a real problem to be fair.To started turning up in the town where I was born...following me,calling herself Nanny to my kids and would not talk at all about my birth father or adoption etc, and then got my phone number and started calling at my parents home.In the end I had to cut all contact but felt very guilty about it. I did keep in brief contact on/off years later and then decided to push for my birth dads details. he seemed fine at first, I even moved near him but that was a mistake as he turned out to be a real waste of space and him and his family caused me and my children a lot of trouble and we had to move into a refuge due to them. The whole thing was madness and I think I only really wanted to find him due to the fact that I had always had a very difficult relationship with my adoptive father. Both my birth parents couldnt understand why I would not refer to them as mum and dad. They couldnt grasp that I see my adoptive family as my FAMILY, even though my upbringing was far from perfect. I watch these family tracing programmes on TV where adopted people trace their birth family and its all really lovely to see BUT not all endings are happy ;) I didnt want another parent, I just wanted answers and to know who I was. I've rambled on sorry LOL.

  20. I didnt have the best upbringing and was always told my birth parents had been killed in a car crash.When I became a mum I decided to find out who my birth parents were,only to find out they hadnt been killed at all.This got me curious and I traced my birth mother.It was strange to me because she became very full on and started turning up unannounced at my home town looking for me, then would call herself nanny to my son and got hold of my parents number and would call me there. It all became REALLY awkward and I had to cease contact.I kept in touch briefly over the years eventually tho she would never talk about adoption, me, my birth father.....anything really...just the weather etc. Eventually I got her to pass on a letter to my birth father.( this took 20 yrs to achieve) He got in touch and things with him were very good to be fair, to the point where he helped find a house nearer him. I think I rushed into that being that I had a very difficult relationship with my adoptive dad ( mum died when I was in my early 20's)

    He was being a "Dad" to me which I felt I hadnt really had. Anyway, cutting a long story short almost as soon as I moved there he became a totally different person and started turning up drunk all the time, his whole family, apart from his one daughter, were the same and then they started telling people I was lying about my whole life and hadnt really been adopted but was bought up locally by my birth mum, then they started harassing my children.Another thing with my birth parents, neither of them...esp birth father, could not grasp the fact I referred to my adoptive parents as Mum and Dad. Birth mother wasnt too bad with it but as soon as I moved near my birth dad he couldnt handle it at all and couldnt grasp the idea that I still saw my adoptive family.

    Cutting a LOT out we ended up having to move into a womens safe house to get away from them. I do love watching the programme thats on TV at the moment where Nicky Campbell helps adoptive people find their birth parents but it does also kind of make me feel sad that my birth parents didnt turn out to be regular people I could form some kind of NICE relationship with. I would always warn people now to be very cautious when tracing birth family, I know how wrong it can go. Though I do realize my birth family were the extreme and few would be like that....I HOPE lol.

    An old school friend of mine is adopted and she has never had any desire to trace her birth family. Maybe I had a need to trace mine because unlike my friend, I didnt have a great upbringing and always felt like the black sheep...I dunno. That being said, I have never NOT seen my adoptive family as *family* They are and always will be. I have great brothers and a sister who I get on well with and I get on with dad really well now too.

    Bit lengthy and personal that.... Hmmm x

  21. You are a true wonderful person and anyone would be proud to have you as a daughter. Your poem is fantastic and your story insperational. Although I had my parents childhood was not nice but it made me stronger and wise enough to know that way was not right. Love Yvonne