The fifth season of British television adoption reunion series Long Lost Family included this heartbreaker: a woman who gave up her first-born daughter twice, in order for her to have a better life.Scotland, 1960: Christine Gillard was 16, her father dead, her mother working away, she lived with her 80-year old grandmother in a tenement so small you could walk from one side to the other in four paces. Christine became pregnant. For two years, the two women tried to raise active toddler Marguerite, in this one cramped room. “It was going wrong and I couldn’t put it right,” Christine tells Long Lost Family. “I had a big decision to make, I didn’t want her to go into a home, abandoned, with no hope for the future.” The solution was for Social Services to place Marguerite with a long-term foster family. “I had asked for help and I got it, I thought ‘they’ve got my baby’.”
Christine’s life went on, she married and had four more children. But it was not a good marriage. Six years after she had last seen Marguerite, Social Services contacted Christine to say her foster mother had died, and that Christine could have Marguerite back. “I didn’t know what to make of it, but I was very excited. I was going to see my baby again.” Marguerite visited for the weekend, at the end of which Christine made the heart-breaking decision that Marguerite should stay with her foster father, who clearly loved her and was taking good care of her. Christine explains to Long Lost Family: “Sometimes you just have to do things for love, whether it’s a decision that hurts, and that was real hurt. I never saw her again.”
Christine lived with that pain for 50 years. “I missed her all my life. She needs to know she was wanted up till the last minute, and every minute since.”
Christine’s own search for Marguerite had met with a brick wall, partly because Marguerite was now called Margo. The programme traces her to Northern Ireland, and explains the circumstances when she was given up for adoption. Margo says “Oh she really did try. It must have been awful, to give up a child for whatever reason. It must have broke her heart… It took a good woman to do that, someone with a heart of gold.”To watch Christine and Margo’s full story told by Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall [above] on Long Lost Family, series 5 episode 2, click here for You Tube.
Read a news story from The Mirror and see old photographs of Christine and Marguerite’s story, click here.
For helpful ‘adoption search’ resources, suggested by the team behind the Long Lost Family programme, click here.
For information about appearing on Long Lost Family, click here.
To read a fictional story involving adoption, click here to watch the book trailer for my novel Ignoring Gravity.
‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now
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