A woman who was adopted when she was little has been reunited with her birth family after years of searching.
Laura Dean, 32, from Blackpool was taken into care at four months old and adopted at the age of two. Now a mum-of-four, Laura almost gave up her search – which had gone on for 16 years – but decided to have one last shot.
Taking to Facebook, she appealed to friends to help find her birth mum, Jennifer Wilson, 51. The very next day, her aunt – Jennifer’s sister – got in touch and within a week the family were reunited.
For the first time, Laura met her younger brother and sister, Stephen Hughes, 29, and Amy Shaw, 23, who she never knew existed – and they live just an hour away.
Laura, who works as a NHS primary care assistant, said: “When I got the response from someone in the group chat I couldn’t believe it. It was so surreal.
“I had been searching for 16 years, and after all of that everything I was looking for was just an hour drive away.”
“In the space of a week I went from having no biological family at all, to a whole family tree of relatives desperate to meet me.
“It turns out my family had been looking for me just as much as I was looking for them, and at times I felt like it was a lost cause.
“I couldn’t be happier now that I have found them, and my kids are so excited about having a big family to grow up around.”
Jennifer added: “When I saw Laura for the first time as an adult I was nervous, excited, scared and overjoyed all at the same time. I have always loved her and I always will.”
Laura – who was called Danielle Wilson when she was born in Blackburn – was taken into care at four months. Jennifer was 18 at the time, and in an abusive relationship.
Now, Laura is on the hunt for her older sister Emma Jane Boardman, born in November 1986, who was also taken into care.
Emma was adopted by a different family before Laura, but she was only a baby when they were separated so she has no recollection of where she may have gone.
“All we need now is to find my sister Emma, and I’m hoping this story will help reach out to her and encourage her to get in contact with us,” she said.
“If anyone knows anything about Emma or has any information of where she may be, please let us know as we are desperate to be a complete family again and have an amazing future together.”
Laura was told she was adopted at four years old just before she started school, but she didn’t know the full details as to why until she was 13.
Her adopted mum, Christine Pankhurst, wanted to wait until she was 18, but Laura figured it out for herself after finding adoption papers.
And at 16, Laura started looking for her biological family after discovering the names of her biological parents while going through files.
Laura describes the moment she met her birth family as “life changing”.
“As an adopted child I never felt like I fit in, but the minute I met my family I instantly got the feeling that I belonged somewhere,” she said.
“My sister is coming to stay with me for three days next week. We have been non stop talking since the gathering and it has been so nice to have that with a sibling. I have never experienced it before.”
This is such a happy story, we’ve got everything crossed Laura can reunite with Emma, too.