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Sunday 25 August 2019

Woman (82) raised in orphanage meets mother (103) after decades-long search

Emotional: Eileen Macken (82) with her mother Elizabeth, who will turn 104 tomorrow, after over 60 years of searching
Emotional: Eileen Macken (82) with her mother Elizabeth, who will turn 104 tomorrow, after over 60 years of searching
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

A woman who was raised in an orphanage has told of her joy after she was finally reunited with her 103-year-old mother.

Eileen Mackin (82) grew up in Dublin and knew nothing about her birth mother who gave her up for adoption during her childhood. She never gave up hope of meeting her, though, and desperately searched over many decades.

Eileen raised her plight on RTÉ's 'Liveline' show last year.

A genealogist worked to help her track down her family history - but Eileen believed there was little chance her mother was still alive.

After spending decades looking for her, Eileen was stunned to learn that not only was her mother Elizabeth still alive and living in Scotland, but she will celebrate her 104th birthday tomorrow.

"I heard she was alive at 103 and nothing would stop me trying to go and see her," she explained.

Despite having no formal invitation to go and visit her, she decided to "take the bull by the horns" after being given Elizabeth's address and she travelled over last month to Scotland with some family members.

She flew over on April 11 with her daughter, her son-in-law and her husband who were on hand to offer her moral support for such an emotional occasion.

"I knocked on the door and a gentleman opened the door and I told him I was from Ireland and had found out my mum was here and could we come in to see her, and he said, 'Certainly.'

"We came in and, honestly, I haven't got over the acceptance that I got because I was thinking, 'This is terrible, what am I going to do?' But they accepted me and I had a great chat with my mother.

"I know she's my mum and I said it to her, 'You know, I'm your daughter', and she looked up at me and took my hand. We had a great chat. There was such a bond between the two of us, it was fantastic.

"She's such a kind lady and I said to my children, all my life I love this lady and I don't know who she is and that was exactly what I got when I went to her door."

She told listeners to Joe Duffy's 'Liveline' yesterday about the exchange she had with the woman she had waited her entire life to meet.

"When she saw me, I said to her, 'We're from Ireland' and she said, 'I was born in Ireland' and she was thrilled and she never let go of my hand.

"She put her arms around me. I was just so happy and I just wanted to get closure so everybody will know that all their hard work and prayers and kindness were answered."

She said that her mother, who has two other sons in their 70s, was still living in her family home and was as "happy as could be".

She said she spent "three wonderful days" getting to know her mother and after waiting so long to meet her, found it difficult to leave her again.

Irish Independent

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