A woman who says she was wracked with guilt for decades after her newborn was discovered in a dustbin has been reunited with her daughter after 46 years.
Angie Smith (70) and her daughter Michelle Rooney (46) were reunited following a long search by the woman who the media dubbed the ‘Dustbin Baby’ in November 1968.
“We were strangers, yet she was my flesh and blood,” Angie told The Irish Daily Mirror.
“As we hugged I felt an immediate bond. For so long I’d worried about her and if my actions had caused her lasting damage. Now I could see her beautiful, smiling face and all those worries fell away,” she said.
Angie was 23 and divorced with two sons when she fell pregnant with Michelle in 1968, following a brief relationship with milk man John Good. Angie gave birth to Michelle in her parent’s freezing back garden in North London and was left in a laundry bag in the bins in a lobby of nearby flats.
Although the desperate mother thought she was leaving the baby in a place where she would easily be found, Michelle was taken out with the bins and was found 24 hours later when somebody heard her cries.
Angie said her difficult relationship with her parents was behind her desperate actions following Michelle’s birth.
“I had a difficult relationship with my mother. She made it clear after my disastrous marriage that if I did anything else to bring shame on the family she would have me declared as an unfit mother and would take my sons away from me.
“I felt it was a choice between two sons I knew and loved and a baby I hadn’t gotten to know and I hoped someone else could adopt and love,” she said.
The woman said the media portrayed her in a terrible light, painting her actions evil and deliberate.
“It looked as if I’d deliberately left her to be put out with the rubbish. There was no way I could come forward without my parents finding out. I cried many tears, but had to keep this huge secret and carry on as if nothing had happened,” said Angie speaking to The Mirror.
After she was discovered Michelle was adopted by policeman Les Fuller and his wife Daphne and revealed she has lead a very happy life and is now a mum herself.
“I always felt sympathy for the woman who left me, knowing she must have been desperate,” Michelle said.
“I was the lucky one as I’d been adopted by a wonderful family. I knew my birth mum would most likely be guilt-ridden and traumatised.
Michelle has been searching for her birth parents for more than five years, and located her father John Good before he died of cancer at age 84.
Angie’s son Reg finally spotted Michelle’s appeals to find her birth family in the media, and got in touch, allowing for the reunion.
“As I looked at the photo and saw a kindly, elderly lady with thick curly hair, she seemed familiar. There was no doubt that this was my birth mother,” said Michelle.
“I’ll always be know as Dustbin Baby but I know Angie never wanted to throw me away.”