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Philippa

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/celebs/itv-long-lost-family-nicky-21089366

ITV Long Lost Family: Nicky Campbell’s painful past and how birth mum's 'inspiring' act gave him peace

The Long Lost Family presenter has battled a 'fear of rejection' after he was adopted as a baby

Nicky Campbell, 60, hosts Long Lost Family on ITV where he reunites distant relatives but his own story of loss and reunion is just as tear jerking as those on the show.  Nicky was born in 1961 to Stella Lackey, a Protestant from Dublin, and father Joseph, an Irish Republican from Belfast.  As an unmarried woman, Stella travelled from Ireland to Edinburgh to put Nicky up for adoption and escape the shame associated with being a single mother in the 1960s.  Four days after Nicky was born, he was adopted by Frank and Sheila Campbell from Scotland, where he then grew up.  Although Nicky received Christmas cards from his biological mother for the first five years of his life, he did not decide to track his parents down until he was in his 20s.  Nicky was 29 when he first met his birth mother in a hotel in Dublin. Nicky described feeling “no emotional connection” when he met her.  “Stella wanted to make up for lost time. But my time hadn’t been lost. I had my story my truth,” Nicky said.

In his memoir One of the Family, Nicky explored the challenges of being an adopted child.  Nicky revealed that coming to terms with being adopted was like living a “lie” and gave him a “fragile” sense of identity. These difficulties eventually led to a devastating breakdown.  Although Nicky has always had a close connection to his adoptive parents, he described there being a “lifelong whisper inside me: she didn’t want you, she gave you away”.

Nicky’s adoptive father Frank passed away in 1996. Nicky never admitted to Frank that he had searched for and found his biological mother.  “I felt like a traitor and didn’t speak to them about it because I wanted to protect them. But I was a coward and couldn’t say it,” Nicky said.

In 2008, 17 years after Nicky and his biological mother first met, Stella died. Nicky admitted that he was “sad but not sad enough”. 

When Nicky’s adoptive mother Sheila died in 2019, he tweeted: “I am so lucky and proud to have had her as my mum and we will miss her more than we can ever express. She was my adoptive mum. She was my real mum.”

'Guardian angel'

In 2011, Nicky started presenting Long Lost Family. This experience forced him to confront his own experiences as a birth son.  Memories of his own adoption story started to take a toll on his mental health.  Nicky was referred to a psychiatrist and diagnosed as clinically depressed and bipolar type two.  ella, Nicky’s birth mother, had also lived with bipolar disorder for all her adult years.  Nicky’s role as a presenter on Long Lost Family marked a turning point in his own adoption journey.  With the support of his dog Maxwell, who Nicky considers his “guardian angel”, Nicky was able to open the many letters he’d received from Stella but never opened.  After spending two hours going through the letters, Nicky discovered his mother had told “the people who matter” about Nicky’s existence and the fact she had put him up for adoption all those years ago.  Knowing his birth mother had the courage to tell people about her secret child was inspiring for Nicky, and he was able to make peace with his past.  Today, Nicky is an ambassador for Adoption UK and he has helped dozens of families reunite on Long Lost Family with co-host Davina McCall.  Although working on the popular TV show can bring up difficult memories for Nicky, the popularity of Long Lost Family shows the importance of family connection.  Nicky now enjoys his own family life with his wife, journalist and radio DJ Tina Ritchie, and their four children.  “It may have taken a while and been a bumpy ride, but I have reached the point where I recognise my birth mother and my birth father for what and who they are.  I am part of them and they are part of me.”
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 01:07:46 PM by Philippa »

In Gods Hands

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I haven't watched Long Lost Family for a few years now as it stigmatizes women by refering to them as birth mothers.  It's bad enough that the perspective of mothers as single, poor, too young, unable to look after their babies and and / or didn't want to raise their babies.  The reality is so many had their babies taken against their will but society doesn't want to know the truth as it's too painful to accept.  It's far easier to belief they wanted to give their babies away than believe that these mothers weren't given a chance.