An 81-year-old woman was thrilled to discover that her 103-year-old birth mother is still alive after she’d spent 61-years trying to find her.
Eileen Macken, first started trying to find her biological mother when she was 19, but was beginning to lose all hope of finding her after searching for more than six decades.
But with the help of a genealogist, who offered to assist when she opened up about her story on a radio show last year, Mrs Macken was able to track down her elderly parent earlier this month.
“I can’t believe it, when I got the word that she was alive, all I want to do is to meet her” Mrs Macken told RTE Radio One’s Joe Duffy’s Liveline following the discovery.
“The doctors couldn’t understand ‘why don’t you know this, why don’t you know that.’ I got a bit upset once and I said, ‘Because I’m an orphan, I know nothing, absolutely nothing’,” she said.
“I think I am Ireland’s oldest orphan” says 80-year-old Eileen Macken. Born in the Bethany Home and moved to Kirwan House at 2. Given someone else’s birth cert at 16 and lived under that identity for 60 years. Found out, after DNA, the family she thought was hers was not. #Shame pic.twitter.com/ZInfqvaYMe
— Stay With Me Exhibition (@mynamesisbridge) June 30, 2018
Mrs Macken had wanted to find her blood relatives because she felt lonely and also wanted to know her medical history so she could identify any potential problems for her two daughters.
She phoned back into the radio show last week to reveal she had found her birth mum after taking a DNA test.
“I’d love to go and scream it from a mountain, ‘I’m not an orphan anymore!’” she told the radio host.
The 61-year-old who grew up in an orphanage in Dublin hasn’t yet met her mother but has spoken to her on the phone and is hoping to make the trip “across the water”, when she recovers from a recent eye operation.
“I spoke to her on the phone but she couldn’t hear me,” she said. “She’s a bit like myself, I’ve only one good ear. “She kept saying, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you.
“All I want is to see her.”
Mrs Macken also found out she had two half-brothers who were still alive and were in their 70s.
Speaking about how the years of searching had affected her, Mrs Macken continued: “The sadness that goes with being alone, even to this day, different things would set me off, I’d say, ‘if only I had a brother, if only I had a sister’, I think it’s just within you that you have no blood relatives. But I have now.”
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