Reunited: Couple track down son they gave up for adoption 50 years ago

Croydon Guardian: Carol and Ken Driscoll after being reuinted with son Dave Carol and Ken Driscoll after being reuinted with son Dave

A couple who gave up their baby son for adoption have been reunited with him after tracking him down five decades later.

Carol and Ken Driscoll, of Addiscombe, came face-to-face with Dave Jones - now aged 49 - for the first time since he was just six weeks old after spending months searching and years in the dark about his fate.

Tomorrow Mr Jones, himself now a dad-of-four, will meet for the first time the brothers and sisters he never knew existed until last year.

The incredible story began in 1965 when Carol, then aged 19, fell pregnant with teenage sweetheart Ken's child.

The couple were too young to legally marry without parental blessing and were pressured to give up the baby to avoid a scandal.

Mrs Driscoll, now aged 69, said: "My mother made me have him adopted because in those days unmarried mothers weren't the done thing. Your parents were ashamed of you.

"I was sent as far away as possible so no one would know me. It was horrible."

She gave birth in a home for unmarried mothers in Streatham, supported in secret by her future husband, now 68.

They named the baby Kevin Mark, which Dave's adoptive parents later kept for his middle names.

After Carol and Ken refused to split up, her parents offered them an ultimatum.

She said: "If we agreed to have the baby adopted they said they would set us up to start a family when it was time, and we could start again.

So that's what we had to do, because you didn't get homes from the council and neither of us had any money.

"And then as soon as the baby was adopted, I was supposed to start again and forget I ever had the baby. But it didn't work like that."

The couple, Kingscote Road, went on to have four more sons and two daughters, all now aged between 32 and 44. 

But they never stopped thinking of Kevin Mark, who had been adopted by a family in Liverpool and grew up an only child named Dave.

Mrs Driscoll, who for years has posted birthday messages to her son on a website for long-lost friends and family, said: "Of course, we never forgot him. I have spent nearly 50 years feeling miserable and just wondering what happened to him.

"We had no contact at all until last year, when we decided we had better try to find him because he was getting on for 50, we weren't getting any younger and he had no idea his birth parents were married and he had all these brothers and sisters."

Croydon Council helped the couple find Dave's birth certificate and the charity Action for Children supplied them with his adoption records.

The couple recruited an intermediary - a legal requirement for contacting adopted children - to follow-up potential leads.

In October, after eight months of searching and dead ends, Mrs Driscoll received an email from Dave's wife Jo.

Within hours, she was talking to her son for the first time, and within weeks, he caught a train to London to meet his parents.

Croydon Guardian:

Dave shows mum Carol pictures of her newfound grandchildren 

Mrs Driscoll, a retired civil servant, said: "It was absolutely amazing. We were sitting in Costa waiting for him and he just walks in like it's the most natural thing in the world, saying 'Hello mum, hello dad.'

"And he is like a double of my husband. I just sat there staring at him. It was as though the 49 years hadn't happened."

Mr Jones, who still lives in Liverpool, said: "The first phone call with Mum and Dad was a bit daunting, as was the first meeting when I went down to meet them in London.

"It was nerve-racking, scary, a bit weird but ultimately such a wonderful experience.

"We're now catching up on what we've been up to over the last 49 years. It's really nice to be part of such a loving family."

The accountant, whose adoptive parents are both now dead, added: "I always knew I was adopted but chose not to track my birth parents down for a couple of reasons.

"I didn't want to hurt my adopted parents who loved me very much and I didn't want to be hurt myself if neither were still alive or had wanted to bury the past.

"I don't feel any resentment for being adopted. In those days it was difficult having a child out of wedlock and Carol had a difficult relationship with her mum. They were forced to give me up.

"It's exciting to get a new family and I am just made up for them that they managed to find me."

Mr Jones's wife and children will join him in Croydon to meet the rest of the family this week.

But the reunited parents and son have already learned they have much in common.

Mr Jones shares the same favourite author with Mr Driscoll, an engineer, and a passion for darts and geology with his birth mum.

Mrs Driscoll said: "His parents have brought him, but it is like who he is was in his genes. We all just absolutely full of joy about what has happened. We are so happy."


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