FOUNDLINGS - ABANDONED
|FOUNDLINGS | Shirley Stocks was abandoned at birth
in this phone box|
Abandoned at birth... find out how
one child left in a phone box tried to track down the mother who discarded
her in a phone box in County Durham.
Imagine being abandoned in the street as a baby by your
own mother. It's a terrible way to come into this
world, but for many abandoned newborn babies, it's a stark reality.
Shirley Stocks is a 'foundling' - she was abandoned as
a baby in a phone box in Darlington more than 50 years ago.
Despite massive publicity at the time, her mother never
came forward. It's something that has haunted Shirley
for her whole life. Now she's trying to track down the mother who left
Abandoned in a phone box
Shirley Stocks is a 51 year old grandmother, but part
of her identity is missing. The only records of her early life are a few
|Shirley Stocks wants to know the answers to many questions about her
After Shirley was abandoned as a child, she was transferred
to Greenbank Maternity Hospital in Darlington.
After that, she was taken into foster care, and was later adopted.
Shirley always knew she was an adopted child, but it
was only after a routine medical check six years ago that she discovered
that there were no records of her parents.
The search for her real mum began in earnest.
Where are you mum?
For Shirley Stocks, tracing the mother who discarded
her opens up deep wounds. It's an emotional journey that will take her
back to the telephone box where she was left as a baby - the
only clue to a 50 year mystery.
DNA tests help to establish the identity of Shirley's real mum?|
"It's strange. I still get this picture of her putting
me there and sort of sneaking away into the early hours of the morning,"
Shirley has tried to trace her mum by sticking posters
in the area where she was left all those years ago.
Her hopes were raised when a woman called Lynn came forward,
suggesting that they might be half sisters.
Both women decided to undertake a DNA test to establish
beyond doubt whether they could have shared the same mum. Although Lynn's
mother is now dead, Shirley is very hopeful that the test might solve
"If it's negative, I'm back to square one. It's been
a long and emotional journey," says Shirley.
Shirley isn't alone. About 60 babies are abandoned by
their mums every year in the UK, and the figures are rising.
Many mothers are never traced, leaving their offspring
with no name, no parents and no knowledge of their parents.
So why do so many mothers feel unable to cope with their
newly born babies?
|Why do mothers abandon their babies?|
Reasons why mothers abandon their babies at birth include:
fear of rejection from a boyfriend or husband
- feelings of denial - common in adolescent mothers.
Very young mums are often terrified of telling
their own parents
- lack of money and support
- fear of being unable to cope
- post-natal depression
Some psychiatrists believe that young mothers can become
overwhelmed by the presence of something that they denied for nine months.
When the baby is born, the distressed mother can lose
contact with reality for a brief period of time, and may abandon her child.
Shirley isn't angry with her real mum for what abandoning
her. despite the heartache it's caused her.
"I've never felt angry, that's the strange part
of it," says Shirley.
"I just get this gut feeling that she was a very
"She must have been going through quite a lot of
different emotions when she did it."
Help to find the mystery mum ...
Do you remember Brinkburn Road in Darlington where Shirley
Stocks was abandoned in 1951?
Perhaps you can remember a pregnant woman who lived in
the area who might have given up her child? Could it have been Shirley?
Maybe you are Shirley's real mum, and you'd like to meet
If you think you may have information which could help
to trace Shirley Stocks' mother, email Inside Out using the form below.
Watch out for updates on the DNA results and the search for Shirley's
mum on the Inside Out website.