Timothy Welch used old photos and a Facebook group to track down his mother who birthed him as a teenager.

Human connection and a sense of belonging are important aspects to keeping us healthy. One man from London, England is on a mission to find out more about his family. 

Why a Son Grew Up Without Knowing His Birth Mother

Timothy Welch was 6-weeks-old when he was separated from his birth mother, June Mary Phelps. At the time of Timothy’s birth, 59 years ago, June was only 18-years-old. She didn’t feel capable of raising him while being single at such a young age and gave him up for adoption.

Timothy, now a teacher in London, spent his life with his adopted parents Bill and Eunicé. “They couldn’t have their own children so they started the adoption process and when they were 36 they adopted me,” Timothy said.

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He recalls his life with his new family as “really happy” and never thought of searching for his birth mother. After his adoptive parents passed away in 2018 and 2020, Timothy felt inclined to find out more about his past.

“As an adoptive child you always think about researching your birth family, but whether or not you act on it is another matter,” Timothy said, “A counsellor said to me that after people’s adoptive parents die they often re-open the curiosity about their own heritage because we are all searching for connection. I think that’s really what it was about for me. It gives you a permission to think — OK what now for myself?”

How a Facebook Group Helped One Man Track Down His Mother

Timothy began his search for his birth mother in January 2022 by going through some old photos. It was then that he found a photo of his birthplace — Yateley Haven, Hampshire. When searching the location online, Timothy noticed that there was a private Facebook group for mothers and children who were born there. 

“I requested to join the group and the moderator Penny Green replied and asked me about my story,” Timothy said, “She was very interested and offered to help me trace my birth parents.”

Penny created the group for people who have a link to The Haven, after being born there herself. “The theory was back then that they were doing all these unmarried mums a favour. It was not the done thing to be an unmarried mother,” Penny said. 

Following Penny’s advice, Timothy was able to get a copy of his original birth certificate. This document provided him with his mother’s full name, date and place of birth. After some internet searches, Penny located Timothy’s mother’s current husband Michael Mortimer. 

How One Man Finally Reunited With His Family

Timothy’s email was passed on to his brothers and they arranged a meet up in London. “They are both wonderful men — kind, thoughtful and reflective,” Timothy said, “I feel very fortunate to have met them at this stage of our lives. I’m going to enjoy getting to know them and their respective families very much.”

On Saturday, September 19, 2022, Timothy’s brothers, Chris and Greg, took Timothy to be reunited with his birth mother after 58 years apart. 

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“It was emotional but at the same time it felt natural.” Timothy said, “We spoke about a variety of things but the part I enjoyed the most was just looking at her and taking in the person that she is.”

Since the meeting, Timothy has been able to piece together aspects of his early life. He knows more about his family and where he came from, as well as new details about his birth father. Timothy found a new sense of livelihood with people that mean the most to him.

“I shall be visiting my mother and look forward to getting to know her as time goes on.”