Adopted woman who couldn’t find her birth parents after GP facilitated illegal adoptions with falsified birth certificates finally tracks down her family after 11 YEARS thanks to a DIY DNA kit
- Margaret Norton and husband Bob spent years searching for her birth parents
- She had the same surname as her adopted parents on her birth certificate
- Adoption was arranged by Dr Irene Creedon exposed in 2013 for taking in scores of babies from vulnerable mothers across the nation over at least two decades
- Found biological parents and learned of birth at a Louth hospital using Ancestry
An Irish woman who was illegally adopted and spent 11 years struggling to track down her biological parents due to inaccuracies on her birth certificate has revealed how a genealogy website finally helped them to reconnect.
Margaret Norton and her husband Bob scoured Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, in search of her birth mother and father with little else to go on but the fact her arrival had been registered by Dr Irene Creedon’s surgery at 31 O’Neill Street.
In January 2013, the Irish Mail on Sunday revealed Dr Irene Creedon arranged scores of illicit and illegal adoptions after taking in babies from vulnerable mothers across the nation over at least two decades.
Dr Creedon gave their place of birth as her surgery and then allowed adoptive parents to register the babies as their own biological children. Her family confirmed that the late GP arranged secret adoptions but insisted she was a ‘heroine’ whose only desire was to help others. However, by going outside State services and allowing couples to falsely register babies, she was knowingly breaking the law and made it very difficult for people adopted in this way to discover who their birth parents really are.
Margaret told how she ‘naively’ thought the surname Browne on her birth certificate was accurate, despite it being the same as her adoptive parents, because it is common. But the longer her search went on, the more it became clear that there was no supporting documentation for her adoption and she began to suspect the document was incorrect, especially when a round of media interviews failed to help her find her biological family.
Margaret Norton has told how a genealogy website helped to find her biological family after discovering inaccuracies on her birth certificate. Pictured: Margaret with a photo of herself as a child
Margaret told how she ‘naively’ thought the surname Browne on her birth certificate was accurate, despite it being the same as her adoptive parents, because it is common
After 11 years of searching, she and Bob had an unexpected breakthrough while watching a TV documentary about a New York detective in 2019.
Margaret told Irish magazine Evoke: ‘He used to train recruits to find missing people. He would give them some paperwork about a man and ask recruits to go and find the person.
‘None of them were able to do it. The person they were looking for was the detective himself, but they didn’t know that.’
The detective had been adopted in Ireland, using a birth certificate made out in his adopted parents’ name. Despite the difficulties of the situation, he was able to identify a close relative and finally find his birth parents by using a DNA kit.
Recognising the similarities, Margaret decided to use his method and paid €100 for a DNA test through the genealogy website, Ancestry.com in May 2019.
Margaret (pictured) and her husband Bob had failed to find her biological parents using media interviews and were inspired to try a DNA test after watching a TV documentary
Margaret (pictured) was connected with a cousin who helped her to finally find her birth parents and siblings
She admitted to being anxious as she waited for the results and was mindful that it was possible no information could be found. However, she was matched with a first cousin who was living in Wales when the results arrived after three-and-a-half weeks.
Dr Irene Creedon arranged secret adoptions at her surgery by taking children off vulnerable mothers and allowing adoptive parents to register the children
Her cousin proved helpful and provided a photograph of the woman that was likely to be Margaret’s mother, holding a baby.
She asked her cousin not to mention her search to anyone else before making contact with her biological parents at the end of August last year.
Margaret said: ‘I knew I had to tread very, very lightly and I was very careful during that time.’
They were able to confirm her real identity and told how they had married after she was born and went on to have two other children – Margaret’s siblings.
Margaret was left speechless to learn that she had found her full family, having not considered the possibility of having additional siblings.
She discovered that she had been born at a hospital in Louth and then taken to Dr Creedon’s surgery for adoption. Margaret’s adoptive parents has told her that she was collected from the car park of a Co. Louth hotel three days after she was born in 1972.
Her mother had returned to the surgery years later to ensure that Margaret would be able to receive help if she needed it, however Dr Creedon said that wasn’t possible because she was already with her adopted parents.
Margaret said the pandemic has hindered their reunion, adding: ‘We weren’t able to travel to see them but I’m in regular contact with them once a week. I have more contact with my brother. We text each other more often.’
According to her birth certificate, Margaret was born on March 28, 1972, at 31 O’Neill Street, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan. The address was the site of a doctor’s surgery run by Dr Irene Creedon
Margaret (pictured) who is among at least 151 people with the wrong birth certificates, is sharing her story to help others avoid going through the same experience
Margaret’s adoptive parents – who are now both dead – told her from an early age that she was not their biological child, but Margaret had a happy upbringing with her older sister in Blanchardstown, north west Dublin.
She had very little reason to question the circumstances of her adoption, having been simply told that she was born in 1972, and adopted a few days later.
Margaret is among 151 people so far who have been identified with inaccurate birth certificates, and she is sharing her story to help others avoid the same painful experience in the search for their biological families.
Margaret claimed an increasing number of people came forward to share similar experiences of being given up for adoption, organised by Dr Creedon, as she pursued her investigation.
Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman brought a Bill to Cabinet last week to help adopted people find out more information about their biological families.
Margaret, who believes past children’s ministers have failed to deliver on their promises, is petitioning for true birth certificates to become accessible and registered.
She added: ‘I don’t think other people would be bothered to access my information but it is important that it should be registered there just like anyone else, so I can get government documents.’
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