Coventry woman abandoned in hospital as baby reunites with mum after 40

A woman from Coventry shared the heartwarming story of how she reunited with her mother 40 years after being abandoned in a hospital.

Anne Harrison, 64, was left at St Cross Hospital in Rugby when she was just a baby.

Her mother, from Barbados, got pregnant and could not take care of her.

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The toddler was then placed in an orphanage and later a white couple offered to take him in.

Anne soon realized that she was “different” at school because of her skin color and that she was mocked and harassed by her peers.

She told CoventryLive: “It wasn’t until I started going to school that I realized I was different.

“I had different skin and I was mocked and teased and the kids called me bad names.

“My white host families did not treat me any differently from other family members.

“They would tell me to ignore children in school, but within the family I was treated like one of them.”



Anne Harrison’s foster family with her adoptive father (far right) and foster mother (far left) carrying Anne.

When she was nine, Anne’s adoptive parents immigrated to Australia and she moved to a children’s home.

At 14, Anne received the shocking news that she had a younger brother living in a separate children’s home.

She said: “When I was about 12 or 13 years old, the authorities were informed by the police that my mother probably had depression and was in the hospital.

“She told the police that she had a son who lived in Berkshire at the time, and that she also had a daughter, who was me.

“We were both in different children’s homes.

“Fortunately, we are both very close and we see each other regularly.”

At 16, Anne decides to go in search of her mother.

Anne’s mother wrote letters to her but refused to meet her children in person.

One day Anne took a trip to London to see if her mother was at one of the old addresses she was writing from – but she wasn’t there.

Anne decided to focus on her career but continued to search for her mother.

In the same year Anne started working as a Police Cadet for Warwickshire Police and at 17 she left the children’s home to live in accommodation provided by the police.



Anne started working as a police cadet at 18

At 18, Anne worked in the police force.

After three years in the force, she decided to leave to become a social worker starting in Stratford, then moved to Coventry.

Anne didn’t feel out of place because at the time the city was predominantly white and she struggled to find people to identify with.

She said: “When I first came to Coventry I very rarely saw another black person.

“I was so confused as to how to take care of my hair, my skin, were there other people who looked like me.



Anne worked in the police for 3 years

“I was brought up in a white home, my adoptive parents were white.

“The children’s home was predominantly white, being in the police force was predominantly white.

“I was one of the first black police cadets in Warwickshire.”

In her late thirties, with the help of a friend, Anne was finally able to find her mother.

She agreed to meet Anne and they made a date to see each other for the first time.

Anne was “upset” and “emotional” to meet her mother for the first time.

Anne said: “I was a bit overwhelmed.

“It was like looking at a mirror of myself, but it was touching.

“I knew she was crying before we met.

“She still didn’t want to recognize me as her daughter, she kept saying that we were meeting as friends.

“There was still that barrier and it still exists today.”



Anne and her mother first met her son Roy in 1995

Anne has met her mother at least eight times over the years – but it was always from a distance.

She added: “I know very little about her or what she chooses to tell me.

“A little comes out every time we meet.



Anne Harrison now

“These are small steps, but it’s really a distant relationship and I had to accept that it’s as far as it goes.”

Anne and her brother now live in different cities but are very close and see each other regularly.

Anne has published her biography, “Call Me Auntie”, about her life in care and her mother’s search available for purchase here.

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