Wales

Olympian Jamie Baulch's search for birth mother

Image copyright BC Wales/Wales news service
Image caption Jamie Baulch met his birth mother Teresa for the first time three weeks ago

Olympic silver medallist Jamie Baulch, who was adopted, had never thought about searching for his birth mother.

He was adopted by a couple from Risca, near Newport in 1973 and was happy with his "marvellous" parents.

But a chance conversation with singer and now television producer Connie Fisher last Christmas left him wanting to say thank you to the woman who chose to go through with the pregnancy and gave birth to him.

After going through the adoption services, Baulch was overjoyed to find Teresa, who gave him up for adoption when she was a teenager.

Their first meeting three weeks ago was tinged with sadness because Teresa has terminal cancer.

But Baulch is overjoyed at being able to thank her for giving him his life. Here's his story.

"I've never been interested in finding out who my mother was, although I always knew I was adopted. My parents Alan and Marilyn have been marvellous, and my two sisters and brother too. I've had the best possible life with them and they've done everything to support me in my athletics. We're all really close, we'll all be spending Christmas together with our families at my parents home near Risca.

"But I'm 41 now and have two kids of my own - Jay who's 19 and Morgan, 11. When you get older you suddenly realise how important life is, how precious it is, and I wanted to find out about where I came from to be able to leave that legacy for them. So I decided it was time to find my birth mother and just thank her for keeping me and not having an abortion when she found out she was pregnant.

"You know back in the 1970s, having a mixed race kid like I was was a big 'no, no'. Not that I ever experienced any problems growing up where I did in south Wales. I've never had anything like racial tensions - maybe because I'm so happy-go-lucky. What you see is what you get.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Welshman won silver at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta

"My mum Teresa was a white 19-year-old and my Dad who was Jamaican and in the Army, serving in Germany. Her parents disowned her, she'd been a relationship for two years but my Dad left her.

"I really, really wanted to say thank you to Teresa for what she'd done, for being so strong, for deciding to have me and then to give me up for adoption.

"I'm a patron of Adopt Wales, and I just know that these things can go wrong if you don't follow the proper channels so I'm really pleased that I've done it this way and the people who've helped have been amazing.

"The whole process has been really smooth and I've learnt a lot and I've got a file of information this thick now about both my birth parents. But when the social worker told me that they'd found Teresa and she had got cancer, terminal cancer, I was shattered. You see it on the film, I just couldn't say anything, I just cry and have to walk away.

"We met three weeks ago in Devon, where Teresa, her husband Des - they've been together for years and years - and their daughter Jaya, who's my half-sister, live. Isn't that funny, she's called Jaya and I have a son called Jay.

"We met only three weeks ago. Teresa and I just hugged and hugged and then she just said my name 'Jamie'. You wait 41 years to hear your mum say your name, it's pretty special. She didn't know (before we met) that I was an athlete and everything. I was able to show her my Olympic silver medal, hang it round her neck. That was special.

"We talked and talked, we had so much to catch up on, and it's amazing, we've got the same eyes. And another strange thing, apparently Jaya and I met about 14 years ago when I went to her school promoting athletics. There's a photo of us together somewhere - I'd love to see it.

Image caption Baulch was part of Great Britain's 4x400m gold-medal winning team at the 1998 European Championships

"Teresa told me she was adamant that she had made the right decision all those years ago - to have me and to give me up. She said that she couldn't have given me all that Marilyn and Alan have, and I wouldn't have had all the success I did. What a strong woman, what a beautiful woman.

"Since that meeting Teresa and I have spoken a lot and there's been some good news about the cancer. But I'm a realist and want to make the most of what time we have.

"It's horrible that she's so ill, but it is what it is. It's brilliant we've met. And the timing of this with us meeting now when she's ill is so strange, it might have been two years later and, who knows, we may never have met.

"I don't know what the future will hold. I'm taking my boys to meet Teresa, Des and Jaya in a couple of weeks time.

"Making the whole programme has not been easy. It's the hardest thing I've ever done.

"But what I would say is if you're thinking of adopting, do it because you can find it just leads to beautiful things. And there are 300 kids in Wales waiting to be adopted right now and you could change their lives forever."

Jamie Baulch: Looking For My Birth Mum, 9 October, BBC One Wales, 20:00 BST.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites