Gail & Juliet Newmarch and Michael & Paul Way
A first for Long Lost Family, 51-year-old twins Gail and Juliet Newmarch are searching for their brothers who, remarkably, are also twins. Gail and Juliet grew up with a close twin bond, which is still as strong and precious as it always was. There are, however, two people missing from their lives: their brothers, also twins, who were given up for adoption when the girls were just five years old.
Juliet says: “We don’t know where they are, what their lives have been like, whether they would even want to be in touch with us...they are a missing part of our family.”
Juliet and Gail grew up in South London, with their mother Pauline, their father Michael and two other sisters. They remember their father as a complex character.
Gail says: “He was tall, handsome, charismatic, charming. I think, as a father, he was wonderful, but, as a partner, I think he was very unreliable. He didn’t have a history of being faithful.”
When the twins were three years old their father left Pauline for another woman. Their mother was devastated and found it difficult to bring her four young children up alone. Michael remained a part of Gail and Juliet’s lives and would visit them regularly and it was when Gail went to live with him when she was 15, that he revealed to her the family secret. He told her that when the girls were four years old, their mother had given birth to twin boys, and had given them up for adoption.
Shocked at this discovery, Gail felt an overwhelming sadness for her mum for what she had been through. The secret was now out in the open but their mother refused to go into detail about what had happened or who the father was.
Juliet tells the programme: “They were my mother’s boys, they were hers. We didn’t discuss it, it wasn’t our business.”
Pauline broke her silence only once in the years that followed.
Gail says: “My mother felt genuine pain for the loss of her children. She told me there was never a night that she went to sleep without thinking about them first. When she would hear a knock at the door, her first hope would be that her sons had looked for her.”
It wasn’t until their parents had passed away that Gail and Juliet felt able to search for their brothers.
The sisters traced their brothers’ birth certificates and discovered that they were born at the same hospital the girls had been born in in East Dulwich. And, incredibly their brothers had been given the names Paul, after their mother Pauline, and Michael, leading them to believe that they did in fact share the same father.
For Gail and Juliet this was where the trail ended. Because their brothers were adopted, their new identities would be confidential.
Juliet says: “It really would upset me if they had been split up, I hope they weren’t, I can’t imagine my life without Gail.”
Gail adds: “I’ve always wondered if being twins might have been a comfort for them, and we wonder whether they have the same connections with each other as we do.”
Working with a specialist intermediary, Long Lost Family discovers Michael and Paul were adopted together and are still called Michael and Paul.
When Nicky goes to visit them they are overwhelmed and delighted that their sisters have come looking for them.
Paul tells Nicky: “Straight away I had this feeling of warmth towards them.”
They both describe an incredibly happy adoption and that they have never felt any need to search for their birth family.
Paul says: “You mention the fact that you’ve been adopted and people automatically have this orphan Annie, poor little Paul and Michael, story, and it was nothing like that at all - it was great for us.”
Paul and Michael tell Nicky that unlike Gail and Juliet, they weren’t close growing up. They describe their twin relationship as ‘chalk and cheese’ and, although they live only 30 miles apart, before they had the news of their sisters’ search they hadn’t seen each other for a few years.
Nicky is able to show them photographs of their mother and explain how it had been for her to live with the fact that she had given her two baby boys up for adoption. He is also able to show them a photo of Michael, the man whom is likely to be their father. The experience is incredibly moving for both boys, who feel saddened to hear what they had all been through, but hopeful that through meeting their sisters something good can come of it all.
When Davina visits the sisters they describe how hard some of the family, including Juliet, have found taking on the search and how they have wrestled with the feeling that they are betraying their mother.
Juliet says: “It’s a disservice to her, simply because she was a very, very private person. But the thing is that I want to know that they’re ok.”
When she breaks the news to the sisters that their brothers have been found they are overwhelmed with emotion. They are relieved to hear that they were adopted together, that they had a successful and happy adoption, and are blown away that they are still called Michael and Paul.
Long Lost Family is with Gail and Juliet when they meet their brothers Michael and Paul for the first time in a local pub in East Dulwich, just around the corner from where they were all born.
Robert Capron and Jean Jennings
Robert Capron is a devoted family man whose happy life has been haunted by the absence of his mother who disappeared from his life when he was just a toddler.
Robert tells Long Lost Family that he never knew his mother. He grew up with his father, a gambler, who worked long hours in a restaurant and he would often only see him briefly in between shifts.
He says: “It was a very, very lonely upbringing. I’d see him for maybe half hour an hour and then he’d go back to work and I wouldn’t see him then. I would go out at night and walk around the streets at 10 O’clock at night because I was fed up of being in a bedroom sat on my own.”
Robert has no memory of his mother, and knows very little about her or why she left.
He explains that, growing up, he couldn’t speak to his father about her as she was a taboo subject and all the questions he had about her were never answered. When he was young, Robert did discover a small passport sized photograph of her, which he treasured and kept under his pillow, as, finally, he had some evidence of the woman who had given birth to him.
But he tells the programme about the moment his father discovered the picture. He says: “My father found it and tore it up. He tore it up and put it in the bin. I can remember crying and sticking it back together, but the bugger found it again and this time he destroyed it.”
It wasn’t until many years later, after his father died, that Robert once again could hold a picture of his mother when he discovered a wedding photo amongst his father’s papers. It was during this period that his need to find her grew, as did the desire to tell her he was okay, and that his life had turned out well.
He says: “I need to put my arm around her and tell her it’s alright.”
Over the years, Robert has agonised over the question of why his mother had left. He had no facts to go on but he firmly believes she must have had a very good reason. He wants to find out the truth, but crucially he needs to know he is still in her mind.
The search to trace Robert’s mother was one of the toughest Long Lost Family has ever undertaken but, eventually, she was found living on the other side of the world in Brisbane, Australia.
When Jean was contacted and told her son Robert was looking for her the first thing she asked was whether his father was still alive. Nicky travels to Brisbane to meet her and he learns the reasons behind her apprehension. Jean tells him how hard it had been for her when Robert was a baby. She describes the violence she had been victim of, at the hands of Robert’s father, and the fear she had for her life. She knew Robert would be safe as his father had never shown any anger towards his son, though she believes that if she had left and taken Robert, she would never have been safe.
Over the years Jean has attempted to blot out every memory she had of Robert, as this was the only way she felt she could have survived. But she could never forget one image of Robert from the last time she saw him, blond, blue-eyed and smiling, and Jean is visibly moved when she is shown a recent photograph of her son.
Davina breaks the news to Robert that, after more than a year of searching, his mother has been found and he is overjoyed to hear she wishes to meet him.
The reunion takes place on the shores of Brisbane where Jean is finally able to hold her son again, and explain to him why she had to leave when he was a baby.