A Spanish woman who was adopted at age five and brought to the UK has been reunited with her birth family.
Maria Del Mar Freckleton, 50, from Highfield, was adopted without her family’s consent when she was just five years old.
But thanks to help from her English family, including her husband Neil, she last month met with her sister and one of her brothers, and hopes to meet their other brother soon.
She told the Gazette: “My adoptive mother is Spanish and I have cousins over there. So I was visiting them and I arranged to go and meet my natural sister and one of my brothers for the first time.
“As soon as I saw her I just went up to her and gave her a huge hug.
“She doesn’t speak English but I speak Spanish and told her ‘I lost you, but now I’ve found you’.”
She added: “Afterwards we were going around her hometown I felt like I was famous. She was stopping people in the street to say ‘Come and meet my sister – she’s English!’.
“And people kept replying ‘Keep quiet – we can tell that you two are sisters’.”
Maria’s parents were Segundo Juan Muñoz y del Amo and Vicenta de Blas y Ba Digo Valbuena.
And she still has three siblings – Juan Manuel de Blas Valbuena who lives in Salamanca, Rosa María Muñoz de Blas who lives in Cáceres, and Juan salvador Fortuño from Valencia.
She also hopes to track down a number of her cousins who also live in Salamanca.
Today Maria is retired, but her husband still works for KIA.
She managed to find her family with help from the website heritage.com which she admits was much to her surprise.
Maria said: “When I was adopted at age five I didn’t speak any language – English or Spanish – because I was traumatised by some experiences I’d had in the orphanages.
“People always told me not to look for my birth family, but I knew they were out there and I wanted to meet them.”
She added: “In those days families in Spain didn’t have a choice.
“My parents didn’t want me to be adopted, but the nuns who ran the orphanages were really nasty.
“I still don’t know the full story but I am learning more and more about my new family and I feel really lucky.”