My Name is Joan‘He said, ‘You know, we had to pay a lot of money to get you from Ireland.’

As heard on The Ray D'Arcy Show

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At the age of 15, Susan Drew discovered she had been born with a different name, in a different country and that her parents were not her biological parents. Susan was born in Ireland as Joan Fagan in 1949 to an unmarried mother in a mother-and-baby home. She was adopted and raised in America, unaware of her background. She features in a new documentary, My Name is Joan. She joined Ray on The Ray D’Arcy Show to talk about the documentary and the revelation that changed her life.

Susan told Ray that everything was normal until a chance curiosity resulted in the truth coming out.

I happened to pick up an envelope in the mail. And it was a huge manila envelope. And I was concerned about my parents because they weren’t really getting along. And so, I was kind of nosy. So later on, I kind of found that envelope and went into that envelope and found all my adoption information in that envelope at age 15.”

Susan explained that she had, on occasion, felt that she “didn’t belong to the family”.

“I didn’t look like them. There was no baby pictures of me around the house. There was nothing there that really showed that I…was an infant in their home. Nothing whatsoever.”

Even considering these past feelings, the news that she was adopted took Susan by surprise.

“For me, it was a total, total shock. I wasn’t even an American. I was Irish. I was Irish-born. And how did I get to this country?…What happened? How did this all come to pass?”

Susan said that she felt lied to by her adoptive parents, who had raised her to believe that the truth was tantamount.

“You know, they brought me up, to tell the truth. Tell the truth.You know, the truth will always get you through everything….and here they lied to me themselves. They never even told me the truth.”

Her parents were reluctant to tell her more about the adoption except that they were unable to have children themselves and were “too old” to adopt in the US.

“They heard through the Catholic Church in America that babies were coming over from Ireland to America. And they went through their priest.”

Listen back the whole interview with Susan Drew on The Ray D’Arcy Show by clicking here.

© The Listener 2018

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