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FAMILY SECRETS I was desperate to find out why I was given up for adoption, then I discovered my parents are brother and sister

  • Kate Graham

  • Published: 13:29, 26 Jan 2024

  • Updated: 21:59, 28 Jan 2024



Teresa Weiler felt a wave of nausea come over her when she discovered where she came from


A WOMAN has told of her horror after discovering she was the product of incest.


Having known she was adopted all of her life Theresa Weiler, 65, was raised in London by dad Terence and mum Truda.



Teresa Weiler never imagined the dark secrets of her biological familyCredit: Supplied



She was adopted as a baby and had a happy childhood with her adoptive familyCredit: Supplied



In her twenties she made the devastating discovery that her parents were biological siblingsCredit: Supplied


It was a happy, loving childhood, but she knew very little about her biological parents.


Teresa said in this exclusive interview: “With my amazing parents, two older brothers Martin, now 69 and Michael, 67, and little sister Fran, 61, my childhood was idyllic.


“I was adopted in 1961, aged two-and-a-half, and back then adoptive parents were kept in the dark about a child’s background.


“We only knew that my birth mum had been unmarried, and that I’d been advertised in the paper as a girl of ‘above average intelligence’.”


Teresa wasn’t interested in learning about her biological family until she held her newborn nephew.


She recalls: “It was 1983 and I was 24. 


“Cradling him in my arms, I was overwhelmed with love.”


The conversation turned from who he looked like to remembering everyone’s first words and steps and Teresa’s heart fell. 


She explains: “I realised that no one there knew those things about me and if I didn’t have children of my own, I’d never be able to create those memories as a mum.”


Teresa was suddenly desperate to have a child, and to learn more about her biological relatives.


She began to look into her biological history, doing so secretly in fear her parents would be hurt.


She says: “I asked social services for my adoption records.


“Seven months later I sat in an anonymous council office alone, nervously staring at my file.”

Heart thumping, Teresa read her birth mum’s name and the fact she’d been 16 when Teresa was born. 


She was shocked to see that her dad had been just 14 at her birth.


Devastating discovery


Then, Teresa saw the words that would change her life forever. Her biological dad was also her mum’s brother. 


Her parents had been siblings. She’d been born as a result of incest.


She remembers: “I just sat there in shock, thinking, ‘that can’t be right.’ But it was there on the page in black and white.


“I just thought ‘this is why nobody wanted me and I remember a wave of sickness swept over me. 


“My thoughts immediately flew to mum and dad. If they’d known how I’d been conceived, they’d never have adopted me.”


Filled with self-loathing Teresa swore never to tell anyone what she’d discovered, convinced it would disgust them.


Her hopes of becoming a mum one day also vanished. 


She says: “How could I possibly pass this shame on to my children, or even risk the fact that they might inherit a horrible disease?


“In the seconds it took me to read my paperwork, my dreams of motherhood were shattered forever.”


Shameful secret


As well as living in fear that friends and family would somehow realise her shameful secret, Teresa also hid her grief about motherhood. 


She says: “At first, I’d go home after seeing my sister and nephew and break down.


“Every new pregnancy or birth announcement hit me like a physical pain.


“But as the months passed, I buried that anguish as well. It was the only thing that I could do to protect myself.”


Isolated and in turmoil, Teresa’s anger towards her biological mum grew. 


The shame and worthlessness hit me like a wave, and I still had so many unanswered questions Teresa Weiler


She needed answers, and in 1985 arranged a face-to-face meeting through social services. 


She reveals: “When she opened the door to her flat, I was shocked to see someone who looked like me for the first time in my life.


“Then in her living room I saw a man. I knew instantly it was her brother - my dad.


“Immediately my anger poured out. How could they have done this? Did they realise the impact that it was having on me and my life?’


“After waiting for me to finish, she calmly suggested that I go away and write down all my questions. Then we could meet again.”


Bottling things up


But Teresa never had that chance. When she returned three weeks later, her mum had vanished. 


Teresa adds: “The feeling of rejection was enormous.


“My parents hadn’t wanted me when I was a small child and now they’d abandoned me again as an adult. 


“The shame and worthlessness hit me like a wave, and I still had so many unanswered questions. I’d never get the answers now.”


For the next fifteen years Teresa kept her secrets and anguish bottled up. 


Unable to tell partners why she didn’t want children she’d end happy relationships without an explanation. 


Her shame and self-loathing never went away, and she couldn’t be the patient, understanding woman she desperately wanted to be. 


Then one day at 41, Teresa was talking to a good friend and just couldn’t stay silent anymore. 


Coming clean


She says: “It all came pouring out. 


“The way I’d come into the world, the real reason I wasn’t a mum, and the fear I had of how everyone would see me if they knew the truth.


“Shaking, I looked at his face, sure I’d see his disgust. But to my amazement, he was wonderful. 


“He assured me that no one would think differently because of where I came from.

“Instead of horror, he only responded with compassion.”


Teresa’s relief was incredible, and her shame began to lift. 


A few years later she found the courage to tell her siblings, who responded only with love and support. 


“Finally, just before I was 50, I told mum and dad,” Theresa explains.


“They were heartbroken, but only because I’d carried this burden alone for so long. Their love for me was unconditional.”


Sadness


“Dad died in 2011, aged 92, and mum in 2020, at 93. 


“I’m so thankful that I told them the truth, and that I had the chance to see their love for me only grow in the years we had together.”


Teresa will always carry a sadness at never having children, although she adores her many nieces and nephews.


And now she can speak openly about the secret that tormented her. 


She says: “For decades I looked in the mirror and felt only shame and disgust.


“Now, at 65, I see a strong, happy woman smiling back at me.


“I’m someone who no longer keeps secrets, and I know that I always deserved to be loved.”



Teresa confronted her biological parents but never got the answers she wantedCredit: Supplied



Teresa kept her secret from her family for yearsCredit: Supplied




Teresa says that she has learned to accept that where she came from doesn't define herCredit: Supplied


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