Today I found a pile of old letters including the correspondence I had with you in 1987. So I thought you might like to hear what happened after you put me in touch with my birth family… In the years which followed 1987 I met my half siblings, my Aunt and Uncle along with their families. My mother had died before I made the search. We never found any trace of who my father was. However I have developed a good relationship with my siblings and we meet up every year. Now that one of my sons lives and works in the UK my siblings have grown close to him and his wife and children. My Aunt welcomed me straight away and we became quite close in the years before she died. This summer my wife and I, along with our 3 sons, wives and grandchildren, met up in the UK to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. My siblings came too. Your search and your findings 30 years ago had a huge impact on my life, This is a very belated Thank YOU!
RS, January 2019
So, Ariel, because of you I have now met all these wonderful family members including two cousins met [not mentioned before], 2 partners 4 nephews and 4 nieces. Such a large family from my father’s side as well. I also have Australian citizenship which makes travelling simpler.
It is all down to our first contact and to your expertise. Thank you does not cover it. I saw your name at the end of Long Lost Families on Tuesday and decided I should like to let you know of my gratitude to you. I am a better, more rounded person for having such a great family
I just want say a how thankful I am to you and your excellent team for finding my father (sadly deceased) and connecting me with my family.
CJ, January 2019
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been in constant contact with my two aunts that live in Los Angeles, California. They have told me they are over the moon to find that they have a nephew they knew nothing about and have said, in their words, they are delighted “a little piece of their beloved brother is still around”. Having now seen photo’s of me they have said that I look like my father, same jaw line, nose and mouth. They have also told me how lovely and well respected my father was, which has been reassuring for me to learn. During this time they have shared over 150 photographs of my father and family, and for the first time in my life, last week I saw a colour photograph of my father. I cannot even begin to tell you what his all means to me and how fulfilled I now feel but I am sure you know.
After 40 years of heartache, searching, wondering, sometimes obsessing about my father and the fact that I knew nothing about him. Finally I can now complete the other side of my family story and put all those years to rest. My next objective will be to look at how I can get my fathers name added to my birth certificate, if possible, and this is a subject I intend to raise with the Bennett family.
I am eternally indebted to you and your excellent team for all of your hard work and particularly for not forgetting about me when I had almost given up. Thank you sincerely, from the very bottom of my heart.
I rarely watch the TV of an evening but tonight found myself watching ITV’s “Long Lost Family” (LLF). It stirred up quite a few feelings of my own search and reunion with my birth parents and made me feel a real sense of gratitude for the help I was given in my own situation back in 2003-2005 (now well over a decade ago) when I was in my late 30s.
Watching the show tonight had made me want to see if I could find you again. To say ‘thank you’ again for the connections you enabled me to make and for the chance to build a relationship with not only my birth mother, my half sister (and in a quieter way with my half brother) but also with some members of the Italian side of my family.
In common with many of the people searching on LLF, and despite having adoptive parents who gave me a solid and good childhood, I’d always felt a piece (or pieces) of my personal life puzzle was somehow ‘missing’.
I can honestly say that, for my birth mother, my birth father, and myself, I feel that being able to find those pieces has helped us all to find some ‘peace’ – if I can call it that, or – to come to terms with things non of us can undo and time we can’t get back again.
From our first, nervous meeting in London back in (I think) 2003, my birth mother and I have gone on to build a really lovely relationship in these past years, in fact, although I don’t call her ‘Mum’ out of respect for my late, adoptive Mum, we have a really close relationship and have had the chance to see each other quite often as time has gone on.
For my birth father, I think our conversations helped him to make sense of things and, maybe, to put lay some ghosts to rest.
So that is a snippet of the story you have helped me to uncover and of the slice of life I’ve been able to explore and have because of your work. For this, I want to express my DEEPEST thanks for the doors you opened and the work you did back then on my behalf.
Thank you Ariel and I sincerely hope you and your family are in good health and wish you every happiness in your own life.
“It has been 23 years since you wonderfully managed to find my natural family, after I had been in foster care from a very early age and I, together with my sister, was fostered by a family in Dundee, Scotland. A few years later, my foster family adopted a son. He also became a client of yours and you successfully traced his natural mother, who was in Australia.
Both of us have enjoyed long lasting and successful reunions and are most grateful for all that you and your close knit team did for us. The reunion of our families has been a great source of joy and anger, but mostly joy. It has been a roller coaster ride, but all in all, very positive. Take this as a huge thank you, your skill and kindness has changed all our lives for the better.”
JM, London, 2017
“I’d been searching for my birth mother for over 20 years, but with no leads or sightings since the early 90s I had struggled and I didn’t hold out much hope of finding her. Despite the difficulties, Ariel and her team somehow tracked her down within months and after a few phone calls with my birth mother we finally met just before Christmas 2015. My family has now extended quite a bit and we could not be happier to be reconnected. Finally knowing answers to questions that I have had all my life now gives me great peace of mind. I cannot thank Ariel and her team enough for all their efforts, and Ariel herself for her understanding, tenacity and professionalism.”
10th January 2016
“I am writing to thank you so much for making my dream of meeting my Dad come true. Through the excellent work of the Long Lost Family team my father was traced in Australia. However sadly he had Alzheimer’s, so you quite rightly decided that no program could be made but then so kindly still worked away with his wife and daughters to see if they were keen to interact with me. Thankfully they were; that was last year, and we have just returned this week from Australia having had the most amazing experience.
It was a very emotional meeting my Dad and all the family there were in tears: it was truly amazing. What made it really good was the fact that we hit it off so well with our new family. My father’s daughters, wife and brother in law were all so friendly and nice and it was just natural to be together. It could not have gone any better.
I just wanted you to know that I am forever grateful to the Long Lost Family team who were nothing but exceptionally professional from start to finish; from Ariel Bruce, who traced my Dad ( I am still amazed and baffled as to how she did it), to all of the team. I have been a police officer 26 years and a detective for most of that but Ariel Bruce’s skills in tracing have been very impressive. Please pass on to her my gratitude. It’s a great thing she has made happen as a result of her hard work. Incidentally, my family said she was really professional and nice with them as well. When I received the call to say my Dad had Alzheimer’s and that no program could be made, I thought I was going to be told that was the end of LLF’s and Ariel Bruce’s involvement with my search. However for you all to then continue to help me connect with my family, while not gaining anything yourselves is a very impressive example of a selfless act and you all acted with integrity at all times.
I am glad for what I have and know that I will keep in touch with my new Australian family forever. In addition, I have since found my new cousin in my home town of Aberdeen and I am close to her and her family. You guys do great things! You have changed a lot of lives in this family. Keep up the great work that you do.”
11th December 2015
A letter from one of Ariel Bruce’s clients:“Never having met my family, and being in my 50’s, I thought I never would – but my kids needed roots, and frankly, I needed to know. I spoke with Ariel Bruce, and from the tiny information I had, leads were, through brilliant detective work and amazing perception, soon established. Telephone calls started and a visit to Paris made an actual meeting with my mother – fortunately a happy one, which was mainly due to Ariel’s methodical and sensitive manner. I felt compelled to write this note and thank you sincerely for giving me back my family and my roots which now span some six countries.”
This is a birth mother writing of being contacted by Ariel on behalf of a daughter that she had placed for adoption in 1962. Happily, this birth mother was completely supported by her husband in her desire to have contact with her daughter.
“Life has never been happier; L is such a warm and wonderful young woman, and my whole family has been delighted to have been found by her and her lovely family. I drove up to Scotland to tell my cousins (my closest relatives) about her at Easter, and flew to Los Angeles to tell my Californian relatives in the Summer. Without a single exception, they have been thrilled to hear my news.
Our daughters just love her. Individually and together, they meet socially. About once a month I have a family Sunday lunch, and it is such a happy time! If L was not such a lovely person, it might not have been so easy, but both she and her husband are such fun and the children so adorable that the time just flies.
Ls Mum and Dad very kindly invited us to their home so we could all get to know one another. It was a marvellous gesture on their part. Ls children call me by my first name, because any variation of Grandmother is reserved for Ls adopted Mum.”
Mr & Mrs R. N., Hertfordshire, UK.
The last thing you wrote to me (9th May) was:
“Now the task is over to you, perhaps you will start to learn Italian! Let me know what I can do to help.”
I thought I’d write a brief note to let you know the outcome (so far) of the search you did for me. You’ll remember that last April you told me in person that my Italian father had died some years ago and that I had a brother in Italy. You then forwarded a letter received from my brother, Guiseppe, in which he said that I’d also got a sister.
We wrote to each other several times (in Italian) over May & June. I also wrote to my sister. A hint was made that we visit Italy. After failing to make email contact (bloody computers!) and with the end of my holidays rapidly approaching, I took the plunge and jumped on a plane to Rome. My wife was with me. We hired a car and drove the 100km south to Terracina. We stayed B&B with a young non-English speaking family (great fun). Then (trembling like the proverbial leaf) I phoned my brother’s house. My sister answered. When I told them that I was in town, they exploded with excitement, and from that moment on we were treated like Gods. We were totally looked after for the 6 days that we stayed. My resemblance to my father (both physically and in manner) was commented upon by everyone I met, including 2 cousins who were brought up by my father after their own father (his brother) died. There were lots of tears of sadness and joy – mostly joy. I learned a lot about my father, of course, and saw where he was born, worked, lived, died and was buried. I also heard many stories relating to his character and his life. They didn’t ask whether we were going to visit next year – it was assumed.
7 years ago my family tree started with just me. Now it is so huge it stretches over many pages.
Count this as one of your great successes!
Grazie di tutto,