Gran calls halt to ‘illegal adoption’ fight

GIVEN UP ... Dorothy Laybourn has called it a day over her search for clues concerning her adoption. Inset below, Mrs Laybourn as a teenager.

GIVEN UP ... Dorothy Laybourn has called it a day over her search for clues concerning her adoption. Inset below, Mrs Laybourn as a teenager.

A GRANDMOTHER from South Tyneside has given up her long battle to prove she was illegally adopted.

For nearly a decade mystery has surrounded Dorothy Laybourn’s adoption.

The 62–year-old claims council chiefs in Northumberland handed her over to unvetted foster parents, in Jarrow, in 1953.

But she has been unable to locate virtually any record about her fostering through Northumberland County Council.

Further checks with other North East local authorities – including South Tyneside – have also failed to identify them.

Mrs Laybourne, of Selkirk Street, Jarrow, has now decided to put an end to her search.

She said: “It’s just been going on too long now. There’s no paperwork, or certificates, to prove anything either way. I feel that I have been left in limbo.

“Nobody is sure who I legally belong to.

“Although I haven’t had any definite answers, I still feel as though I have done what I set out to do. I have highlighted the issues.”

Mrs Laybourn claims her adoption – in August 1970, when she was 17 – was done without her consent and was not legal.

The mother-of-three remembers signing a document at Jarrow Juvenile Court, which she believes was her adoption form, but insists she did not know what it was, and that she would never have agreed to it.

It was not until she turned 21 that her widowed foster mother admitted she was not her real parent.

Last year Northumbria Police got involved with the case.

They located her adoption record through archives at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum and confirmed from a signature that her birth mother did not sign her away.

But they were unable to identify whose signature is on the adoption form.

Mrs Laybourn had been trying to get the adoption quashed and her original birth details restored.

This has now failed because of the lack of an official record.

Mrs Laybourn added: “I’ve spent many years fighting to prove that I was adopted illegally, but I think now it’s time to close the matter and move on.

“At the end of the day, I know my biological mother was my mother and I did belong to her.”


Questions remain unanswered

DOROTHY Laybourn’s questions about her adoption will never be answered.

She was given up by her natural parents, Dorothy and Robert Haygarth, of Corbridge, Northumberland, when she was aged just one because they could not afford to keep her and two brothers.

She says all three children were fostered to the same couple in Jarrow.

Her brothers have since died.

Robert Haygarth died in 1970. Dorothy Haygarth died in 1967.

At the age of 17, she remembers signing a legal document at Jarrow Juvenile Court, which she now believes was her adoption form.

It was not until she was 21 that her widowed foster mother admitted they were not her real parents.

However, despite being raised by foster parents, Mrs Laybourn says she never really formed any strong bonds with them.

Since finding out she was adopted, Mrs Laybourn has also discovered she has four more brothers and one half-brother.

She said: “I don’t know why that was, but I was never very fond of my foster parents and wanted them erased from my past.”




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