Ann Melbourne managed to track down her real mother over a decade ago – but sadly the two never struck up a relationship and Ann felt 'rejected'.
However, over 10 years later Ann has finally discovered her birth father through ITV's Long Lost Family – and she was in for some shocking discoveries – including that he never knew his daughter Ann ever existed.
Mother-of-three Ann, 52, was adopted as a baby and despite having a happy childhood she always wanted to know who her real parents were.
Back in 2011, Ann was hit by massive heartbreak when her eldest son, Blake, tragically passed away from cancer at the age of 14.
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Recalling the time she finally traced her birth mother 12 years ago on Long Lost Family, Ann said: "She promised to meet me. I was going to burst with excitement to see her and I'd already planned our conversation,"
Sadly though, Ann didn't hear back from her and she explained: "I found out I was a secret. My heart sank knowing that was the truth. She didn't want to know me. And I felt rejected."
But despite being 'rejected' by her birth mother, this didn't stop Ann wanting to find out more about where she came from and she decided to continue searching for her real father – after being given the name Leslie by her birth mum.
Ann learnt that her dad Leslie used to love playing football, after she studied the information available to her in her adoption paperwork.
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Ann's sons were all massive football fans and two of her boys are now playing football at a professional level – with 22-year-old Max playing Lincoln City and Jamie, 18, having joined the Stoke City squad.
Chatting about her dad, she said: "This is my birth father who loved football and my boys loved football. It's almost like he's been in my life. I can picture him and make him real. I desperately want to find him,"
"You do want that sense of belonging to somebody. I’ve lost so much. Life is short, so I need to find him. It's something I have to do for myself."
She turned to the Long Lost Family team for help and she was able to finally track down her dad Leslie after using Birmingham marriage records and the electoral roll.
Incredibly, Ann realised Leslie and his wife Dawn had been living a mere 12 miles away from Ann.
Although he was delighted to be found by Ann, Leslie suffers from dementia and can't remember much about Ann's birth mother.
In a zoom call with presenter Nicky Campbell, Dawn reveals Leslie has been confused about the whole situation and didn't even know Ann existed.
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But Ann's shocking discoveries didn't end there, because it turns out Leslie was contacted by another daughter – Jenny – who he didn't know about just six weeks before the Long Lost Family team reached out to him.
Dawn says they would have raised both girls – including Jenny who was also adopted – had they known about them.
Nicky said: "This is absolutely mind-blowing" and found out Leslie raised Dawn's four children and are desperate to meet up.
Jenny, who is Ann's half-sister and wrote a letter, told Nicky she now has "peace of mind" after finding her long-lost father and that she is also overjoyed to have an older sister.
When presenter Davina McCall broke the fairytale news to Ann, Ann said: "Oh wow! I can’t believe it. Do you know what? It’s even more than what I wished for," after reading a beautiful letter from her sister Jenny.
In a heartfelt moment, Ann heard her father's voice for the first time ever during a phonecall where Leslie told his daughter: "I love you".
Ann then took a trip to Devon to meet her half-sister Jenny, and the sisters shared a highly-emotional hug after meeting for the first time.
The siblings had both been Covid tested, and Jenny admitted she feels "as though there is a connection already" as they look back at old photos of their father.
She continued: "It felt natural. I've gone through the whole array of emotions. Her smile put me at ease,"
Ann then said: "It kind of took my breath away. This is actually my sister. I felt the warmth. It was just a precious moment.
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"I think it was meant to be that we both came into our birth father's life at the same time. It's only the beginning now – a new chapter in all our lives."
Leslie also met his daughters after the show stopped filming, but didn't want his meeting to be in front of the cameras, and both Ann and Jenny have stayed in regular contact since and have even met each other's families.
Long Lost Family continues Monday on ITV at 9pm
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