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Ever since I was 8 years old I knew that the amazing man (my Dad) who was raising me wasn't my biological father. My world as a child changed forever with this news. I felt the shame, THE stigma of being Illegitimate. When I was 10 I was told by my mother I had 3 half siblings, one brother & 2 sisters, who have the same father as I do. I have spent my entire life looking for them and sadly still am. My Biological father’s identity was the best kept secret; no one knew who he was!!! My beloved mum would tell me things but she was absolutely terrified of revealing his identity.

I had a love of family history and stories and spent many years researching family trees. I would always wonder who I really was, but for some bizarre reason I wasn't to know, the fear in my mum's eyes in the end was enough for me to stop asking. My questions were too traumatic for  my mother and the lack of answers, also traumatic for me. We shared an unspoken bond and she was my world. I lost my mother 9 years ago and she took his name with her. I had already lost one of my sister's, now my mum, I gave up family history, and my passion had waned. A dear friend encouraged me back into genealogy. This led me to do my DNA in 2018; I thought what harm would it be to know my ethnicity? When the results came back I then realised it also matches you with Biological family members. I just sat in awe and shock. It was then I thought I have to face this shame and learn how to use the DNA. With the help of an amazing lady in America, I knew finally I was a "Kelly". I then told my Aunty I was a Kelly and that is when the family secret came out. I was the daughter of a Catholic Priest, the late Fr. Joseph Kelly. I was shocked, but finally so many things made sense, as I call them my "OMG moments".

My journey started to find the truth and as a researcher I dug into records that even surprised myself, but the truth had to be found and the Catholic Church were to know I existed. The last 5 years have been the most traumatic, hardest, emotional, inspiring, revealing time. It has made me step forward to obtain recognition from the Catholic Church, for them to acknowledge that I am the daughter of Fth Joseph Kelly.


This recognition will help me in my search for my true identity. My journey has provided me with the tools and experience to help other Children of the Ordained, to find support and understanding of the various traumas they have suffered. Using DNA and genealogy research, I have been able to assist many adoptees and people with an unknown parent, find their identity. This is my story so far and it has been the most life changing journey.

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