Adopted woman is reunited with her long-lost father, 72, after 56 YEARS when his social media profile appeared in her ‘suggested friends’ on Facebook
- Karen Harris, of Penryn, Cornwall was adopted as a little girl in the early 1960s
- A social worker told her her father’s name was Trevor Sinden when she turned 18
- She finally tracked down her father when Facebook suggested him as a friend
- Now aged 56 and 72, the pair say they feel as if they’ve known each other forever
An adopted woman was reunited with her long-lost 72-year-old father after 56 years when his social media profile appeared in her suggested friends’ on Facebook.
Karen Harris, of Penryn, Cornwall was adopted as a little girl in the early 1960s after she was born out of wedlock at a time when young parents were encouraged to hand the child over to social services.
The only thing she knew was her father’s name Trevor Sinden which was told to her by a social worker when she was 18.
Karen Harris, of Penryn, Cornwall was adopted as a little girl in the early 1960s after she was born out of wedlock at a time when young parents were encouraged to hand the child over to social services
She tried to find him but with little information she failed – until decades later when she saw the name on the ‘suggested friends’ feature on the social media site.
Ms Harris saw Trevor lived 350 miles away in Kent but scanned the profile and from his details and history realised she might be looking at her father.
The pair then chatted for weeks and met for the first time in an emotional reunion on Friday – and they both said it was like they have known each other their whole lives.
Ms Harris, 56, said her birth parents gave her up for adoption in the early 1960s.
They were teenagers and she was born out of wedlock, which she says ‘wasn’t the done thing in those days’. She added: ‘You just don’t feel as though you belong.
‘Looking at your family that brought you up, you’re really grateful that they brought you up but you don’t have that sense of belonging.
The re-united father and daughter decided to meet in Lyme Regis, Dorset, roughly halfway between Cornwall and Kent. When they first spotted each other, they hugged for so long that a passerby said ‘I hope you know each other’
‘Now I’ve found completion. I’ve found connection and completion and I’m cherishing it.’
The re-united father and daughter decided to meet in Lyme Regis, Dorset, roughly halfway between Cornwall and Kent.
When they first spotted each other, they hugged for so long that a passerby said ‘I hope you know each other.’
They had a lot of catching up to do in the following days, which were spent going on walks and searching for fossils on the Jurassic Coast.
Ms Harris was also introduced to two of her long-lost cousins and has had ‘an amazing time with many new memories.’
She added: ‘Those who are adopted can understand that moment when you first see someone other than yourself in a mirror that has your cheek bones, your eyes, your chin’
Trevor, 72, added: ‘It’s like all of her Christmases at the same time. It’s so surreal, the chances of actually meeting were so slim.
‘I have looked on the internet but could never find her. It’s early days but I feel we already know each other quite well. If it wasn’t for Facebook we wouldn’t have met.’
Ms Harris had known few details about her father since she approached an adoption agency at the age of 18 seeking to find her birth parents.
A social worker shared with her what details they could and Ms Harris managed to track down her mother around ten years later, after she had had a child of her own.
FACEBOOK FRIEND SUGGESTIONS
In its online guidelines, Facebook states that People You May Know suggestions come from mutual friends, as well as people in the same Facebook groups as you.
Other factors that can influence suggestions include your networks, for example your school, university or work, and contacts you’ve uploaded.
Facebook says more than 100 ‘signals’ go into making the recommendations, and that no one signal alone can trigger a friend suggestion.
It has previously emerged that Facebook suggests ‘friends’ based on your phone’s location, shared contacts, and facial recognition from photographs.
Some have suggested the social network uses IP addresses people have signed in on, or Wi-Fi networks they have both used, to link profiles.
Finding her father proved to be more difficult.
She knew he was an electrician from Croydon but it was not until seeing that the information on his Facebook profile matched what she had been told that she knew she had finally found him.
He responded immediately and after seven weeks of chatting every day, they decided to meet.
She added: ‘Those who are adopted can understand that moment when you first see someone other than yourself in a mirror that has your cheek bones, your eyes, your chin.
‘It is something that someone who isn’t adopted probably can’t relate to or understand, but it changes the way you look at the world.
‘Now there is someone else like me, loving me for me and I cherish every moment. I’m incredibly blessed to find him now.’
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