The Current

ENCORE: Nurse tracks down birth mother, cares for her without revealing identity

Phyllis Whitsell's birth mother was incapable of giving her answers so Whitsell embarked on a journey where only one of them knew the other's identity.
Phyllis Whitsell, age 6, at church after she was adopted. Even though Phyllis was told her mother died of tuberculosis, she never believed it and felt the need to solve the mystery of her birth parents.

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Phyllis Whitsell was eight months old when she was left at an orphanage in the U.K. As a child she was told her parents had died, but she never stopped looking for a connection with her birth mother.

After years of searching, Whitsell found her birth mother, Bridget, and kept a big secret of her own: never revealing her true identity.

Phyllis Whitsell's mother, Bridget, at the nursing home where she lived in her last days. Phyllis nursed her dying mother with dementia for eight years without revealing her identity.

In her book, My Secret Mother, Whitsell shares her journey of searching for answers and keeping secrets.

Phyllis Whitsell in a 1992 picture with her three children: Tom, eight months, Stuart, ten, and Hannah, seven.

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Listen to the full conversation at the top of this post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley.