The Current

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

Phyllis Whitsell began a search for her birth mother in the U.K. The woman she met was incapable of giving her any answers and Phyllis Whitsell embarked on a journey where only one of them knew the other's identity. The Current shares the story of her secret mother.
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, Phyllis 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, Phyllis Whitsell shares her journey 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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This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley.