Strictly star Ellie Simmonds reunited with birth mum after being adopted as a baby


Strictly star Ellie Simmonds has been reunited with her birth mother after revealing how she was adopted when just three months old.

The Paralympian swimmer last year embarked on a search for her blood family after finding out that she had been put up for adoption when she was 10 days old.

Ellie says was devastated to discover that her mum wished she had died at birth after medics told her that she would be ridiculed and seen as “evil” and “stupid”.

But it didn’t stop Ellie, 28, who was born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, from wanting to find her.

The Mirror reports that after an emotional five-hour first meeting, the pair are still in touch and rebuilding their relationship.

“Until now, it’s never emotionally affected me, it never made me feel rejected or ask why do my birth parents not want me,” she says in a new ITV documentary.

“I’ve been so focussed on the future and never thought about it.”

Ellie, who won five Paralympic gold medals, has talked about her parents as her biggest supporters but never before revealed how the couple, who have four other children, adopted her.

But when “questions started to bubble up” she decided to go in search of answers, beginning with photos and documents that her parents had kept for her.

“One of the reasons for being given up for adoption is dwarfism and maybe it can be a factor of why my personality is like it is, because of that rejection at the start,” she said.

With the help of a specialist social worker, Ellie first got hold of the files relating to her birth.

They revealed that days after she was born the hospital confirmed Ellie had achondroplasia.

An information sheet given to her birth mother said that children with her condition “tend to be muscular and acrobatic, which is perhaps the reason for them traditionally being involved in the circus and other forms of theatre”.

The form added: “Children have to deal with being stared at and laughed at by other children. Indeed, there are those with normal height who equate short stature with evil and stupidity.”

In another blow, a social worker report described how her mother “feels very guilty regarding Eleanor’s disability and wishes she had an abortion, or that Eleanor had died”.

Shocked, Ellie nearly called off the search, but getting in touch with the family of her foster carer who looked after her from two weeks to three months old convinced her to carry on.

Ellie, who last year competed in BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing with partner Nikita Kuzmin, was given details for her birth mother, and the pair exchanged letters.

Her mother wrote: “Your father and I separated before I realised I was expecting you. Unfortunately it was very sad and traumatic in my life and I struggled with my mental health.

“I’ve suffered with guilt and self-hatred for not being strong enough to cope.

“I cannot express the happiness I feel to know your parents and siblings have provided you with such a loving environment, that you’re so happy. You’ve achieved so much.”

Finally, mother and daughter met in a hotel and spent five hours together.

Ellie, who has decided to protect her identity, says: “It was amazing. I kept looking at her and thinking, ‘Wow that’s my mum’. I felt like her face was just like mine. What touched my heart was she said she thinks about me every day, and she still sees me as her daughter.”

Ellie Simmonds: Finding My Secret Family, ITV1, Thursday, July 6, 9pm.

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