Ellie Simmonds: My Secret Family | Preview (ITV1)
Multiple Gold Medal winning Paralympian, Ellie Simmonds explores the relationship between disability and adoption in a brand new hour-long documentary Ellie Simmonds: Finding My Secret Family a raw and emotional journey of personal discovery for ITV.
In this thought-provoking documentary, Ellie follows her own adoption journey as she tracks down her birth mother who gave her up for adoption after only two weeks.
Ellie said: “Until now, it’s never emotionally affected me, it never made me feel rejected or ask why do my birth parents not want me. I’ve been so focussed on the future and never thought about it.” Adding: “One of the reasons for being given up for adoption is because of dwarfism and maybe it can be a factor of why my personality is like it is now, because of that rejection at the start. Even if you do have a loving family being rejected straight away, like as soon as you were born.”
Ellie spends time with families who adopted Disabled children, hears deeply personal stories from Disabled people who tried to find their birth parents, only to be rejected again and highlights the pioneering work of social services teams around the UK.
Ellie explores barriers on both sides of the adoptive process – both social and institutional – and asks if we are perpetuating an unfounded stigma around having Disabled children. From probing the existence of in-built systemic bias from the moment of birth, to a lack of awareness, Ellie’s mission is to investigate and unravel this complex issue. After finally meeting her birth mother for the first time, an emotional
Ellie said: “I think it’s really helped that finding out who I am, looking at someone who birthed me, the nature that I’m from and the questions I had to ask her and she answered them it makes you a bit more whole.” She adds: “Although I have no idea how all this will play out, I’m glad I’ve gone through this process, questions I’ve carried for years have been answered. I’m proud of my life and I love my family and maybe, perhaps, that family just got bigger.”
Ellie Simmonds: Finding My Secret Family airs Thursday 6th July on ITV1.