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www.mn.catholic.org.au Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
MY MOTHER BELIEVES we were
the family who nearly adopted him
when he was about 9 years of age
- and she would dearly like to see him again,"
wrote Mrs Karen Wilson, daughter of Mrs
Annie (Nan) Kelly of Lakelands.
"Apparently my parents were not deemed
to have an adequate income to permit the
adoption - even though they were confident
they could manage and loved Mick as a
little boy," Karen wrote. "They talked about
him for years, and he always held a place in
Now aged in her early eighties, Nan
remembers Mick's "black hair and his eyes.
When I saw the name and the picture in
Aurora, I got quite a shock."
The stories of Mick and the other former
British Child Migrants take many twists and
turns and it seems that the Kelly family
is not who Mick was referring to when he
mentioned a family considering adopting
him in last month's profile. However, within
three days of receiving the email, Mick had
met Nan and some of her children and
grandchildren and learned of a new chapter
in his story.
"You couldn't tell the boys if you were
thinking of adopting any of them," Nan
recalls, "because when you get knocked
back, you don't want to hurt the kids."
Shortly after Nan and her late husband,
Kevin, migrated from Scotland in 1957, they
settled in the Newcastle suburb of Mayfield.
Nan volunteered (and later worked) in the
kitchen at the Murray Dwyer Orphanage
and met Mick. "Kenny is my maiden name.
I've got an uncle and cousin both named
Michael Kenny. I told my husband about this
boy from England named Michael Kenny.
We laughed that he could be a relation.
"Well, we'll enquire, my husband said, but it
didn't come to anything."
The reasons preventing the adoption remain
unclear. Nan thinks it was because, at 23,
she "was a bit young at the time. I had two
kids of my own and we were only renting."
While at first Nan Kelly's name didn't mean
By CATHERINE MAHONY
Less than two days after Michael (Mick) Kenny s profile appeared in October s
Aurora, an unexpected email arrived.
anything to Mick, "now that I've met her
again, I think there's something familiar
about the shape of her face".
Nan and Mick are very pleased to have
reconnected. They have shared photos
and memories and Nan already knows how
Mick takes his coffee. She and members
of her family attended the 60th reunion
of the arrival of the former British Child
Migrants on 21 October and said it was a
They both wonder how different their
lives might have been had Nan and Kevin
adopted Mick. "He could have come to me
when he was 15," Nan ponders.
"Who knows?" wonders Mick. "If the Kelly
family had adopted me, I might never have
searched for and found my Mum. It's the
fickle finger of fate."
To view Mass and reunion photo gallery,
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Mick Kenny and Nan Kelly.
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