The pair cannot stop sneaking looks at each other as they hold hands on the sofa of their modest but cosy home.The question is: are they victims of a heavy-handed State as they claim, or does their reunion set a troubling precedent that other adopted children may be tempted to follow?‘For years the girls believed I was a bad mother, a horrible person who didn’t love them, while I was told the girls didn’t want to see me and were settled into a new life with new parents they loved. ‘The birthday and Christmas cards I wrote were never passed on. That’s real emotional abuse.’ ‘Yet my son, who’d refused to be adopted, was returned to me after a year, and I went on to have another two children with a new partner, neither of whom has come to any harm. ’ Winona is just as angry as her mother about the stolen years: ‘Everyone told me what a terrible person she was, but all my memories of her were good: making Christmas decorations, reading Roald Dahl’s James And The Giant Peach in bed.I never felt anything but love from her.’ Today, that love is palpable.Realising she could lose her children, Tracey left her partner, for nothing was more important to her than being a mother.Yet even with him off the scene, the children remained on the ‘at risk’ list.In Tracey’s case, her children were sent for adoption because they were deemed ‘at risk of emotional abuse’.No one can really know the truth, and doubtless social services would argue they acted in good faith and in the children’s best interests, but Tracey is adamant she never abused, neglected nor abandoned them.
’ A very unusual emotional reunion had just taken place.For nine years previously, Winona and her little sister, now 12, were taken from their mother and adopted by another family, given new names and told to forget their natural mother. Yet in a story that raises profound questions both about British social services and the power of the internet to challenge their secretive workings, Winona traced her birth mother through the Facebook social networking site and the pair are now determined never again to be parted.Tracey, Winona and her sister were subjects of a forced adoption, which critics — including family solicitors, MPs and wronged families — say are happening on a scandalously regular basis, on the flimsiest of evidence, in order to meet government targets to raise the number of adoptions by 50 per cent.Yet because she was a young single mother, who by her own admission sometimes struggled to cope, she was forced to surrender the most precious things she had.Worse, she says the children believed that she had simply stopped loving them.