Iestyn Garlick looks for his birth mother

Since he was a child, the television producer, actor and Principality Stadium rugby announcer Iestyn Garlick has known he was adopted; but now Iestyn wants to discover who his birth family are. S4C will be following every second of the harrowing journey in a special programme; Iestyn Garlick: Stori Mabwysiadu Tuesday, December 27 at 8:25pm.

Sixty-four years ago, Elin and Raymond Garlick went to Nasareth House in Swansea to adopt a baby that they would name Iestyn. Due to the nature of Raymond’s work, Iestyn lived in Pembroke Dock, Bleanau Ffestiniog, the Netherlands and Carmarthen; but today Iestyn lives in Llanddeiniolen with his wife Lynne. When Iestyn was six and the family were based in Blaenau Ffestiniog; they adopted another child, Angharad.

“I’ve always known I was adopted, that was my bedtime story as a child, the story of my parents choosing me. I’ve had a blessed life, I couldn’t have asked for a better life. I’ve never considered myself unlucky because I was adopted.”

It was family circumstances that spurred Iestyn on to look for his birth family. In 1991, his son Steffan was born, with severe learning difficulties: “At the time, I was looking for answers. I was aware that there was nothing similar in my first wife Gaynor’s family. But I didn’t know about myself. I started to think about my background, and if I carried the gene.”

“But soon after losing my Mam and Dad, I started thinking about finding my birth mother. I didn’t want to before, in case I offended my parents. All I wanted was a picture of my birth mother.”
Iestyn found that he was born Kevin Donnelly twenty years earlier, and Iestyn suspected that his birth family had Irish origins. But his journey takes him all across England, to Rugby, Liverpool and London to Northern Ireland. Iestyn says that the process of looking for his family was a slow and ardurous one, but one that was explained sincerely and candidly on film.

“I’ve been very honest during the making of the programme, and it’s been a very raw process. Anything and everything I discovered during the programme was on camera, there was nowhere to hide! At the start of the search, Theresa Ryan from the After Adoption company said that I had to be strong and able to accept whatever happened. But having said that, I’d be lying if I said that the experience wasn’t emotional from start to finish. Generally, I believe that people who have been adopted don’t show much emotion. Because of this, I feel I haven’t been great with relationships.”

But what lies ahead for Iestyn? Watch Iestyn’s poignant journey as he looks for his birth mother Tuesday, December 27.

Iestyn Garlick: Stori Mabwysiadu

Tuesday, December 27, 8:25pm, S4C
Repeated, Wednesday December 28, 3pm, S4C
English subtitles
On demand: s4c.cymru; BBC iPlayer and other platforms