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Published Wednesday November 24th, 2010 at 1:49am

Original Article by Claire Murphy

At age 61 actor Alan Stanford learns he's adopted
Irish actor and director, Alan Stanford, spent most of his life not knowing that he was adopted, only learning the truth at the age of 61.
Alan Stanford, Director of the Gate Theatre in Dublin Ireland, discovered by mistake that he was adopted.

The eminent actor and director, who is originally from Liverpool, accidentally found out that his parents were not his birth mother and father when he was applying for a 'long form' birth certificate.

"I made the interesting discovery at the age of 61 that I was a waif and a stray," Alan said.

"So many things began to slot into place. When I was born, my mother was 46 or 47 so that was very old to have children. She once told my ex-wife that she had lost three children before I came along. We presumed that she meant she lost three before I was born, but she really meant adopted."

The Glenroe star said that the discovery was a massive shock to him.

"What it does is throw you," he said. "All the medical records I have are now false. Everything my parents told me about our family health was a lie."


His parents are now dead, and he does not blame them for the secret.

"Back in the 30s and 40s, middle-class people adopted and working class people did the right thing," he said.

"I'm a tiny bit bitter, but I know that now I love them infinitely more -- they gave me everything. I left home when I was 17-and-a-half; I think they were terrified they were going to lose me forever," Alan added. I suspect they put it away -- they had let it go. I was their son and that was it. It wasn't a case of carrying a great secret."

Two months after the revelation, the director still doesn't know the identity of his birth parents.

But he said that he had finished a number of theatre projects and was going to spend some time researching.

"I don't know who my birth parents are -- to find out I have to have counselling," Alan explained on Breakfast on Newstalk.

"Under British law you are allowed to know who your birth parents are. If you are born after 1975, you can apply for your long form birth certificate, but if you were born prior to 1975, you must go through counselling. It's possible that I could be the offspring of one of my father's siblings -- I'm dying to find out."

And Alan said that finding out who his parents were might help him with realising his own identity.

"I never understood or had any clear pattern in my head as to how I came to who I was and what I am on the basis of my family," he said.

"I never knew where the instinct came from to be an actor -- I just knew I wanted to be one. Maybe my father was Irish because I have such an affinity with Ireland," he added.