After almost 40 years apart, Val and Marisa Moorhouse are reunited with their son and brother, Stephen, thanks to Long Lost Family

In this week’s episode of Long Lost Family, Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell meet Val and Marisa Moorhouse. It’s been almost 40 years since Val Moorhouse saw her son Stephen.

Val, from Bradford, already had a daughter when she fell pregnant with Stephen in 1977. Sadly, single mum Val was unable to support two children financially, and had to make the heartbreaking decision to put her newborn son up for adoption.

Val and her daughter, Marisa, contacted Long Lost Family to help them find Stephen.

You reached out to Long Lost Family to find Stephen after 39 years of being apart. Have you always had hope that you would see him again?

Marisa: “We thought about him all the time. Whenever I sent mum a card I always put a big kiss from Stephen, just to keep him alive, in the hope that one day we would find him.”

What was it that brought you to the difficult decision to give Stephen up for adoption?

Val: “I didn’t give him up because I didn’t love him, I gave him up because I couldn’t afford to raise him.”

Marisa: “She [Val] has always felt bad about what she did. But she didn’t have an option. She wanted us both to have a good life and she just couldn’t afford to do that on her own. I can’t imagine what it must have been like. I look at my children – can you imagine giving your children away? She is such a strong lady for what she did, she has always been honest with me and we talk about it a lot but I know the pain she has suffered all these years.”

What do you remember about the day he was taken away?

Val: “I bathed him, dressed him and then this woman came and took him out of my arms. She walked away, turned a corner and that was it, he was gone. I remember it very clearly and it was the worst day of my life.”

What was it like when you were told that they had found Stephen?

Marisa: “Apart from giving birth to my children it was the best feeling I’ve ever had. I just couldn’t believe it.”

Val: “From the top of my legs to the top of my head I was just numb. I had my mouth open and I wanted to say something but I couldn’t.”

Long Lost Family

Marisa and Val Moorhouse reunited with Stephen

Before Long Lost Family, you hadn’t seen Stephen in nearly 40 years. How was the reunion?

Marisa: “I can’t believe that I could even walk. Luckily mum and I linked arms and did it together. We were so nervous to see him in the flesh, I kind of prodded him to make sure he was real!”

Val: “I thought I was going to get up to him and he is going to say, ‘I don’t want to know you but I want to know Marisa.’ But it wasn’t like that at all, he just put his arms out and it was lovely.”

Marisa: “I feel like a piece of the jigsaw was missing and now we have found it. I can’t even explain how happy we all are.”

Long Lost Family is on ITV on Wednesdays, 9pm.