A scaffolder who has been longing to find his family but was too scared to make the first move is reunited with his mother and sister in Long Lost Family.
In Monday’s emotional episode of the ITV show, Nicholas Rhoades, 50, from Wallington, who lives with his wife Sandra and has three daughters and four grandchildren, hopes to find his birth mother – but the search also uncovers his sister, Cayley.
She manages to put the team in touch with his mother Jacqueline Cruz, who lives 4, 000 miles away in Chicago.
‘Thank you so much for everything,’ he tells her when they meet for the first time since she put him up for adoption at three days old. ‘Thank you for giving me my mum and dad. They were the best parents in the world you could’ve given me too.’
Nicholas Rhoades, from Wallington, London, has been longing to find his family but was too scared to make the first move is reunited with his mother and half-sister in Long Lost Family. Pictured, Nicholas, his mother Jacqueline and half-sister Cayley
Nicholas and his mother Jacqueline meet for the first time since he was put up for adoption at three days old. He tells her: Thank you so much for everything. Thank you for giving me my mum and dad. They were the best parents in the world you could’ve given me too’
Before the pair meet, Nicholas, who recently celebrated his fiftieth birthday. speaks of his dream of meeting his mother.
‘Fiftieth is quite a big birthday in anyone’s existence and I still don’t know where I come from or who I am,’ he says.
Nicholas, who lives just around the corner from where he grew up, explains that he was adopted by a couple who were unable to have children of their own – Cathleen and Donald.
‘They were like my heroes in many ways,’ he explains. ‘My mum was the best person in the world in my eyes. Even if she could’ve had kids she still would’ve tried to adopt us – she was that kind of woman.’
In Monday’s show, Nicholas explains that he was adopted by a couple who were unable to have children of their own – Cathleen and Donald Rhodes (pictured)
Speaking of his mother, Nicholas explains: ‘My mum was the best person in the world in my eyes.’ But when he was 18, Nick’s adoptive mum died from a heart attack – inspiring him to search for his birth family
After finding the address where he was born, Nicholas tells how he visited the house and sat outside – deliberating whether to knock. Scared, he went home – and had no idea his half-sister Cayley (pictured) was waiting inside
But when he was 18, Nicholas’ adoptive mum died from a heart attack. His thoughts turned to his birth mother and following the death of his father, he decided to search for her.
‘I felt like it was the end of my family,’ he says. ‘My birth mother – she was all I had.’
Never before in the series have two people come so close to finding each other – as Nicholas was once sat outside his sister’s front door.
His birth certificate stated his mum’s name – Jacqueline Cruz – and crucially the address she’d been living in when he was born.
‘It wasn’t a planned expedition to try and find her,’ he explains. ‘We were driving down the M11 and we decided to give it a go and see if we could find it.’
‘There was the most beautiful double rainbow you’ve ever seen in your life and it was like destiny is this way, follow the light. And I did, and I found it.’
He adds: ‘I sat there for half an hour and contemplated whether to knock. I didn’t know what to do.’
Cayley (left) was brought up by her grandmother Beatrice. Her mum left to move to America after meeting a serviceman when she was seven
Nicholas’ half-sister reveals how she has never moved home in the hope Nicholas would find his birth certificate and come and find her
‘I thought she could be there but it could really upset someone and turn their life upside down. You just can’t barge in someone’s life like that. After several attempts to get out I decided the best idea was to go home.’
Little did Nicholas know, his sister Cayley Cox, 52, was inside and had spent years hoping that her long lost brother would knock. She herself had contacted an adoption charity who told her she couldn’t made contact with him.
Cayley, who has spent her whole life in the same place, tells how she was brought up by her grandmother Beatrice. Her mum left to move to America after meeting a serviceman when she was seven.
Cayley’s mum went on to get married, have two more children and settle in America, so Cayley barely saw her. But when she was 22, a family friend told her she had a younger brother.
‘I came home, Nan was here and I was quite angry. I walked in and confronted her and it was the first time I ever saw her cry. She said it was true.’
‘I made the decision to stay here,’ says Cayley. ‘I thought if he got hold of his adoption records there’d be some address of where mum had been living at, so he’d come and find me.’
During their meeting, Nicholas says to his birth mother: ‘I’ve got beautiful kids and a beautiful wife because you made that decision. Thank you so much for begin so brave’
In emotional scenes, Jacqueline tells how she put Nicholas up for adoption as she ‘couldn’t give him the life he deserved’
And as the day arrives for their emotional meeting, Nicholas and Cayley are delighted to finally meet face-to-face.
‘To hear my sister say “my little brother” it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world,’ says Nicholas, while Cayley adds:
‘I want to say thank you for being so much braver than me. I clapped eyes on him and he’s perfect. Fifty years melted away.’
One month later, Nicholas also meets his birth mother, who flies over from America, after half a century apart.
‘I was stunned, shocked,’ says Jacqueline, speaking of the moment she heard Nick had been trying to find her. ‘I always wondered if he would look for me. Every year I’d sit by myself and say “Happy Birthday, Nicholas.” I was praying he did have a good life.’
Discussing why she put him up for adoption, Jacqueline explains: ‘I was working and found out I was pregnant. I had Cayley, she was a toddler, and it would’ve been way too much for my mum. Back then, there was no help. I knew I couldn’t give him the life he should’ve had.’
During the emotional meeting, Nicholas thanks Jacqueline for making the decision to put him up for adoption: ‘I’ve got beautiful kids and a beautiful wife because you made that decision. Thank you so much for begin so brave.’
‘You’re welcome,’ she replies. ‘My family is complete. This is the best day of my life, Thank you.’
Long Lost Family continues on Monday’s at 9pm, ITV