Against incredible odds, an Australian Filipino has tracked down his birth mother 30 years after becoming separated from his family aged five.
Joel De Carteret wandered away from his home somewhere in Manila and became hopelessly lost, until he was taken to an orphanage by a concerned taxi driver.
After a long search for the boy’s family, the orphanage eventually put him up for adoption, which led to a new beginning in Australia.
Despite a very happy life with his new family, Joel always dreamed of tracking down his mother. But he couldn’t remember her face or name — and where do you start searching in a city of so many millions?
In a tear-jerking documentary aired on Australia’s 60 Minutes, Joel has shared his emotional search.
After a month pounding the streets around Munoz Market, where he was found, he was directed to a couple who believed that he was their long-lost son. However, in heartbreaking scenes, a DNA test revealed they were not related.
Undeterred, Joel then turned to Jessica Soho — often dubbed the “Filipina Oprah Winfrey” — and following a television appeal a fresh lead was found.
“After I’d gone through that first experience I didn’t want to get my hopes up and be shattered again,” said Joel.
However, he agreed to meet Herminia Rio. After comparing photographs and immediately feeling an intense bond, they were both sure the search was over — and this was soon confirmed by a DNA test.
He also learned that his father, Carding Culadilla, was still alive and had emigrated to the US, where he works as a mechanic.
After returning to Australia to break the news to his adoptive mother Jessica, they both returned to meet Mrs Rio. Now, Joel calls his birth mother “Ma” and Mrs De Carteret “Mum”.
Be warned, this film is a real tear-jerker….