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Woman given up for adoption at birth traces her real mother for an emotional reunion 40 years later

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Liz Bevan, 42, and her husband uses newspaper adverts and enlisted the help of a friendly volunteer to trace her birth mother

Chris and Liz Bevan with children Ffion, 16, Ebony, eight, and Seren, six

Chris Bevan couldn't believe his eyes when saw the size of a balloon dog made for his youngest daughter, Seren, at a holiday camp.

"It wasn't just bigger than her - it was bigger than me," he laughs. "We couldn't even fit it in the car to bring it home!"

It certainly is a huge balloon dog!

Just one small memory from a week of adventure. It's the little things that create the magic of family life," he says.

The holiday last year was the third the family had enjoyed in Torquay, but it wasn't just the sand and sights that drew the family from their home to the popular seaside town.

Torquay is the home of his wife's real mum, who they tracked down after an exhausting search just four years ago.

Chris, 48, says: "Liz had been adopted as a child and, after her adoptive parents died before she was 12, she was brought up by her aunt.

"She had always she said would not try to trace her real mum while her aunt was alive because she didn't want to upset her but, of course, she wanted to know what had happened, why she had been given up, whether she was loved - whether her mum was even still alive.

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Liz and Chris Bevan's youngest - Ebony, eight, and Seren, six (Image: Chris and Liz Brown)

"So, when her aunt passed about 10 years ago, we started looking. I wanted to do all I could to support her and help her."

Adverts in newspapers and help from a friendly volunteer meant I finally traced 42-year-old Liz's birth mother.

Liz learned her mum was 20 when she was born and, while she had a partner, it wasn't a good situation, and she wasn't allowed to take her home.

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"It was difficult," says Liz, who works part-time in a pub.

"But it was lovely to learn that we had been looking for one another."

"My mum wrote me a long letter explaining why she had to give me up and I assured her that I didn't blame her.

"We emailed and texted before we finally met, just before Christmas four years ago It was surreal to meet this lady after 40-odd years but it was wonderful - and we have been getting to know each other since then.

"Holidays have been in Torquay ever since and mum comes up to see us."

Liz's background inevitably had an impact on her and the life she's shared with Chris. Retired Chris says. "We have been married for 24 years and the focus of our life has always been each other, our children Ffion, 16, Ebony, 8 and Seren,6, and our dogs!

We love to take the car to the coast and walk along the beach. The kids pick up shells or odd-shaped stones and the dogs run into the water and we get covered in sand, which doesn't make for the most pleasant journey home.

"But we all enjoy it, a chance to have quality time as a family. "As long as we are together, that's all that matters."

Mother and daughter eating chips

Family life can be fasty, frantic and very different from the old-fashioned 'ideal' that's still portrayed on film and TV. There's no such thing as a typical family.

But everyone is still worth celebrating - and that's what potato brand McCain is planning to do.

McCain has launched its We Are Family campaign to highlight the joys of real modern families, which culminates in a pop-up photography display of diverse family life at mealtimes in the National Portrait Gallery, London.

The display celebrates real modern families – no filters, no stereotypes, just the joyful reality of families at meal times.

Visit the McCain Facebook page for more information

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