"I was 18 at the time, and had gone through life quite normally: had a normal family of two married parents, a brother, and a sister; played football (soccer); went to school and got good grades; was applying to med school. Throughout my life I had no clue up until this point other than that my parents were a little older than average compared to my friends (I was 18, they were 60 and 63).

So, one night I was in my room with my girlfriend at the time and we decided to snoop around the cupboards and drawers a little. Right at the back of one cupboard, we found a small, very old shoe-box. Inside there were documents like my sister’s old school reports and my paternal grandfather’s death certificate. Then I saw a birth certificate with my name on it…

I saw the first name 'Kieran.' Then the surname 'Knox.' with DOB the same as my own. Everything matched except the surname - my own surname 'Doran' switched out with the name 'Knox.' I glanced at my girlfriend in absolute bewilderment. She had a look on her face like I'd never seen, but I still didn't know what was going on. 

My mind took a long time to process, before-which I had rushed downstairs to my mother and handed her the certificate, asking ‘What is this?’

She instantly began sobbing and said that she was sorry for not telling me sooner and that I was actually adopted! Then she and my father explained I was taken from two smack addicts, my birth parents, who were 18 when they had me. My adoptive parents won a court battle to take custody of me. I was originally placed in care with them and they grew to love me so much they wanted to adopt me but had to go to court as they were over 40 at the time.

After hearing a summary of this from my sobbing mother and distraught father, I also started sobbing and ran upstairs into the arms of my then-girlfriend. It took me around a week to process the information and for that week I was very upset and battling an identity crisis. But after that, and now, I know I am no less loved by my adoptive parents than by any biological parent and their child. And I love and appreciate them more than words could describe. I have briefly spoken to my birth parents and they are still battling their addictions and demons. I feel sorry for them and definitely don't feel any spite. But in my instance, I at least like to think the system worked! Adoption can be a life-saver - I can only imagine the horror my life would be if I wasn't saved by it."