Scottish gardener, 26, is reunited with birth mother in Sri Lanka

Viewers in tears as gardener, 26, who was brought to Scotland at just three weeks old is reunited with her birth mother 5,000 miles away in Sri Lanka on Searching for Mum

  • Ria Sloan, 26, was brought up near Inverness after being given up for adoption 
  • In BBC Two’s Searching for Mum, she goes to Sri Lanka to track down birth family
  • After tracking down her mother’s village, she  

Viewers were left in tears after a gardener who was brought to Scotland at just three weeks old was reunited with her birth mother – over 5,000 miles away in Sri Lanka.

Ria Sloan, 26, explained how she was brought up near Inverness, where she was ‘one of the only brown people in [her] home town’.

Although she had a happy childhood, she described how she began to feel that she didn’t ‘properly belong’ and began wondering about her birth mother.

In BBC Two’s Searching for Mum, she returned to Sri Lanka to track down her biological family – eventually being reunited with mother Sumithra, who had been forced to give her up after being abandoned by her boyfriend at the time.

Ria Sloan, 26, who as brought up near Inverness, was reunited with her birth mother Sumithra (pictured embracing in Sri Lanka) after tracking her down through her adoption papers 

Ria explained how she was adopted at the age of just three weeks old, after being brought to Scotland from Sri Lanka. She returned to her birth country with a picture of her biological mother (above) in a bid to find her 

Viewers were quick to react to Ria’s moving story, with many admitting that they had been left in tears.

One wrote ‘What a beautiful reaction from Ria’s family’, while another added: ‘Ria’s story brought tears to my eyes. What an emotional journey.’ 

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Another commented ‘Emotional viewing. Happy to see Ria found her biological family’, while one simply added: ‘Awww I can’t cope’.

Ria was able to meet her birth mother and other relatives, including her grandfather, after taking her adoption documents to an expert in Sri Lanka.

Ria (pictured with her birth mother) discovered that Sumithra had been abandoned by her boyfriend when pregnant, and was forced to give the baby up as her family was too poor to support the child 

After tracking down the village of Lulelamulla, where her birth family still lived, Ria finally met her mother in an emotional reunion (above)

They eventually managed to track down the small village of Lulelamulla, Dodangoda – where her mother was documented as living – despite not existing on any maps.  

Explaining her decision to look for her biological mother at the start of the programme, Ria said: ‘[I’m] wanting to know if she’s alive, if she thinks about me, if she does want to see me. I think it would ground me so much if i knew.’

She added: ‘As a kid, I never thought about searching or even investigating my adoption.

‘It’s only recently I’ve felt like I’m a bit stuck in between these two countries, and what seems like two very different identities. 

Searching for Mum viewers admitted on Twitter (above) that they had been left in tears after watching Ria’s reunion with her mother 

‘It’s like feeling you don’t properly belong anywhere. It doesn’t necessary really upset me, but it’s there. I always wonder what my life would be like in Sri Lanka.’ 

However, Ria admitted that she was fearful of what she would discover in searching for her birth mother.

‘I’m definitely scared of finding out the truth because it’s been a mystery my whole life,’ she said.

‘There’s a big part of me that wants to know if i was born into this world with love ultimately, and that I was wanted.’  

As well as meeting her birth mother (fourth from right), Ria also met her other relatives, including aunts, uncles and cousins (above) 

Ria (above, with her biological uncle and cousin) revealed her happiness at discovering her biological family still remembered her and cared about her 

Ria, who went to Sri Lanka with her girlfriend Cat, later discovered that her mother had given her up after being abandoned by her boyfriend when she was pregnant, with her family too poor to raise the child.

‘My mum had been abandoned by her boyfriend when she was pregnant, she gave me up an agency and cried three months afterwards,’ Ria explained.

‘To know that this family remembered me and care about me is against everything I’ve feared.’ 

Ahead of the meeting, Ria also wrote an emotional letter to her birth mother to express how she felt on being able to see her for the first time. 

Ria returned to Sri Lanka with her girlfriend Cat (above together, in Sri Lanka) after being left with unanswered questions about her biological mother 

Ria wrote a moving letter to Sumithra (above, centre), explaining how for many years she had been left wondering about who her birth mother was 

In the letter, she wrote: ‘I can’t quite believe this day has come. For many years I’ve thought about you, stared at the photograph I owned and ached for an understanding of my first days of my life. 

‘Simply looking into your eyes and knowing you’re my mother will give me such comfort.’ 

During the emotional reunion, Ria told her mother of the ‘pain’ she felt not knowing about her biological mother, and whether she was live. 

Explaining how she felt after the meeting, she added: ‘I have no idea how this relationship will work from now on but I know I will come back. 

‘Although Scotland and Sri Lanka are thousands of miles apart, I don’t feel stuck in between. I feel very firmly rooted in both places.’ 

Searching for Mum continues on BBC Two next Thursday at 9pm.  

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