Why do people plan to spend their holidays with family members they rarely see or speak to? Why do people bother to go back home despite the tension, awkwardness, and discomfort at home as well as the endless list of questions?
The answers to these questions are simple, human beings are social animals and they crave to connect with other members of their species and more so family. This is probably the most common reason why people will go to great lengths to search for long lost family members and establish a relationship with them.
Parents and their children can grow apart for a number of reasons, including adoption and abandonment, and entire families can fall apart owing to marriage separations and divorces, causing its members to scatter. Since time heals all wounds, it is possible for families to come back together, even after everyone has moved on.
Long Lost Family aired on TLC and the theme of the show was to reunite people with their long lost relatives. Here are little known things about the show.
Among the thousands of applications received, the show was surprised to find two applicants searching for the same person. Both did not know of the existence of each other however, they had a common goal, to find their birth mother. After a lot of detective work and DNA testing, the show's crew was able to link and reunite the siblings. Unfortunately, their mother did not want to make amends as radiotimes reveals.
Although heartbreaking, some family members have no desire to reunite with the families looking for them. For example, Susan’s daughter, whose parents put her up for adoption 32-years ago, did not want to meet her mother. She instead wrote a lovely message to her explaining her reasons as stated on thewrap.com.
Sadly, not all searches yield to a successful conclusion. According to the Telegraph, some cases may not be aired if; they are unsuccessful, the lost family member is deceased, or if the family does not want to be identified. In the event that the found party does not also want to take part in the show, the case will not appear on the show.
Another little-known thing about the show is that the hosts spend a good amount of time helping the families prepare emotionally and mentally for the meet up with long lost family members. According to tvovermind.com, the process takes a lot of time and there is no guarantee what the outcome will be. Therefore, families have to be prepared for anything.
In the show, one mother and daughter who were working together had no idea of the relationship they shared. Another woman who had spent her adulthood searching for her sister discovered that she had been living 2 miles away from her while another could not believe that she had three siblings living 90 minutes away as stated by usmagazine and variety.
TLC’s Long Lost Family has seen years of reuniting families together and because the reunion is just the beginning for these families, the producers so it fit to create a follow-up series Long Lost Family: What Happened Next. The sequel checks on how the families are faring on, how they have built new relationships and the challenges they have faced after reuniting as claimed by ITV.
Another little-known thing is that although Shed Media produces the show for TLC, Ancestry.com also co-sponsors the show, according to tvovermind. This website is without a doubt the largest genealogy company in the world. It mostly uses DNA testing to help people know more about their roots and their ancestry.
The show’s presenters Lisa Joyner and Chris Jacobs are both adoptees. According to tvovermind, Joyner is both an adoptive parent and an adoptee herself. She searched and found her birth family while in her 30’s. Jacobs, on the other hand, was put up for adoption at 22 months and reunited with his birth mom when he was 23 years old. Both are able to relate to searching families in a personal way because they have also gone through the same thing.
Just like most TV series, ratings are important. In order to get high ratings, the show’s hosts sometimes seem to be trying a little too hard to get people to tear up as stated by telegraph. As it is, the whole process of looking for long lost family members is hard and emotional; the presenters do not need to push people’s emotions further especially for higher ratings.
While most reunions end up in the best possible way, some estranged members do not get closure. Karen Waterton, who made an appearance on the show, went searching for her birth parents. However, she later discovered that they were both deceased, which was unfortunate. She never found out why her mother had chosen to abandon her and yet she kept all her other children as express points out.
According to screenrant.com, as much as the events of the show are real and non-fictional, at times the producers can choose to sensationalize the events of the people involved, for the drama and suspense. Sometimes situations can appear to be more astonishing and exciting than they really are.
Some fans and reviewers have already predicted that the show will not last for long. These types of shows have little hidden tricks; there is only so much to keep fans yearning for more. Although each client has a different story, the tracking-down process and the reunion stories are quite similar to each other, as stated by wiki.
The reunions, which take place towards the end of the program, are usually tear-worthy. However, according to the Telegraph, the meet-ups usually have so much tension because of the presence of the production team, camera crew and the millions of viewers who will watch the show. If the events were to be private, they would ease the family members' anxiety.
Long Lost Family receives thousands of applications from searching families. Due to the high costs involved, very few agencies provide such services. Therefore, according to the Telegraph, the show’s cases have to go through vetting and applicants have to go through interviews to ensure that the families have no other intention other than finding their long lost family members.
There are families who look for estranged family members for years, some even for decades. In conjunction with the show, researchers are able to determine where the search might have gone wrong. On top of public records, genealogy documents, and DNA testing, the researchers also make use of their extensive knowledge and experience on social patterns as pointed out by familytreemagazine.
Some cases can take months and others can take years, so viewers hardly ever know just how much time a specific case can take to conclude. According to stuff, the crew and professionals involved sometimes work all year round only to come up with minimal results. Nonetheless, most feel that the work is worth it, not just for the show but also for the people’s lives.
Sometimes the show is unable to help a person because the information provided by the client is so little that it is very hard for them to help. Files handed to the team can have misleading, incorrect, or incomplete information especially for adoptions carried out before the 1970s and therefore this leads to inconclusive ends as stated by stuff.
Other than looking for information in the public records, sometimes the presenters have to fly out to other countries all over the world to find long-lost relatives. These searches can be expensive but at the end of it all, the show’s goal is to solve the majority of its cases and change people’s lives for the better.
The show has a mandate to pass on every information whether good or bad to its clients immediately they make a finding. According to variety, even if a family member does not want his or her relative to find him or her, is deceased or does not want to appear on the show, the presenters have to share this information, however destructive.
The crew and presenters are always unraveling people’s confidential information looking for their relatives; however, some people do not want others to find them due to various reasons. This can put the crew’s lives in danger since on several occasions some people been hostile to them. However, despite such incidents, the crew has continued to put their lives in danger for the sake of the clients.
Sources: yahoo.com, tvovermind.com, express.co.ke, wikipedia.org, itv.com, c21media.net, thewrap.com, screenrant.com, usmagazine.com,variety.com, telegraph.co.uk, familytreemagazine.com, stuff.co.nz, radiotimes.com