Kathleen Sullivan was one of many Irish-born babies sold to wealthy US families.
Now 63, the Ohio-raised woman has spoken about her traumatic and confusing childhood.
Sullivan was born to an unmarried woman in the Catholic-ran St. Patrick's Mother and Baby Home in Dublin, on September 15, 1954.
After a harrowing 15 months in the home, she was sold to an American family. The infant was sent to the US with severe physical and emotional problems due to the treatment she endured in St. Patrick's.
The woman spoke to Dublin Live about her tough upbringing as an "unloved" child in Youngstown, Ohio, with the family who "bought her".
"The relationship I had with my father has taken its toll on me. I was always introduced as 'an adopted daughter' and not simply as a daughter. That hurt and it still hurts today," she said.
Confronting her father on his deathbed in 2010, Sullivan was left shook from his final words to her.
"I said to him 'I always got the feeling, you never really wanted me did you?' and he said 'no, I didn't'. That was a year before he passed away. I knew it deep down but it felt terrible to hear it," she recalled.
Sullivan's son Dennis McKinney (pictured above) made contact with well-known Irish researcher, Clodagh Malone, herself a survivor of the same mother baby home.
In a bid to help his mother cope with her traumatic past, Dennis asked Malone to help locate her Irish relations.
Malone (pictured above) would eventually find out that Sullivan, who had previously wrongly been named O'Sullivan, had living relatives in County Carlow.
A friend of Malone's named Maureen Sullivan, also an abuse survivor herself, was eventually able to connect the dots, realizing that Kathleen was her long-lost cousin.
A DNA test proved the relationship. Kathleen's birth mother, Mary, was an aunt of Maureen's.
The women have spoken at length on the phone and are hoping to meet in the future.
"It's a heartbreaking story really, and just all too common in this country. But I'm so grateful to have found her and to be able to give her some little details about her mother," Maureen (pictured below) told Dublin Live.
Kathleen is continuing her search for her mother Mary, whom is believed to be in London.
"I really hope that I can one day come and see Maureen and find out more about my mother. I would so love to see the country I was born in," Kathleen said.