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In search of my father Joao Lopes: His last known address is Lisbon, Portugal.

My father Joao Lopes was a soldier in the Portuguese army stationed in Goa, then a Portuguese colony for 400 years. He was last stationed at the Bastora Church Barracks in Mapusa Bardez Goa 1958 - 1959...He and my mother Anina de Souza had a brief passionate love affair that resulted in me.

My father had to leave Goa urgently at short notice and they did not have the time to say goodbye, she did not get the chance to tell him that she was pregnant. After a great deal of research the only reason for this ‘ Quick Exit’ was the repatriation of the Portuguese women and children back home to Portugal in the months before the war. Goa was freed from Portuguese rule after a brief conflict...in 1961.

On his return my father wrote many letters offering a hand in marriage. These letters were not passed on by my grandma to my mum, as she was angry with my mum for bringing disrepute to our family. A child out of wedlock was a Taboo. I found these letters 17yrs later when I came on holiday to visit my Grandma in Goa, hidden in a vase, in a deep corner of her antique shop. A fated find!

My mother absconded to Calcutta India, hoping for news from Portugal. As months rolled by it was too late to have me aborted. Due to family pressure and being jobless she decided to give me up for adoption. She went to Mother Teresa in Calcutta to seek her help.

Her English boss called Mr Capstick...is a man I would like to meet and thank...an honourable English gentleman...if I were to give him an award of some sort that would be the title. My mother recalls her interview sitting alongside women dressed to kill, she was competing for the job in tatty clothes and rubber slippers, she passed the shorthand and typing test....and she got the job. She worked for a British Company called General Electric, later called AEI now known as Genelec ltd for the next twenty years until her retirement.

I asked my mother...why she changed her mind years later...she replied…'That beautiful smile you gave me and I could afford to look after you'... She did hire nannies.

A few months later she met a man called Henry Joseph...His brother Joseph Stephens was a very well respected and talented architect in Calcutta. Henry Joseph christened me his child and I assumed his name ... Juliana Marina Joseph. I grew up to call him my dad, but had a rude awakening by my half sister. At the age of ten I had a near death experience and came back from the other side!

 My step father died a year or two later ... I was put in the Loreto Convent Calcutta where I was educated by the English and Irish nuns ... No words can express my gratitude for the education and inspiration they gave me. If I had not read those opened letters I would not search for him. The love letters he wrote to my mother was misplaced, by my husband. I have been searching for my father ever since I found them.

I wrote the Military chief in Portugal, but they needed his date of birth, and my mother cannot remember. I recently went to Portugal and with the help of a close friend, a young Portuguese lad we telephoned every single Joao Lopes that lives in Lisbon. We went on a mission to the military archives, came back disappointed. I contacted the TV company called SIC and spoke to a guy called Carlos who is also helping me ... If any one should recognise my father's face please get in contact with me ASAP. I have been trying to make my mother's wish come true ... she is now turning old and is desperate to get in touch with him to tell him I exist.

My request to my father’s family in Lisbon Portugal: This information may come as a surprise to you, but please don’t be upset with my mother and my father. ‘They fell in love and broke the rules.’ I would love to meet my extended family and I hope you will find it in your hearts to accept me as a friend, or a relative. If my father is alive I will be overjoyed to meet him.

If he is dead then I would request the permission to place a rose on his grave. I will only keep any future contact if you wish to do so. If not, I will walk away. I am doing this for my mother, to make her last wish come true, and I need your help as my father does not know I exist.

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