Currently braving the wilderness in South Africa’s Kruger National Park as part of her stint on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, Ajay Rochester shared her fascinating adoption story with fellow camper and Gogglebox star Angie Kent.
The former Biggest Loser host was adopted shortly after her birth and said she spent her “whole life looking for [her] birth mum”. According a 2015 Instagram post, Ajay says she was “illegally taken” from her mother by the Australian government who put the babies of single mothers up for adoption.
“Two years ago all the heads of Australian government including the prime minister made a formal apology and acknowledgement for all the children stolen from their single mothers in the 50s 60s and 70s. There was a mass cover up where babies were illegally taken from their mothers and the mothers were lied to as were the adopted children,” she wrote on Instagram.
It wasn’t until Ajay was 21, when adoption law changed, that she was given her birth mother’s full name (Kaylene Rochester) and last known location (Orange, NSW), and thus she was able to track her down.
Sharing the story on Sunday night’s episode of I’m a Celebrity, Ajay recalled, “So my best friend and I got in the Yellow Pages and got all the Rochesters in Orange.
“We rang them all, and we lied and said ‘my mum went to school with Kaylene in Orange. They’re organising a school reunion and they just want to know where she is.
“‘Oh yeah, ‘she’s married, she’s in Sydney. Here’s her phone number’ and it was the right one.'”
Watch Ajay share her adoption story on I’m a Celebrity here:
As it turned out, the 49-year-old had already met Kaylene and had known her for the past two years.
“Two years before, my best friend and her sister worked in a theatre restaurant at the Windsor Tavern in Sydney, and I filled in,” Ajay told her camp mates.
“The lady who ran it, her was named Kaylene. She was blonde, and we used to joke, saying ‘She could be your mother’.”
In a striking coincidence, this former boss was indeed Ajay’s birth mother.
“I already knew her. My best friend and I were working for her,” she said.
“[At the meeting], Kaylene’s standing there looking at us thinking, ‘What are you two doing here? I’m waiting to see my daughter’.”