FAMILY MATTERS NOVEMBER 8 - 14, 2012 Yinka Sunmonu Consultant | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | ADOPTION SPECIAL › page 21, 22, 27, 28
› Revealed (p2)
How adoption changed our lives
Religion plays its part
15 Ways to mark National Adoption Week
22 | THE VOICE NOVEMBER 8 - 14, 2012
How adoption changed our lives Arata and Lawei Baffour are twins who were adopted when they were toddlers. Their stories were featured with their mother Sally, as children, in the recent Adoption & Fostering supplements. They are now 22. Arata is studying law and aims to become a solicitor. Lawei has been recording music professionally for almost five years and uses Lifelines as his stage moniker. He has been nominated for an MTV Brand New Award for 2013. Yinka Sunmonu caught up with them.
ARATA: Talented law student aiming to become a solicitor
We hear the words ‘adopted children’ so often even when the adoptions are established. Do you think you’ve lived with that label?
very understanding, accepting and receptive to the whole concept of being adopted.
Arata: I don’t think we have
for me by photographs and when I was looking through photographs a while back, I saw a picture of Mummy, Lawei and I in the park with a little picnic basket. I had my pink lunch box and my hair was done and Lawei had a blue lunch box and he had shorts on. It was just the ultimate cute day. Looking back, I wouldn’t have remembered that if the picture wasn’t there. I never thought my mother was the type to do picnics and parks and things but when I saw the picture, I thought ‘oh that’s so cute, I think I remember that day’. I remember at lunch time everybody at school had Coca-Cola but mummy would never let us drink it, I can’t remember why. But then that day, Mum-
but then I don’t know whether people who are born naturally to their families live life with the label “birth children”. To my knowledge and up to my experiences, I haven’t lived with the label adopted children apart from when we participate in adoption week and other things like that.
Lawei: Not really. From a young age, everyone that we used to move with as friends knew that we were adopted. If anything, it was just a situation where all of our peers were very curious as to what adoption is really about and how it works because there is a lot of stereotyping with adoption. We actually had good friends growing up who were
What’s a favourite memory? Arata: Memories are triggered
my went to buy Coca-Cola, we went to sit in the park and we drank it with our picnic. I thought that was so cute. I was so happy! The next day at school I told my friends we had Coca-Cola and they all looked at me like, what? Really? Lawei: One memory that will
never leave me is when we were waiting be collected by Sally, our adoptive mum, and we were outside the foster carer’s home and my mum and her partner at the time came to pick us up. We were all prepared with our bags sitting at the doorstep. I remember walking into the car we had at that time. It was a red Ford. The car was called Lucky B and it was the best car ever, even to this day. There was one day that the car must have broken down or had some kind of minor accident as it left a slight stain on the driveway in front of the house. Every time I walk into
LAWEI: Nominated for MTV Brand New Award 2013
the house and I see the little remnant of the stain, I always remember that Lucky B car. What have you learnt about family so far? Arata: I’ve learnt that blood
relations does not equal family. In that sense, I mean that you can have a biological sister and technically she is your family member but you can have a fallout and you never hear from her again until you hear that they have died one day. But then, you can meet somebody in primary school and they remain your best friend throughout your whole life and you call that person more of a sister than your biological sister. Family to me is not linked to being blood related. You choose your family, kind of.
Lawei: Family is all you have so it’s very important to be respectful and to be loyal to family because at the end of the day, when anything goes
wrong, they are always the ones who are going to be there. Keeping them close and treating them with as much respect as possible is very important. What are you up to now? Arata: I’m at the College of
Law doing a law degree. I’ve always been interested in the finding-things- out aspects of life. I wanted to be a police officer and then I went through a stage of wanting to join the MI5 or MI6. Even when I studied in America, I studied there for two and a half years, I was interested in the FBI. So for careers it’s always been about policing. I used to watch a lot of CSI and things, so I guess that’s what influenced that. While studying in America I became more and more knowledgeable about the civil rights movement. I realised that lawyers were the ones that would have had to redraft the constitution to allow it to
incorporate black people and the new law that was being implemented. I thought then that being a lawyer was the way to be and that’s what I’ve stuck to. I hope to become a solicitor and I want to be employed by a firm and act on behalf of corporations. Lawei: I’m a recording artist now and it’s been going very well. I’ve signed a management deal and everything is looking very healthy and prosperous. By the grace of God everything shall move up in the right way. I’m enjoying life very much.
You can listen to Lawei’s music @ twitter.com/lifelinesmusic where you’ll find details of what he’s up to and information on voting for the MTV 2013 awards.
NOVEMBER 8 - 14, 2012 THE VOICE | 27
Adopting faith C hurches continue to have an important role to play in finding homes for children needing adoption, writes Toyin Taniyum, and the launch of Adoption Sunday on 4 November could see a groundswell in the number of adopters coming forward. Launched by Oxfordshire’s churches, it is hoped that homes may be found for the 440 children in Oxfordshire and around 12,000 in other parts of the country. Krish Kandiah, Executive Director of Churches in Mission for the Evangelical Alliance who devised Adoption Sunday, says: “Our aim through Adoption Sunday is to encourage more people to step forward for adoption and for the Church to do its best to support and encourage them. With so many children waiting for adoption we need to do everything we can to help these children, especially those deemed hard to place, to find a home for good.” Such initiatives have proved very important. Since 2009, participation in Orphan Sunday events, run by Christian Alliance for Orphans in America,
have resulted in thousands of Americans participating in fundraising, sermons, youth activities and food celebrations. Globally, there were celebrations in 22 countries including Russia, the Philippines and the Ukraine last year. People with religious affiliations are an important group. A PACT charity survey of 75 of its adopters approved in the last two years shows that 51% were Christian and 16% Muslim. Many of the adopters cited their faith as a reason to adopt. Yet prospective adopters from these groups may not come forward. According to Krish Kandiah “While prospective adopters
fear that following a religion may be frowned upon by secular adoption services in this country, this is simply a myth which we are keen to dispel.” Adoption Sunday is expected to be rolled out nationally in 2013. Ali’s story Ali, a Christian, adopted two children through PACT. “In Romans 8 we read that through becoming Christians, we are adopted as God’s children and heirs. This could be the reason that I felt so supported by my church family when adopting our two daughters–it wasn’t just our immediate family that welcomed two new peo-
ADOPTION AROUND THE WORLD v November is National Adoption Month in America. The Saturday before Thanksgiving Day is designated National Adoption Day when hundreds of adoptions are finalised simultaneously with the children and adoptive families appearing in court. It also serves as a day to raise awareness, and celebrate adoptive families.
v Australia celebrates National Adoption Awareness
Week from 11-17 November. We ask: Should there be a National Adoption Day in the UK? Tweet: @adoptionnoire
Marley is a five year old boy. He is a really bright and inquisitive child who is described as a fun and caring.
ple, but our church family as well.” “I knew early on that I would need God’s support and guidance all the way through the process and through their prayers and very practical support my local church was with me every step of the way. In times of stress, bad news and disappointment through my faith and belief in God, I was given the gifts I needed to pass through those stages – patience in bucket loads, encouragement, kindness, acceptance and loads and loads of joy! God wants all that’s best for us, in the same way as we want the best for our children. He’s a great role mode to have as a fellow adopter!” NEWS BYTES Slice of inspiration
Former Miss Zambia Rosemary Chileshe, CEO of Swanilenga Group Ltd, has launched the 50 ‘2’ project, which profiles 52 inspirational people including: Efe Ezekiel, a youth mentor who has launched Ushine Ishine to empower young people. Motto for life “Do good and greater will follow you.” Alicia Hixon, founder of C.A.M.S (Creative Artistic Media Services) established to raise funds to empower young people in the UK and to help educate children in third world DP12 0635 - Adopt Advert (The Voice):Layout 1 countries.
INSPIRATIONAL: Rosemary Chileshe 5/11/12 15:44 Page 1
The life you change will be yours.
Could you offer love, care and commitment to a child who may have had a difficult start in life? Adopting a child could be the most rewarding thing you do. Marley loves anything to do with Thomas the Tank engine and can name all the characters. He is even sleeping in a Thomas the Tank engine bed! Marley really enjoys being outside, going to the park and playing football. He likes spending time with both adults and children and positively interacts with those around him, although he does prefer the company of adults. Marley is an affectionate child who likes being tickled and getting hugs. Recently he has developed a keen interest in the planets and has also enrolled in drama classes! Marley thrives on one to one attention and has lots to say about everything around him. Marley has been
responding well to the guidance and boundaries implemented in his foster family, in particular positive praise and his star chart. This has also had a positive impact upon his achievements at school. Due to Marley’s birth parents alcohol and substance misuse and the problems associated with this he was unable to remain in their care and was removed in March 2011. Marley is of mixed heritage; his birth mother is Iranian Kurdish/Jamaican and his Birth Father is White UK. He requires a one or two parent adoptive family which can reflect or actively develop his ethnic and cultural identify. Legal Status: Placement Order Contact: Letterbox contact with birth mother and father. Flexible contact arrangements with paternal grandmother.
For Further information please contact Louise Goligher, Social Worker on 020 8356 6338 or e-mail email@example.com London Borough of Hackney, 1 Hillman Street E8 1DY
We welcome people of all backgrounds, cultures and religions, people who are married, single, co-habiting, divorced, lesbian or gay. We particularly welcome enquiries from black, Caribbean and black African families and people who are of mixed parentage or in mixed relationships. Some of our children need loving families who can support their therapeutic and special educational needs. Could this be you? We provide lots of support throughout and after the adoption journey and Adoption support packages.
To find out more: Join us at our Open Evening
Wednesday 14 November Waltham Forest Town Hall (Room 2) Forest Road, Walthamstow E17 4JF (6:30pm-8:30pm)
Call 020 8496 3000 for further information or
020 8496 1588 to speak to a member of the Adoption Team directly (9am–5pm, Mon–Fri)
email: firstname.lastname@example.org visit: www.walthamforest.gov.uk/adoptandfoster
28 | THE VOICE NOVEMBER 8 - 14, 2012
Ways to mark National Adoption Week 15 during its 15th year and beyond
1 Follow: @adoptionnoire on twitter. 2 Raise awareness in your place of work through a lunch time seminar, the intranet, extranet or newsletter. 3 Create a photobook with stories. 4 Cook with children or teens. Get ideas from: @afropolitanchef, which has links to delectable recipes. 5 Check ‘The Essential Adoption Guide’, published by Beacon Hill. It provides training with insights into the adoption process. 6 Mentor: the power of mentoring cannot be overstated. 7 Read ‘Yes, Chef: a memoir’ by Marcus Samuelsson, published by Random House, about transracial adoption and his success in the food world. 8 Become a child advocate. 9 Discuss adoption over tea and cake. For places to go, check ‘Tea and cake London’ by Zena Alkayat, a delightful book with wonderful places visited by the author. You’ll be hooked! 10. Arrange a drawing party for children and friends and collate pages.
11. Help Action for Children recruit 10 more families by April 2013 by sharing their Facebook comments and reposting their tweets: @aslongasittakes 12. Eat out! The award winning Riverside Vegetaria, Kingston has a reputation for friendliness, making customers feel part of the family and good food. Could we see restaurants participating in National Adoption Week celebrations? 13. Listen to people’s adoption stories on Youtube. 14. Light a candle for children waiting for adoption or foster care. 15. Encourage your church to raise awareness of children needing adoption and fostering via a service, newsletters or events.
GIFT OF ADOPTION Although a family is the greatest gift you will give, think of some keepsakes for your adopted child or young person when they arrive home or for their ‘adoption day’. CUSTOMISED SHOES Think of the themes in the films
Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz and Like Mike, how about a pair of customised shoes that could be placed in a frame in their room? (See last week’s edition). Shoe designer Dionne Gooding offers an exclusive service and can ‘recycle’ shoes so imagine finding a treasured pair. PAINTING Commission a portrait, sketch or caricature of the family or child. PHOTOGRAPHS How about a photo of the environment where the child is coming to stay placed in a frame with a proverb or saying? It could be a picture of the sky on the day, the house, a room, improvise! Better still, change it into a poster.
THE FIGURES SHOW… v 644 black and minority
ethnic children and 174 black and minority ethnic adopters were referred to the Adoption Register for England and Wales.
v Overall, 2,536 children
and 744 adopters were referred. (Source: Annual Report 2011/12, Adoption Register for England and Wales.) ADOPTERS: Carrie and David Grant
JEWELLERY A piece of engraved jewellry or potential heirloom would say a lot. SAY IT IN WORDS Do something really old fashioned and have a letter carved in stone.
towards others. Annie is described as a child who
enjoys sharing and she is good with children. towards others. Annie is described as ayounger child who She has a warm enjoys sharing andsmile. she is good with younger children. She has a warm smile.
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learning new words daily. Annie has no known health Annie born – 2010
learning new words daily. Annie has no known health
concern. Annie and Ashley are full siblings and are concern. settled their foster placement. They have Anniein has good attachment withher herbrother. brother. Annie has a agood attachment with Annie and Ashley are full with siblings and formed a good relationship their fosare settled in their foster placement. ter Family carers needed and other family members within Familyhave needed They formed a good relationship the household. Annie and Ashley are currently by a two with their foster carers andforfor other A loving, nurturing and cared patient Annie and Ashley are currently cared byfamily a two is parent family. Annie has a very good relationship family members the household. parent family. Anniechildren. haswithin aand very good needed these They have been with herfor male foster carer, she hadrelationship a close bond with herbirth male fosterIt carer, and had a for close with her father. would beshe desirable herbond to A loving, nurturing and patient family in care since July 2011. be placed with afather. two parent family with a male figure. with her birth It would be desirable for her to is needed for these children. They Ashley has good to all members of his beisplaced withyears aattachment twoold parent family male figure. Ashley just four years old, with he isadescribed foster carers’ household. Tosince meet both children’s have been inattachment care July 2011. his Ashley has good to all members as loveable, kind hearted, and caring. His fosterofcarers needs they benefit from living in a household with
Mosaic Adoption and Permanency Service Finding and supporting families for black, minority ethnic and mixed parentage babies and children
Mosaic Adoption and Permanency Service was formally Adoption Black Families
We’re with you every step of the way Could you share your life with vulnerable children who may not get the chance to be adopted such as older children or brother and sister groups? If so, Mosaic Adoption and Permanency Service will provide you with extensive training and support from an experienced, friendly and responsive team, for as long as it takes. Our passionate team reflects the ethnic diversity of the families we work with.
Call 0845 603 3398 or visit actionforchildren.org.uk/adoption
concern. Ashley likes most food and his hair being braided. Annie a good with He does has not like milk attachment in his cereal or hisher hairbrother. being washed. He enjoys playing games and reading books. Ashley has no known serious health problems and Family needed. isAnnie progressing well. are currently cared for and Ashley
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For Further information please contact Joan McPherson on 0208 356 6302 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org London Borough of Hackney, 1 Hillman Street E8 1DY
Transform a child’s life and yours. Adopt Registered charity nos. 1097940/SC038092 Company no. 4764232 Produced by Action for Children 09/2012. 12/13/0128
Annie will need to be the youngest child in her family.
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Published on Nov 8, 2012
In this edition we reveal how adoption changed the lives of two siblings. The role faith plays in adopting and we outline 15 ways you could...