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Yinka Sunmonu Consultant | Email: | Design: Thierry Lagrin

SUPPLEMENT ipage 21, 22, 27, 28.


Illustration by Cindy Cheung / @MissieCindz

INSIDE iBALANCING ACTS: Working mums p22 iWRITE IDEA: 12 ways to get children writing p27 iREAL LIVES: Steps to adoption p28

Family Matters

22 | THE VOICE MAY 9 - 15, 2013

Balancing acts

1 1. ABI AND KEMI Mother of one Abi Laditan and Kemi Osinloye, a mother of two, work full time and are also event organisers. Have a schedule… “I wake up every day at 5.30am to catch up on emails from the business and it’s back to administrative work when my day job is done, household tasks finished and the children are in bed following homework and dinner.” says Kemi. Have manners… “I’ve attended business meetings with my daughter when I haven’t had childcare but my contacts

have welcomed us because we’ve built up a rapport”, says Abi. Be polite… “Build support networks as they can be so important”, say both women. 2. JHANIEL Jhaniel Smith, a single mother with two children, works as a sales assistant and has just launched a new business. Plan… “Have a routine. I make clothes for the business between 8pm and 1 am when the kids are in bed.” Focus…”my kids gave me

2 the energy and the boost to make my dreams a reality.” Self-more not self-less… “Make time for yourself.” 3. LAMI African singer songwriter Lami Phillips became a star with her debut album and left the scene to become a stay at home mum. Critics thought it a mistake. She returns with ‘Be the Change’ that encourages women to make the change they want to see. Live life… “Don’t pay attention to “chatter”. Whatever you

We got a great response from readers when asking for their interpretation of “oju lon roju sanu”.

@facesofbodin: It’s having compassion or empathy for what someone else is going through. @facequizite: “It’s the eye that sees the eye to do mercy” @skygillian tweeted: It is when u see someone that u can be merciful. Thanks to @DJ Abass who got the dialogue going.

do people will have an opinion so you might as well live your life and do what makes you happy.” Avoid pride… “Ask for help when needed.” P x3… “Use the three P’s – prayer, prioritisation and persistence.” 4. OLA Mother Ola Ojekwe works as an administrator and also runs a beauty business, which involves working some unsocial hours. Partners… “Take advantage of your partner and enlist his

4 help.” Delegate… “Involve children in tasks and chores.” Invest… “Put in quality family time.” 5. JENNY GARRETT Jenny Garrett is the author of the best selling book ‘Rocking Your Role: the how to guide to success for female breadwinners’. She has a daughter. Flexible working patterns… “On starting out, I dropped down to working four days a week and started building my business on the fifth day.”

5 Share tasks… “My husband and I juggle and share childcare responsibilities. We look at the diary at the beginning of the week to see who is in and who isn’t and plan from there.” Open up… “Children know sometimes how to push your buttons. My daughter at one point really wanted me to be the school dinner lady. She said if I were the school dinner lady, I would be there at lunchtimes. I explained to her that going to work and doing the job I do makes me happy and that if I’m happy, she’ll be happy.”

Krish Kandiah is Churches in Mission and England Director for the UK Evangelical Alliance, a father, adopted dad, foster carer as well as an adoption and fostering champion. He spearheads the Home for Good campaign, which encourages the church to take a greater role in promoting adoption and fostering.

(Adoption Apr. Edition)

@iamlanre: It’s eye that sees the eye that shows compassion.





If a woman’s work is never done, how do working mother’s cope? Toyin Taniyum asks six women how they manage.


amily Matters asked where his interest came from: “My wife’s granddad used to run a children home and so growing up she used to hear stories about him caring for vulnerable children and that was always fresh in her mind. When we got married we always thought of fostering or adoption and just because of our housing situation, we were fresh out of university, had a tiny little house and did not have enough room, we were not allowed to become foster carers. In time, we moved to Oxford, the university provided the house because I was teaching there and it was big enough to have a child. We rang up, got on the process and we’ve loved it ever since. “I think we have to use every avenue available to raise awareness but the most important thing is that we don’t paint either too

negative a picture so some people have this image that the children have no future or hope. “There are wonderful stories of kids who have gone off to do some fantastic things and lead very happy and fulfilled lives. But also, you don’t want to paint too positive or too romantic a picture so that people go in with glazed eyes thinking the children are going to be like Anne of Green Gables. So we need to paint a realistic picture of what’s involved. People need to know the need. Home for Good: making a difference for vulnerable children by Krish Kandiah – is an inspirational and thought provoking read. FOSTER CARE FORTNIGHT (13-26 May) A child goes into care every 22 minutes. 9,000 foster carers need to be recruited this year.

“If all the children in care in the UK today were brought together they would fill the Olympic Stadium” Jackie Sanders, Fostering Network.

Family Matters

MAY 9 - 15, 2013 THE VOICE | 27

The write time


uthor and publisher Sotonye Deru had the idea for a motivational book for black young people. Frustrated with traditional publishers, she wrote No More Excuses, which featured the stories of 16 African Caribbean role models and their journey to success. “I wanted to inspire a generation of young people to become focused and to pursue all the goals and dreams they had,“ she said. At the time, Deru knew nothing about writing or publishing but the urge to tell the story drove her to where she is today. No Excuses was launched at the House of Commons and Deru has become a successful motivational speaker. Book coach Mindy GibbinsKlein also had something important to say when she first set out to write but it could have been a different book if she had followed advice from publishers. “They would ask me to make changes, I did, and they still wouldn’t publish it. All they did was make me doubt myself,” she says. After 100 rejections, she self published a novel based on a friend who developed epilepsy

following an accident. He eventually took his own life. CHALLENGING Though publication took ten years, something significant happened. “My experience consolidated a belief that every book deserves to be written and published”, she said. Writer Tola Onigbanjo, published a book focusing on step parenting because she could not find the answers needed; and Seyi Eyitatyo stayed true to his work with a book on self esteem. The route is not uncommon and there have been successes, notably author E Lynn Harris whose journey started in selfpublishing and led to mainstream and bestselling success, while children’s author Zetta Elliott took the Do-It-Yourself route after her first book won an award. “With young people showing an interest in their heritage and culture and people launching businesses and fairs, I hope that we can see good quality books that cater to our needs and reflect who we are”, says writer Aidan. Writer Stella Oni says, “The

Every which way you look, there has been a boom in self-publishing. Infact, the bestselling novel Shades of Grey, started life as a self-published e-book. Could this be the way to showcase new voices and get important messages across or is it all about vanity and people who cannot write?

world of publishing has changed to a landscape in which you can re-write your future. Self-publishing gives you control and social media provides the forum in which you can shout out loud to the world about your work.”

WRITE IDEA: 12 ways to get children writing Improve your child’s writing skills with these ideas that should help their handwriting too.

MISLEADING But could the new world of publishing mislead people about their capabilities or can it provide an opening for visibility? “It depends,” says writer Myriam Grant who is exploring available options. “There will be people who should leave their manuscript on their laptops and others who may need to self publish initially. I want to see books on parenting as I’m encouraged by the interest that is emerging about our children and how they are parented. It’s time to acknowledge our parenting gurus. “The concept of vanity publishing no longer applies and it’s a great time to write with purpose.”

1. Label a scrapbook. 2. Create a story by cutting words from a magazine. 3. Make up words. 4. Write a tongue twister. 5. Encourage enterprising children to write a business plan. 6. Write about dementia to mark awareness week 19-25th May. “My little sister interacts really well with Granddad because we taught her to agree with him. We made it into a game… the agreeing with Granddad game,” writes Charlotte. There’s a story. 7. Write about sandwiches. National Sandwich week starts 12th May. 8. Write instructions for a game. 9. Critique a film or event. 10. Write a play or video script 11. Devise a quiz 12. Write something using the words: I am, I can, I will…

If you have published a book yourself we would like to hear from you. Contact: marlene.davis@

MA in Therapeutic Fostering and Adoption Commencing September 2013 in London or Manchester In partnership with Middlesex University Developed in consultation with By The Bridge therapeutic fostering organisation, our two-year part time programme provides an in-depth training for those working with children and young people who have been fostered and adopted.

For full details please contact our Academic Coordinator, Joanne Dickie ( or call her on 020 8579 2505/ 020 8832 3087 (direct). Metanoia Institute, 13 North Common Road, Ealing, W5 2QB Registered Charity

Adopt a life The Royal Borough of Greenwich is looking to recruit adopters from all walks of life and especially welcomes enquiries from Black and minority ethnic families who are able to provide a child with a loving, stable and secure home.

Adopt with Royal Greenwich

For details of our information sessions, contact the adoption team on 020 8921 2752 or

28 | THE VOICE MAY 9 - 15, 2013

The Adoption Journey

Family Matters

This month we look at how you can become a parent through adoption. We’ve included details on the things you need to know and how the information you give us -‐ about you and your life – help us find the right child for you. Islington’s adoption team are working hard to complete this part of the process much quicker and we hope to have families approved to adopt a child within six months. It’s a sad fact but most of the children that come into care have been neglected or were at risk of harm, and it is because of these early life experiences that children need to have new families that can offer safe, stable and loving family homes. Your skills and the experiences in your life could help a child – the things we take for granted; belonging to a family, being loved and even our daily routines are some of the most important things a child needs. At the start of your adoption journey, we need to find out about these qualities and Islington’s experienced adoption team will work with you and give you honest advice to help you become the parent you want to be. Linda Charles works with social workers in Islington to encourage more families to adopt and says of the process ‘by nature we are not used to talking about ourselves but social workers need to get a ‘picture of you and your life’. That’s why we ask the questions we do, so the right child can be found for you. Towards the end of your assessment, we are already looking for children you could consider adopting.’

A simple guide to becoming an adoptive parent 1 Contacting the team When you contact us we can send you information about adoption in Islington. If you would like to know more, we’ll talk about adoption, the children waiting and your motivations. We’ll ask you for some basic information about you, your home and your immediate

stage is complete, we will complete a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR). You will be able to read and comment on it and it is then passed to The Panel – this is made up of people with different backgrounds and connections to adoption and specialists in this field. You are invited to attend The Panel meeting. 6 The Decision The Panel then pass their recommendation to the Assistant Director of Children’s Services within Islington Council, who will read your PAR and give a final decision. You will then be ready for the next stage, which is finding a child for you.

family. At this stage we’ll either suggest you attend the next information evening -‐ as this is the perfect opportunity to speak directly with social workers and meet other families who are also thinking about adoption -‐ or provide you with more information about parenting an adopted child to ensure you are ready. 2 Meeting an adoption social worker If we all are keen to proceed, we’ll meet to discuss your circumstances in more detail, and how your home could adapt to a child or children. This session will give you lots of information and you will need to make some decisions about how adoption will affect your life. We will guide you to reading material and other information to help you make a decision 3 Formal Application and References/Checks If we all agree to proceed, you’ll be sent an application form. We will also ask you for the names

of people who we can contact so that we get an insight into your life now and in the past. 4 Preparing you for your new child We’ll invite you to a series of group sessions (four in total), where you and other people who have applied to adopt will find out more about the children who need to be adopted and explore all aspects of adoption. You will meet parents who have already adopted who will share their experiences. We will also tell you about the support and advice you will get from Islington and its consortium partners in adoption support. 5 The Assessment At this point we get to know you really well and talk about the all the things you can offer a child and how that child can be part of your life. We’ll talk about your childhood and other areas of your life that has made you the person you are today – it can feel personal – but as

you go through this part you’ll see how it all the information that you have shared with us help us find children for you. Some of the children waiting have had their own experiences that they will need to deal with as they get older, and whilst we don’t know exactly how each child will develop we need to ensure that each family we assess is emotionally and physically able to support and manage the child they eventually parent. Some families tell us it is at this stage that they find out more about themselves and that they

feel stronger and more able to move onto the next stage of the process. All the sessions take place in the privacy of your home with an adoption social worker who will work with you throughout this time. When this

Next month we’ll tell you how – as an approved adopter – you will hear about the children waiting to be adopted, how they are identified and eventually what it is like meeting them for the first time. We’ll tell you about the support we can provide if you need it.

Don’t count yourself out -‐ Islington’s adoption team want to hear from you – whatever your background. You can be single (divorced or separated), in a couple – married or living together – straight or gay. You can live within or outside the borough of Islington and be under or over 40 years of age – we’re more interested in your experience of life and how you can help a young child and make a difference.


Criteria for prospective adopters: r<RXQHHGWREHRYHU\HDUVRIDJH r5HVLGHQWLQWKH8. r+DYHQRWEHHQFRQYLFWHGFDXWLRQHG for offences against children Whatever your circumstances – if you want to be a parent, please contact us to discuss. Find out more, visit:

The Voice Family Matters May 2013 Edition  

This month we consider the process of adoption, share tips from working mum's on how to keep a balance work and home life. We also discuss...