Find out more about Adoption UK's celebrity ambassadors
Two medal-winning Olympians, a legendary broadcaster and a West End musical star reveal why they have all agreed to become ambassadors for Adoption UK.
In 2017, Olympian, World Champion and adoptee, Jamie Baulch agreed to fly the flag for Adoption UK.
The former British sprint athlete won the 400 metres gold medal at the 1999 World Indoor Championships – and as a member of British 4 x 400 metres relay teams, won a gold medal at the 1997 World Championships, and solver at the 1996 Olympic Games.
Jamie was born in Nottingham, but raised by his adoptive parents in Risca, near Newport, Wales. In 2016 Jamie made a TV documentary for the BBC Being Jamie Baulch: The Search for My Birth Dad, in which he goes in search of his biological father, who he believes to be Jamaican, and the source of his speed. In a previous Bafta Cymru-winning BBC documentary Jamie Baulch: Looking For My Birth Mum (clip below), Jamie went on an emotional journey looking for his birth mother. In the end he found her, met with her for the first time and showed her his athletics medals.
Jamie said: “I’m glad I was adopted as it gave me a second chance in life. It feels like I was chosen. Without the love and guidance of my adoptive parents I may not have had the opportunity to become an athlete and consequently a World Champion and Olympic medallist.”
Tessa Sanderson CBE
Olympic gold medallist and adoptive parent, Tessa Sanderson CBE was the first high profile name to agree to become an ambassador for Adoption UK.
Tessa won gold in the women’s javelin at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and became a mother at the age of 58 when she and her husband, fellow Olympian, Densign White adopted twins.
Tessa and Densign were interviewed in Hello magazine and a number of national newspapers in 2016 about their decision to adopt their twins later in life.
'Champion Adoption UK’s campaigns'
Tessa, who competed in six Olympic Games between 1976 and 1996, said: “As an adoptive parent myself, I understand the issues facing adoptive families today. This is why I want to champion Adoption UK’s campaigns and help to persuade decision-makers across the UK to give all adoptive families the right to timely and appropriate support.”
Nicky Campbell OBE
Broadcaster and adoptee Nicky Campbell OBE has also agreed to become an Adoption UK ambassador.
Nicky, co host of ITV’s Long Lost Family, helped Adoption UK to gain high-profile media coverage after agreeing to be interviewed by various media, including BBC Scotland and The Sunday Times, on the opening day of Scotland’s first ever adoption week in November 2016.
Nicky, who also presents BBC Radio 5 Live’s breakfast show, said: “Adoption has changed dramatically since I was adopted as a baby but I know how it can be a hugely transformative experience for both children and their families. I’m incredibly grateful to my adoptive parents who selflessly took me in as their own and provided a loving and stable family home.
Nicky is also proud to support the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Nicky sees his two ‘causes’ - adoption and conservation - as inextricably linked, because they are both about a better future and a better world. Click here to watch a film that Nicky helped to produce for the elephant orphanage.
The third celebrity to become an ambassador for Adoption UK is the actress and singer Shona White.
Shona, who is an adoptee, has had starring roles in West End shows, including Chess, Wicked, Les Miserables, Shout, Mamma Mia and Rocky Horror.
Shona said: "I was very flattered to be asked to become an ambassador for the charity. As an adoptee it is a subject very close to my heart so if I can help Adoption UK to keep offering the support that the charity provides to families, then I will be honoured to do so."
My parents are wonderful and are my 'real parents' full stop!
Shona continued: "I am very lucky as I've always known I was adopted because Mum and Dad told me from a very young age. My parents are wonderful and are my 'real parents' full stop! It is something I am proud of and what an incredible thing for them to have done. They have been a constant support to me no matter what, which is just what all parents do for their kids right? I always felt special and chosen," she added.
It is vitally important for charities like Adoption UK to have high-profile ambassadors as they help us to attract finances, offer moral support to our campaigns and help to influence and educate the wider-world about the challenges facing today's adoptive families.
Adoptee, author and BMX superstar John Buultjens is the latest addition to our team of ambassadors.
John grew up in Glasgow where he experienced violence at the hands of his birth father and was placed in care aged seven. He suffered burns after being thrown in a fire and was knocked out by his father during one attack.
After being placed in care on Christmas Eve, John was fostered at the age of ten and his foster parents went on to adopt him.
After being adopted, John became a professional BMX rider and he is now the global brand manager for Haro BMX Bikes in 80 countries around the world.
John wrote an account of his amazing yet turbulent life in his book, Ride. In 2018, he will be starring in a film of the same name produced by ESX Entertainment. In this big budget production – filmed in California – John plays his abusive father.
When asked about his new role, John said: “I’m honoured to have been asked to be an ambassador for Adoption UK and I’m so proud to be working with this amazing organisation. I know what a fantastic job adoptive parents do for their children and I owe everything to my adoptive parents – they are my role models. It means everything to me that I can make them so proud today.”
Click on the links below to see how our ambassadors have already helped to raise the profile of Adoption UK.