Adoption UK - 50th Anniversary

Adoption UK 50 Years logoAdoption UK is 50! 

50 is a big milestone, and an opportunity to pause, reflect and plan for the futureFor 50 years we have supported, advocated, championed and been there for adoptive families around the UK.

Today our cause is as clear and compelling as ever; to secure the right support at the right time for the children at the heart of every adoptive and kinship care family.  

For Adoption UK, this all began in 1971, when Elvis Presley and The Jackson 5 were in the charts, a gallon of petrol was 33p and two adopters starting running a voluntary organisation from their homes, for adopted children with special needsAdoption has changed a lot since then, and so have we. 

Contact us at [email protected]

Amy and familyAdoption can be seen as a last resort for starting a family, but it was always my first choice. 

My view is, why create more people when so many children already need homes? 

When I was four, seeing footage of starving babies in Ethiopia on John Craven’s Newsround, I told my mum: ‘I’m going to look after those babies when I’m older’. 

At 18, I had a gap year in Zimbabwe in 1997, where I volunteered at an orphanage and fell in love with the continent. 

I then went to Durham University the following year where I met my husband, Ben. On our first date I told him my plan to adopt five children from Africa. We got married in 2001, while still at university. 

Later that year we both went to Tanzania, where we stayed for almost 12 years, first teaching at a primary school and volunteering at an orphanage, then setting up our own non-governmental organisation (NGO). 

In 2003, we adopted Barnabas, then two-and-a-half, and soon after adopted Tia, then six months-old.  

We built our own orphanage Forever Angels as those we had volunteered in were dire and none of the children were being adopted. We started a family reintegration programme and encouraged Tanzanians to adopt. 

We decided to adopt the first baby at the orphanage who was unable to be re-integrated with their family, which is how Molly, then three months-old, came into our lives in 2006. 

We then got to know about a premature baby who weighed just one kilo, whose mum had tuberculosis (TB). We looked after both baby and mum. Before she died, the mum asked us to adopt her baby, Leila, who we had fallen in love with. Leila is profoundly deaf and has developmental delay, the main reason we came back to the UK in 2014, so she could attend a specialist deaf school. 

But before moving back, we adopted Charlie, who had been in our orphanage since he was a baby. He was four-and-a-half and had been due to be adopted by a family, but it fell through.   

Back in the UK I heard a radio appeal about the need for more people to foster children from ethnic minorities. We were told we had too many children to foster, but we could adopt, which is how Ameena, now four, joined our family. 

I still work full-time as the director of Forever Angels where more than 400 of the children – about 80% - have either returned home to their family or been adopted.  

With transracial adoption you cannot just adopt a black child and think ‘love is enough’, it is not. We have surrounded ourselves with black music, art, food, and people. We moved to a more diverse area and we also go back to Tanzania for holidays. 

All our children are amazing and we have a very happy family. Our eldest Barnabas, now aged 20, is in his second year of a law degree.  We are so proud of them all. 

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