On Monday 4th April, young people from CONNECT Voices held an exclusive event to introduce the Adoption Youth Councils for Wales, and their brand new website. Here are their first-hand accounts of this special evening.


Our journey

Over the last two years we have worked together to form two youth councils named CONNECT Voices, for young people aged 14+ and 18+. The launch event was the culmination of our hard work.

From speaking to various adopted young people, we decided that a website was an essential way to help make change. To decide what to include on the website we shared positive and negative experiences of our adoption.

Our launch event for the youth councils and the website was empowering as the whole event was led by young people. We received CONNECT Voices T-shirts to show pride in representing our team. We were so proud we did it and so proud of all of the young people, especially the under 18 group. We couldn’t have done that when we were their age!

We’re delighted that so many people were able to join us, including AUK members and staff, professionals working within the field, as well as representatives from Welsh Government including Julie Morgan MS, the Deputy Minister for Social Services.

Before the event we felt nervous and shaky – after all this was first time we have presented in real life and in such of a large audience. It felt much scarier than doing it on zoom. All the children watching were very engaged with what we were saying and that helped us all feel less nervous speaking. I liked it when people laughed at my jokes!

We really enjoyed meeting some younger people and their parents and see them engage in different activities and having lots of fun. Other highlights included, giving and listening to some superb speeches and everyone saying how proud they were of us all.

Would we do it again? Definitely!

We made new connections and we truly feel like we are being listened to and it was amazing to have a thanks from Julie Morgan on the night and learn how she is developing legislation and guidance around some of the things we have shared. She called what we were doing, revolutionary!

It’s great that more people will understand our work, that we got to join forces with the younger group face to face for the first time and it felt great to give a voice to all those that couldn’t attend.

When people in the audience approached us to tell us how our speeches have impacted them and how we have inspired younger children and their parents to join CONNECT and Connected it gave us the recognition for our work. A total result!

The only things we’d change about the night is that we wished we’d have thanked the team around us – THANK YOU (you know who you are!). We now have a new beginning for CONNECT voices. We would like to say a massive thank you to all AUK staff and those that have supported us, with running these groups to enable us to get this far and have our voices heard.

by Becca, Emily and Green CONNECT Voices 18+


Our trip to Cardiff

Techniquest, The Senedd, The Principality Stadium, and The Millennium Centre… so many sights to see but this week we went to Techinquest to launch our amazing website! The closer the launch drew, the more anxious I felt. I wanted to make sure our presentation was as amazing as our website.

Lois and I were lucky enough to greet the Deputy Minister, Julie Morgan. This was very important for us as it showed us that our launch and CONNECT Voices was being taken seriously. After meeting and greeting Julie Morgan, it was time for the show to begin. Zoe and I were very anxious when walking to the auditorium as we were discussing something very personal and close to our hearts. 

Emily started off the night by compering. I started to feel more confident as she did such a great job. I felt like my presentation went really well and I was glad to be able to have been a part of such an important launch. 

When Zoe started her speech, I was so, so proud of her – it was very moving. After the presentation so many people told us how the presentation had impacted and inspired them. The whole experience was so rewarding and moving and really strengthened mine and Zoe’s bond with our Connected and adopted community. I felt like I really belonged. 

Julie Morgan also spoke at our launch - it was such a privilege to have such a prominent political figure there. In her speech, she expressed that she wanted to hear our voices on adoption issues. I was thrilled to hear this from such an important figure in policy making, as it made us feel like we adopted young people have a say in policy regarding us and issues that can affect us. Julie Morgan also called our launch and our youth councils ‘revolutionary’, which really helped Lois and I feel like our hard work as well as the connected 18+ group’s work had paid off.  

The main thing we wanted to emphasise was that adopted people do have a community and do fit in. After the launch many young people were interested in joining CONNECT Voices, we were very excited about this as it showed that we had made a substantial change in the future for adopted young people that ensured that our voices would be heard. This was very exciting for Lois and I as this means our community will expand. 

Overall, Cardiff was a great experience and both Zoe and I feel like we’ve made an impact on the future of adopted people which was really exciting for us. But we know that this is only the beginning of our CONNECT journey, and we can’t wait to have more voices join our community. We can make a positive change to adopted young people’s lives and change the understanding of what it truly means to be adopted. 

by Zoe and Lois, CONNECT Voices 14+


Connect is the national service for adopted children and young people in Wales, funded by the National Adoption Service