Monday, 6 December 2010

A look back at National Adoption Week

BAAF's Press Officer, Jane Elston looks back over National Adoption Week.

Our feet are just touching the ground after one of our busiest National Adoption Weeks ever.

As usual our media partners, This Morning and the Sun, both featured children who need to find a family. We received over 400 enquiries for the children which is really encouraging.

Celebrities involved in the campaign this year included Heart Radio Broadcaster Toby Anstis and his twin sister Kate. They shared their experiences of being adopted on This Morning. We were also thrilled to have Lisa Faulkner signed up as an Adoption Champion. Lisa is an adoptive mum and also appeared on This Morning on the Wednesday. She spoke so movingly about adopting her daughter, and hopefully inspired viewers to consider adoption.

We were also delighted when Tim Loughton MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families launched our Adoption Champions scheme. Two of our Adoption Champions, Shegun Olusanya and Kim Checchetto, shared their adoptions stories at the special launch hosted by the Minister (pictured left). They were both so passionate about adoption and great ambassadors for adoption.

Our event at Channel 4 to promote our family finding services was planned for the Wednesday evening. But then disaster struck - a tube strike! Would any of our guests be able to get there? Would we be able to get there? But a mere lack of tubes was not going to stop us – people came by foot, taxi and bicycle. And they were rewarded with hearing BAAF Patron and celebrity hairdresser, Andrew Barton, speak very movingly about being adopted and why he supported BAAF. There were very few dry eyes left in the house.

Bright and early Thursday morning two of our Adoption Champions, Hilary and her daughter Mary were live on BBC Breakfast. The BBC sports presenter and last year’s winner of Strictly Come Dancing, Chris Hollins came into the Green Room and noticed how nervous Mary was. He very kindly gave her a quick tour of the studio and gave her some reassuring tips on being interviewed – what a lovely man!

Mary may have felt nervous, but it didn’t show. She and her mum were fantastic! Hilary explained that although she was over forty and single when she began to consider adoption, she was still welcomed to apply. This year’s National Adoption Week theme was to dispel the myths about who can adopt. BAAF research found that many people were ruling themselves out as adoptive parents because they were not married or thought they were too old. Other misconceptions included that someone had to be heterosexual and own their own home. One person even thought that not being able to swim ruled them out!

Afterwards I had a chance to have a coffee with Hilary and Mary and have a proper chinwag. All our Adoption Champions do such a fantastic job and I rarely get a chance to meet them in person.

Come Friday, we are all exhausted, but happy. There has been widespread coverage of National Adoption Week across the country, from BAAF Patron Clare Grogan being interviewed by the Big Issue, to Adoption Champion Greg Shearman appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live. The campaign was featured in hundreds of newspapers, radio stations and websites. We could not have done it without the support of all our wonderful Adoption Champions, and BAAF members so THANK YOU everyone. And yes, we did have a quick celebratory drink on Friday night!
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