Celebrities back Barnardo’s appeal for more adopters by sharing special family photos

Celebrities have shared special photos of happy childhood memories with their adopted or adoptive families to encourage more people to consider adopting through Barnardo’s.

Musician KT Tunstall, Prue Leith CBE, former X Factor star and singer Sinitta and Olympic sprinter Jamie Baulch are just some of the big names that have revealed personal images of their families and fond anecdotes for Barnardo’s Adoption Week, launched on September 10th. Other supporting VIPs include javelin thrower Fatima Whitbread MBE, BMX rider and designer John Buultjens, radio and TV presenter Suzi Mann, and Barnardo’s fostering and adoption ambassadors Lydia Bright and Debbie Douglas.

The UK’s leading children’s charity is calling for more people to consider adopting a child as there are currently 1,089 children* across the UK desperately waiting to find loving, stable families. Barnardo’s is particularly looking for adopters who can welcome older children, siblings, those from different ethnic minorities and disabled children into their lives.  

Adoption provides vulnerable children with an opportunity to have a happy new life, as the stars supporting the campaign can testify.  They have either adopted a child (or two) or were adopted themselves and have shared tender memories and photos of their families.

Musician KT Tunstall who was adopted by David and Rosemarie Tunstall when she was just 18 days old said:

My parents used to take us on these epic hikes in the Scottish highlands as kids. I look back on them with real fondness.

It was lovely family time, hanging out together, camping, enjoying the outdoors. If you feel you could help create a happy childhood for a vulnerable child, please get in touch with Barnardo’s.

KT Tunstall with her dad David, mum Rosemarie and her two brothers on a camping trip

Singer and former X Factor star Sinitta, who adopted her children, said:

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but the most rewarding. My children are the greatest loves of my life. Love is thicker than blood; it’s the love that lasts eternally.

Sinitta and her children

Prue Leith CBE, is pictured on holiday with Cambodian daughter Li-Da, who was orphaned by the Khmer Rouge and adopted at 16 months. She said:

Best decision we ever made.

Prue and her daughter

BMX rider and designer John Buultjens was taken into care aged seven after being injured by his abusive birth father while trying to defend his birth mother.  He was adopted by Eldridge and Marianna Buultjens, who gave him his first BMX. A film is now being made of his life by Hollywood producer Ali Afshar.

John said:

My parents Marianna and Eldridge chose me, and while our DNA doesn’t match, we are a loving family. They opened up a gateway to a positive life I didn’t see possible and thanks to their love and encouragement I am the happy, adventurous person I am today.

John Buultjens with his parents Marianna and Eldridge at his sister’s wedding 10 years ago - Copy

Adopted by his parents aged six, former British sprint athlete and Barnardo’s ambassador Jamie Baulch said:

I had such a lovely childhood. Spending time together to create happy memories and have a good childhood is crucial, as it strengthens family bonds. There are so many children waiting to be adopted who deserve a fulfilling childhood.

Jamie Baulch on holiday with his dad and siblings

Former British javelin thrower Fatima Whitbread MBE added:

Finding the love of the Whitbread family was the best thing that happened to me.  

It is so special to have memories of the happy family events we had during my childhood. I would urge anyone interested to find it in their hearts to give a child a family filled with love and security.

Fatima Whitbread

Radio and TV presenter Suzi Mann, who adopted her nephew, Raffio, said:

Christmas time will always be extra special for me, Sunday 5th December 2011 is when I received the most precious and priceless gift of my life.

Raffio was just 18 months old when he moved in to live with me, and he truly brought a new beginning and purpose to my life. As a single parent, of course, I also had my apprehensions, what ifs and doubts about my ability to be a good parent but just like Christmas morning that instant love, goose bumps of joy and immense fulfilment consumed me, that’s exactly how I feel every single day with my son.

I used to think being a kid at Christmas was the best thing ever, but it turns out having kids at Christmas is.

Suzi and Raffio

Barnardo’s Fostering and Adoption ambassadors Debbie Douglas and her daughter Lydia Bright also spoke passionately about the campaign. Debbie, who has fostered more than 200 children, said:

Having a happy childhood is so important in helping a child learn how to build relationships, friendships and helps them have a positive, happy future.

Lydia added:

If you can find a place in your heart and your family to adopt a child, know you will be changing their lives – and your own – for the better.

Lydia Bright and Debbie Douglas with their family

Barnardo’s supports prospective parents throughout their adoption journey, from the moment of enquiry to matching families and beyond. As part of the support package and depending on individual needs, adopters have access to a range counselling and therapy to help them bond with their child.

Barnardo’s adopter Louisa, 47, from Birmingham, has two sons but after they flew the nest, Louisa decided to extend her family. She said:

I felt valued from the very first day that I contacted Barnardo’s, they’re like a family. I had faith in them and they had faith in me. There was a really good support network and I could speak to other adopters at different stages of their journey, which was a great help.

Louisa, who went on to adopt six-year-old Polly added:

Two years on from the adoption, I feel like I’ve always had her.  I look forward to making memories with her. She knows she’s with me forever because she’s my daughter. It’s been a life-changing experience. She’s an absolute dream and the centre of my universe.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said:

It’s so important to have happy childhood memories, as they help you learn important life lessons, how to treat those around you and how you want your own children to grow up one day.

Sadly, some children have a very difficult start in life and don’t have many positive memories, but you can change that and help them to build a better future.

Whether you are a single parent, an LGBT couple, someone with grown up children or have just always wanted to start a family, we want to hear from you. By opening your heart and your home you really could transform a vulnerable child’s life for the better.

To find out more about adoption, please visit www.barnardos.org.uk/adoption or share your stories on social media using #ISupportAdoption.

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