'Adopted' A Poem by Clara, age 12 >
I am adopted.
I am one of millions,
Maybe even billions.
It can make you feel sad or happy;
Or more complex feelings,
Like withdrawn or snappy.
Our stories are all different,
They’re never set in a straight line.
Sometimes parents just can’t care for us,
Are hurt, or committed crime.
When you are adopted,
People act as if you are different.
They talk behind your back,
And give you different treatment.
When you are adopted,
Life is full of laughter.
But then you look back and think,
“Have I a happy ever after?”
Sometimes we get bullied,
And this is really hard.
None of it’s your fault,
But you take it to heart.
People don’t understand,
That that’s too close to home;
You start to isolate yourself,
To be safe, is to be alone.
Some people build walls,
Big, strong, safe ones.
Huge and thick;
They weigh tons and tons.
But these walls, you see,
Aren’t to keep people out.
They’re to see who cares,
To knock them about.
A few people I know,
Have knocked my wall down.
They are the people,
Who will never, ever let me down.
Do you know someone who has built a wall?
How big is the wall?
Is it ever so tall?
Will you knock down the wall,
Give your heart as a home?
To make sure that person,
Is never alone?
We are not so different,
You and me.
I am human, I have feelings,
Can’t you see?
Just because I’m adopted,
Doesn’t mean I’m different.
I’m just like any other person,
Please, don’t give me different treatment.
AT-iD Project Gives Teens a Voice on the Big Screen >
York and Humberside-based project screens independent film ‘Voices’ to a packed-out auditorium in Leeds
On the 31st January, the Adopted Teens Identity (AT-iD) project screened its independent film ‘Voices’ to an auditorium of over 140 guests at the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds.
The feature was produced to raise awareness about the challenges and misconceptions around adoption for older children. It highlights the impact of adoption for teenagers and young adults and its effect on building relationships with families, friends and peers. The teenagers who took part in the film gave this opening to the film:
“I’m a teenager. I also happen to be adopted. When people know this, they think differently about me; sometimes they treat me differently. They come up with ideas about what my life is like without really knowing me at all. So we made this film to let people hear for the first time what we have to say about our own feelings – about the things that are important to us. About what makes us feel angry. We’ve made this to give you the best source of information about teen adoption that you could have – our own voices.”
The afternoon event featured a talk from Mark Owers, professional adviser to the Adoption Leadership board and a Q&A session with the teenagers and group leaders from the film.
Tanya Killick, AT-iD project lead from PAC-UK said: “The feedback we have had following the showcase has been quite astounding, especially regarding the bravery of the teens getting up on stage and answering questions from the audience after the film was screened. We are all extremely proud of those involved and thank everyone for their support on the day.”
Some feedback from members of the audience includes:
‘As a social worker who assesses parents to become adopters, the most fundamental thing I will take away from this film is ‘you’re not just adopting a baby, you’re adopting a teenager’
‘Fantastic to hear the teenagers express their feelings so openly in front of so many people, very moving’
‘I thought the young people today were a true inspiration and extremely empowering’
Peter Sandiford, CEO of PAC-UK said: “Adopted children represent a minority in society and across the education system, which can leave them feeling misunderstood and isolated among their peers and the adults they interact with. The messages in this short film clearly illustrate the complexities of adoption and should be compulsory viewing for all professionals adopted young people might come into contact with. I am proud of the hard work and personal commitment that went into the film – both in front of and behind the camera – and delighted that PAC-UK could play a part in the project.”
AT-iD, a project set up by Yorkshire & Humber Adoption Consortium and delivered by PAC-UK– It was created to provide adopted teens aged between 11 and 18 with a community that offers information and an insight into the experiences of adopted teenagers. The project aims to give a voice to adopted teenagers by providing them with a safe and secure way to discuss problems and issues with their peers or project workers.
The magic of music >
Whether its what album they have just downloaded, or latest lyric they cant get enough of, or how dreamy Shawn Mendes is, Music is always a hot topic of conversation in our group.
As well as having lots of social benefits it also has it has other pretty powerful properties. We use lyrics to relate and make sense of our feelings; the rhythms and melodies or power of someones voice can transform our mood. Plus it also has the powerful links with memory and can transport us to another time and place.
For our group, music is definitely something they turn too to help them relax and so last time AT-iD met I set them a task, ‘whats the top ten songs you’d listen to after a tough day’ Here’s a snapshot from the 60 odd they chose…
Mary Poppins .. a bit of childhood magic
My Chemical Romance
Nat King Cole
'Everyone should go to La Rosa' >
The Journey took only an hour from Leeds. When we arrived at La Rosa we parked in a field and then wandered to La Rosa site where we were greeted by Amanda Boreman, she runs La Rosa and the Open Nest Charity.
We were taken to this circus tent where we were given tasty refreshments such as rose meringue, Victoria sponge cake and chocolate brownies. We also had warm hot chocolate since the weather wasn’t being so nice.
Outside it was drizzly, but that didn’t stop us from being adventurous. We were also met by Heather, she knew a lot about wild life so she asked us if we like to spot some with her special camera! We put some bait down and then left it to capture any photos of anything that walked past, unfortunately that day we weren’t lucky, but it was still a great idea.
Heather then took us on a walk, but this was no ordinary walk, we all were given a piece of card so that we could create a map of the walk. I found Roe deer tracks in the mud so I added that to the map. Also as we went along we had to put a star on our map when she told us too. We had no idea why we had to do this, but she smiled and said ‘all will be reviled later’. So we arrived at this tiny village where there was the most smallest, cute pub which served sandwiches and crisps and to top it off we were all treated to a bag of sweets, YUM!
As we walked back we kept our eyes peeled for the stars on our map and as we came across them we realised it was a treasure hunt! We found biscuits, marshmallows and chocolate. SMORES!! ‘We’re making SMORES!’
I had never made smores before and I was super excited. We were taken to an Indian tipi style tent which had a camp fire inside. We melted the marshmallow and popped them inside the biscuit with the chocolate and sandwiched them together. It was sooooooooo delicious.
Full up of tasty Smores, we then ran back to the main tent when we found a rack of dressing up clothes, so we all decided to have a laugh with each other. There were loads of costumes but my favourites were a ridiculous banana and bear suit.
After we had finished messing around we had a final cake and given bags full of things that might help us de-stress, such as colouring books and candles.
I thoroughly loved it at La Rosa, I would definitely recommend to any of you, that you should go!!
Written by T age 16
With Special thanks to Amanda Boreman and the Open Nest Charity & Heather Louise-Devey from Wild Intrigue.
Facing a room of 150 people, talking regionalisation age 16. >
It wasn’t an average Monday for T, not only was it unseasonally beautiful weather, but T was finishing college early to come talk to 150 professionals and adopters at the annual Being Family conference! Eeeekkk. The task was to talk about regionalisation…The process all local authority and voluntary adoption services in the country are currently going though. With an aim of learning from each other and improving adoption standards. A process that here in Yorkshire, we are integrated into, our teens have a voice, have an influence and a place on the Regional project board.
The task was not an easy feat for anyone, but T arrived calm, collected and cool. I and the other 150 people in the room were wowed by her abilities. On hind sight, maybe she should have been the one to lead the presentation. Not my fumbling self.
She spoke clearly about the people and services that have supported her.. AT-iD being the main one, which I didn’t pay her to say.. Oh actually yes, yes I did, as all members get paid for their time on the AT-iD youth council.
The main thing that stood out for me and I’m sure others, was how much emphasis she put on wanting to help and support other adoptees. Making change that will not benefit her past, but their future.
Her local chill and chat group was discussed and the special events she enjoys, but then came school and unfortunately an all too familiar tale involving lack of sensitivity from fellow pupils and teachers and mis spent pupil premium.
Afterwards as T stood outside the conference hall, person after person approached her to congratulate her and ask her enthusiastic questions.
It was a very proud day and here’s to many more as there is lots more where that came from.
Please download the full presentation here.
Graffiti in the woods >
For AT-iD’s last activity day we decided to do something different. ‘Graffiti isn’t different’ you might think, ‘loads of people run Graffiti workshops, I’ve even been on one before!’
Yes, but…….did it start like this?
And turn into this?
We had no idea when we set off that morning how the day would turn out. I mean you can predict a certain level of awesomeness, but this far outstretched those expectations. We didn’t know that everyone would have such bold, creative designs (which were gently teased out by the skilful Eliot, who led the session) or know how amazing the colours would look with the sunlight shining through. Or even just how well the group would rub along with two new members joining us that day.
It was a pretty unique day with everyone assuring me they had an awesome time… well they would say that wouldn’t they, but you can’t fake those sorts of smiles in near freezing temperatures.
One person made their masterpiece for the front cover of their you tube channel, some even precariously rolled the painted cling film up to take home and stick on their bedroom wall and all probably left with aspirations of becoming the next Banksy!
If you are interested in booking a workshop like this please contact Elliot Wigzell
Hear us here!! >
Ever been interviewed for radio? Despite not having the pressure of a camera it’s an intense experience! How do you talk about the emotive subject of adoption and AT-iD to people who know very little about it??… Listen here to hear our teens step up bravely & enthusiastically to the challenge in an interview conducted by chapel FM young broadcasters.
Here come the Adoptables >
The Adoptables run workshops for adopted Young people across the UK in an effort to reach out and give them a voice on things that matter to them, much like our AT-iD Youth Council.
The Adoptables have created fantastic resources for Adopters, social worker & other professionals.
Top 10 tips for adopters on First 4 Adoption.. a good taster of their work
The ambassador program looks for adoptees who want to represent the bigger voice of our adopted youth, presenting their views at conferences, training and workshops across the UK
The aim of our workshops are to collaborate and become part of the nation wide voice, share ideas and offer another opportunity for our adoptees to have a voice and get involved in something meaningful yet fun.
Watch this space for the result of our joint force!
So what is it our Youth council does exactly? >
Our ‘Youth Council’ are the people who designed this very website, who dreamt up a ‘rant line’ and who wanted to support each other, because they didn’t want other adopted teenagers to feel alone.
Members of the Youth Council treat it with enthusiasm and curiosity and come with an openness that never ceases to humbles us. Neither does their ability to treat each other with respect and sensitivity…. in amongst the humorous banter.
AT-iD’s Youth Council, who is made up of adopted teenagers from across the Yorkshire & Humber region, originally worked on building this service, researching what adopted teenagers like them wanted and how to get it to them. But, now we are here (and growing) our work focus has shifted slightly to explore experiences of adoption and see it through their eyes. Our aim is to learn from each other and inform and there are lots of people willing to listen.
Last year they shared their strong views on school at the PAC-UK Education conference, highlighting how misunderstood they can feel.
Now the Youth Council are working hard on producing a video, focusing on the positives in their lives, but also the parts that they struggle with or lack control over. The aim is help those that come into their lives, be it professionals, family or friends, learn from what has worked for them, who has helped and more importantly how this was done.
For us we get to learn about what ‘adoption’ is for them. For the Youth Council they get to say things they may never get the chance to elsewhere; to learn or develop skills on how to work meaningfully within a group; how to listen to & respect others; Share ideas & build ideas as well as be valued for their time… £5 per hour in monetary terms, priceless in so many others.
If you are interested in becoming a member of our Youth Council, please contact Tanya@pac-uk.org.