Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'The Best Approach for Me Is Creating Awareness about Adoption So That More People Will Go for It' ; National Adoption Week Next Week Aims to Encourage More of Us to Provide a Family for Children in Care. A Key Focus Will Be on Children from Black and Ethnic Minority Groups Who Are Four Times Less Likely to Be Adopted Than White Children. Paul Taylor Reports

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'The Best Approach for Me Is Creating Awareness about Adoption So That More People Will Go for It' ; National Adoption Week Next Week Aims to Encourage More of Us to Provide a Family for Children in Care. A Key Focus Will Be on Children from Black and Ethnic Minority Groups Who Are Four Times Less Likely to Be Adopted Than White Children. Paul Taylor Reports

Article excerpt

BERNARD Nwaiwu simply loves being surrounded by children. "It's just a passion. It makes us happy," says Bernard, who moved to the UK with wife Stella and their two sons six years ago.

"Both of us came from large families. My own parents had nine children - I'm the fifth - and my wife the same; there are seven in her family.

"My brothers and sisters all have large families as well, and so do my wife's sisters and brothers. In our spare time we like to take care of friends' children.

We look at this from two perspectives: our Christian obligation, as well as the perspective that having children around us keeps us happy."

The couple have been approved as adopters by Families that Last - the adoption agency arm of the Manchesterbased charity After Adoption - and are now at the stage of waiting to be matched with one or two children who will be adopted siblings to their own sons Kelechi, aged 10, and Michael, nine. But while going through that process, the Nwaiwus realised that there were not nearly enough black adopters like them. And they decided to do something about it.

On Monday, at the Levenshulme Inspire community centre on Stockport Road, Levenshulme, they will be joined by social workers who will explain to all-comers what is involved in adoption.

The drop-in event - from noon to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm - has been publicised through local churches and shops, and the hope is to raise awareness about adoption among people in general but black and ethnic minorities in particular. "It is discouraging that out of 3,000 children adopted last year, just about 90 were from black and ethnic minority groups," says Bernard, aged 41.

"It is quite agonising. You see some children, eight or nine years old, still in foster care, and nobody ever bothered adopting these children. The best approach for me is creating awareness about adoption so that more people will go for it.

"Most of us take our parents for granted. It's not something you should be taking for granted. Children in foster care do not have that luxury. Although their foster carers will be taking good care of them, there is still something missing from these children's lives. They may not come out and say it openly, but they feel it."

Bernard qualified as an accountant in Nigeria before coming to the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme.

He did an MSc in international development at Birmingham University, and is also completing accountancy qualifications in the UK. For now, he is working part-time as a web designer and, in the evening, as a porter at the Palace Hotel, Manchester. …

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