On Monday last, I attended a fundraising lunch in aid of AAA-NORCAP (A charity which helps Adults Affected by Adoption - in case you were sending me off to Alcoholics Anonymous...)
It was a fascinating affair - the keynote speaker was journalist and fellow-adoptee Kate Adie. Also present and correct were poet Lemn Sissay, Alan Sillitoe, Sillitoe's wife the poet Ruth fainlight, and feisty MP Clare Short.
Clare Short of course gave up a son for adoption in her teens, and was reunited with him recently. Lemn Sissay was brought up as the only black child in a northern UK children's home, and only discovered his name and heritage much later. Alan Sillitoe donated a handwritten musing/letter for the silent auction. The letter began, "I dont think I'd ever have been adopted..." and it goes on to talk about what a grubby little tyke he was. Lovely warm letter.
Lovely event. I was accompanied by my husband, by fellow-adoptee and good friend Jo B who was so supportive when I was searching for my family, and with lovely writing-friend Sue Guiney.
An anthology has been produced, "Something that never went away" - with contributions from some 30 adults with links to adoption. Either mothers who gave their children away, or children who were given up - as I was. Supporting 'big name' contributions are fantastic - from Tracey Emin (drawing with autobiographical saying), Jo Brand (Cartoon featuring Madonna on the prowl for more kids to adopt), the letter from Alan Sillitoe, another from Joanna Trollope, a poem from Lenny Henry, and things from Kriss Akabusi, Gok Wan, Meera Syal, David Gower, Richard Rogers. And there are a few of us writers, described as 'established' whihc is nice. Nicole J Burton, Valerie Mason-John, Zara H Philips, Jacqueline Walker, Alex Wheatle. And me. I was asked to contribute something, sent a flash piece and a copy or two of my book for raffles and things. A trustee of the charity asked for more. So I have three bits in there. And am very proud of it.
I now have the Sillitoe letter, the original, and shall treasure it. Chris has the Jo Brand cartoon and will treasure that. It makes him laugh.