Monday, 7 December 2009

NORCAP lunch at House of Commons

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.


SueG said...

It was a real honour -- not to mention great fun to accompany, V. Thanks so much for including me. xoxo

Sue said...

V, you've come so far, even in the time I've known you. You should be proud of that. And I'm always on the look-out for D Bruton's and will shout it out at any opportunity.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Thanks for your company! Wasn't it a wonderful, extraordinary poignant occasion? I will never forget Lemn Sissay in his speech, telling us that technically, a child in care has the Government as parent. "So Margaret Thatcher was my mother - " he said, to riotous laughter.

At the table, we worked out that for almost a year, Winston Churchill was my father. Ha!

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Sue - thank you so very much for your lovely post. You are instrumental in whatever I achieve, and I thank you for that too!