My Forever Family: an adoption story

The world media ran stories about this family in West Virginia, United States who have 34 children and counting.  An incredible story of love and sacrifice, I heard about the couple today. The more I read, the more captivated I am about this show of love. How many people out their can open up their hearts and homes to adopt one child, let alone 29? Some of the children they adopted have special needs as well. Not easy.

The amazing story  of  Jeanne and Paul Briggs caught the world’s attention in November 2014. With five biological children of their own, Jeane and Paul have adopted children from Mexico, Ghana, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

‘Over the past 29 years, as more children  have arrived, the Brigg’s house has been adapted for their expanding family. The home now has nine bedrooms, two of which resemble dormitories at over 5,000 square feet. According to the BBC website, they spend £640 every week grocery shopping.

The question is why do they do it? Or perhaps, why not? Some of these children have medical needs, this has not deterred Jeane and Paul. Jane said ‘ I guess all my life, even as a child, I knew I would adopt and have a large family. Every child deserves a home’.

Adoption is a beautiful thing and more of us should try adopting. It is an option, I for one, would consider later on in life. I would love to adopt a four year old girl, so she could be a sister to my daughter. I know I have a lot to  offer, but at the right time. I think.

I have one or maybe even two friends, who have adopted  and I like what I see. I think more people should consider adopting a child… there are about 6,000 children in the UK who need adopting. Children who need hugs, children who need the safety and security of a loving home, children who want to give all of themselves back to a someone in return. The UK government is trying to speed up the process of adoption. Right now, it takes about two years and seven months.

To be adopted in the UK, a child must be under the age of 18 when the adoption application is made and the child must not have been married or  be in a civil partnership.

The child’s birth parents normally must agree to the adoption unless, they can’t be found or they are incapable of giving consent  or the child would be put at risk if they were not adopted.

The ultimate question is who can adopt in the UK? Can I adopt?  The answer is simple. You may be able to adopt a child if you are aged 21 or over.  I watched BBC documentary on the effect of fostering and adoption earlier on today and it broke my heart. If I could, I would open my home right now to every child who needs a home. But, it is not that simple. Heaven help!

Currently, there is no upper age limit to adopting.  You do not have to be married either. You can be single,married, in a civil partnership, unmarried or be the partner of the child’s parent.

According to http://www.gov.uk/child-adoption, to adopt, you can either  go through an adoption agency that is part of your local council or a voluntary adoption agency. There are about 6,000 children across the UK needing adoption every year. These children come from a range of  backgrounds which include  Black African, Caribbean, Asian and mixed ethnicity.

According to the website: http://www.baaf.org, the number of BME children who are looked after by a local authority is increasing  year on year. The majority of these children are over  five years old and in need of families to provide them with permanent homes. Of course, there is support is available  through the process. The support may be through the help of a social worker allocated, professional training to assist with the task of fostering and financial renumeration.

Here is a video to raise awareness about adoption from across Wales. Heart warming stories about finding the ‘forever family’. Video from http://www.baaf.org.uk.

For more on the Briggs family, please visit their blog: blessedbyachild.blogspot.co.uk.

Images from http://www.bbc.co.uk and blessedbyachild.blogspot.co.uk.

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'I will wait for you' Janette Mcghee

I watched this video by poet and spoken word artiste Janette Mcghee  last year and something in the service this morning brought it back to mind. I remember feeling alive and empowered after watching it. Janette spoke about rushing into relationship she knew she had no business getting into, to quench her ‘thirst’ and to manage her ‘boredom’. She spoke about making him ‘the one’ even though she knew  he wasn’t the ‘one’. This is a sentiment many girls/ ladies/women would resonate with.  Ultimately, she shares with her audience the conviction that it was best to wait, that she would wait for the one. Even if it means  she would never get married.

I think every girl should learn the words of this poem. I think this poem should be read in schools’ assemblies, I think this poem should be played on the radio. I thought to share it with you.

P4CM videos are a series of short video scripture and devotionals, for more on their videos. Please visit http://www.P4CM.com.

 

I WILL WAIT FOR YOU BY JANETTE IKZ

So it seemed that it was cool, for everyone to be in a relationship but me.
So I took matters into my own hands, and ended up with him.
Him who displayed the characteristics of a cheater, a liar, an abuser, & a thief.

JanetteIKz

So why was I surprised when he broke into my heart?
I called 911, but I was cardiac arrested for aiding and abetting,
Cause it was me who let him in…
Claiming we were “just friends”.
It was already decided for me by the first date, that even if he wasn’t!
I was gonna make him ‘The One’
You know, I was tired of being alone.
And I simply made up in my mind, that it was about that time,

So I decided to drag him along for the ride,
Cause I was always the bridesmaid & never the bride.
A virgin in the physical, but mentally just a grown woman on the corner in heat!
Who was tired of the wait!
So I was gonna make him ‘The One’.
He had a… form of Godliness… but not much.
But hey, hey I can change him! So (honey) I’ll TAKE him, I mean he’s close… enough.
Ready to sell my aorta for a quarter, not knowing the value of its use to me.

Arteries so clogged with my will, it blocked His will from flowing through me.
So, I thank Christ that His blood pressure gave this heart an attack,
That flatlined my obscured vision, put me flat on my back
Through my ignorance He sawed,
Through my sternum He sawed & cracked open my chest
To transplant Psalm 51:10
A new heart & a renewed right spirit within!

So now I fully understand,
Better yet I thoroughly comprehend,
How much I need to wait… for You.
See, the bad thing is that I knew he wasn’t you from the beginning..
Cause in the beginning was the Word
And he didn’t even sound or shine like Your Son
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,
And all he could whisper was sweet, empty nothings –
Which meant NOTHING.
He couldn’t even pray when I needed him to,
Asking him to fast would be absurd!
So forget about being cleansed & washed with water through the Word…
But I know You..
You were already praying for me.
Even never having met me,
Let me assure you, I will wait for you.

I will no longer date, socialize or communicate with carbon copies of you
To appease my boredom or to quench my thirstiness I have for attention
And short-lived compliments from ‘sorta kindas’.
You know….
He ‘sort kinda’ right, but ‘sorta kinda’ wrong?
His first name LUKE,
His last name WARM.
I, I won’t settle for false companionship
I won’t lay in the embrace of his arms,
Attempting to find some closeness,
But never feeling so far apart cause, I just wanna be held
Cause ”all I gotta do is Say” No!
No more ‘almost sessions’ of ‘almost coming close’
Passing winks & buying drinks,
I’ma, I’ma, I’ma flirt!
Who flirts with the ideology of,
‘Can you just tell me how much I can get away with & still be saved?’
NO more.
I’ll stay in my bed alone, and write poems, about how I will wait for you.
He won’t even come close,
Our fingers won’t even interlock
We won’t even exchange breath
Cause I have thoughts that I’ve ‘saved as’ in a file that God has only equipped you to open.

I will no longer get weighted down,
From so-called friends & family talks,
About the concern for my biological clock
When I serve the Author of Time.

Who is NOT subject to time,

But I’M subject to Him,
He has the ability to STOP, FAST FORWARD, PAUSE, or REWIND at any given time…
So if we could role play,
You would be Abraham & I would be Sara
Or you can be Isaac & I can be Rebecca – a servant’s answered prayer
I am bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh,
Made up of your rib Adam!
And once we meet, like electrons
I will be bound to your nucleus, completely indivisible atom.
We even speak the same math: 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, which really equals 1 if you add Him.
We were all created in His image,
But you have the ability to reflect, project & even detect the Son.
If I were to explain what you looked like,
You would have to look like a star,
A son of the Son..
I would gain energy simply from the light on me.
I would need you , in order to complete my photosynthesis
I await your revelation, but once again from the genesis, I will wait for you.

And I will know you… because when you speak I will be reminded of Solomon’s wisdom,
Your ability to lead will remind me of Moses,
Your faith will remind me of Abraham,
Your confidence in God’s Word will remind me of Daniel,
Your inspiration will remind me of Paul,
Your heart for God will remind me of David,
Your attention to detail will remind me of Noah,

Your integrity will remind me of Joseph,

And your ability to abandon your own will, will remind me of the disciples,

But your ability to love selflessly & unconditionally will remind me of Christ.
But I won’t need to identify you by any special Matthews or any special Marks,
Cause His word will be tatted all over your heart.

And you will know me, and you will find me,
Where… the boldness of Esther meets the warm closeness of Ruth.
Where the hospitality of Lydia is aligned with the submission of Mary,
Which is engulfed in the tears of a praying Hanna.
I will be the one, drenched in Proverbs 31… waiting for you.

But to my Father, my Father who has known me before I was birthed into this earth
Only if you should see fit…
I desire Your will above mine,
So even if you call me to a life of singleness,
My heart is content with YOU – the One who was sent.
YOU are the greatest love story ever told,
The greatest story ever known
You are forever my judge & I’m forever Your witness
And I pray that I’m always found on a mission about my Father’s business
Oh, I will always be Yours!
And I will always wait for You Lord, more than the watchmen wait for the morning
More than the watchmen wait for the morning…

I will wait.

Thread of Gold Beads

Nike Campbell Fatoki’s Thread of Gold Beads is a must read. It is the book of the week.

‘Amelia, daughter of the last independent King of Danhomè, King

Nike Campbell Fatoki
Nike Campbell Fatoki

Gbèhanzin, is the apple of her father’s eye, loved beyond measure by her mother, and overprotected by her siblings. She searches for her place within the palace amidst conspirators and traitors to the Kingdom. Just when Amelia begins to feel at home in her role as a Princess, a well-kept secret shatters the perfect life she knows. Someone else within the palace also knows and does everything to bring the secret to light. A struggle between good and evil ensues causing Amelia to leave all that she knows and loves. She must flee Danhomè with her brother, to south-western Nigeria. In a faraway land, she finds the love of a new Nike-Campbell Fatokifamily and God. The well-kept secret thought to have been dead and buried, resurrects with the flash of a thread of gold beads. Amelia must fight for her life and what is left of her soul. Set during the French-Danhomè war of the late 1890s in Benin Republic and early 1900s in Abeokuta and Lagos, South-Western Nigeria, Thread of Gold Beads is a delicate love story, and coming of age of a young girl. It clearly depicts the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversities’.

 

Here is the video trailer:

 

It is a book that will definitely get you turning the pages till you get to the end. ‘Thread of Gold Beads’  is available on Amazon and on all major online retailers.

 

Chika Unigwe's On Black Sisters' Street

I knew a time would come when I would feature a book without reading it. So, this book is on my must read list. Have you read it? What do you think? It is a well researched book  with issues only Chika Unigwe is able to deal with.

From http://www.amazon.co.uk, here is the excerpt:

 

Chika Unigwe's On Black Sisters' Street
Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street

Four very different women have made their way from Africa to Brussels. They have come to claim for themselves the riches they believe Europe promises but when Sisi, the most enigmatic of the women, is murdered, their already fragile world is shattered.

Drawn together by tragedy, the remaining three women – Joyce, a great beauty whose life has been destroyed by war; Ama, whose dark moods manifest a past injustice; Efe, whose efforts to earn her keep are motivated by a particular zeal – slowly begin to share their stories. They are stories of terror, of displacement, of love, and of a sinister man called Dele.

 

To buy this book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Sisters-Street-Chika-Unigwe/dp/0099523949.

 

The Queen's Speech: a poem by Lemn Sissay MBE

This poem is by Lemn Sissay MBE. He is a British author, poet and playwright and broadcaster.  I am so in love with this poem right now. I found it on badilishapoetry.com. We find answers when we reach into the hearts of poets, authors and writers who have gone on before us. Their wisdom  and choice of words encourage.

 

lemn-sissay

One another? I am born the same year you are born – 1926
And so much has happened and yet, so little – Fiddlesticks!
I am an immigrant. I shall always be an immigrant.
I walk like an immigrant. I talk like an immigrant.
I am an immigrant from my tip to my toe.

This word Immigrant, you know how it was born?
It emerged from the word Migrate. Migrate.
First prescribed as a description of what birds do.
And how free are they? I am an immigrant like the birds.

See. A boy said to me that his zaidy said to him,
Reach of the top of the tree and you get to the first branch.
But reach for the stars and you get to the top of the tree.
So, here is Britain, this beautiful earth, and here is the sky
And here are the stars.

What if for one moment in one day we reach for the stars?
What if you uncurl your heart as we uncurl ours
And spread your arms open wide as we spread ours?
What if for one moment in one time on one day
We reach out to all and beyond and say.
With the power to draw in the warmth of the sun,
Let it be. Let them come. Let it be. Let them come.

Let them come with their baklava, their coffee and teas.
Like Moses let us lead. Let us all lead.
Let them bring their hymns and their prayer beads.
Let them wear the saints in gold around their necks.
Let them bring their grief and their good, their kismet.
Let them bring their stories and their laughter.
Speak of Christmas and Ramadan and Hanukkah.
Let them ring their church bells, let their muezzin call.

Let the cacophony ring true and ring through to us all.
Let it be. Let them come. Let it be. Let them come.

Let them throw down their seeds and let freedom flower.

Let them speak their own language as we speak ours,
So that they might learn the language of tone and trust,

The blessed language of the body and the face – the language of us.
The language of listening. Because these things speak more
Than the clumsiness of words. Let them come, I implore.
Let them exchange our customs and let it be customary to exchange.
Let them come like the beautiful life-giving rain.
I shall wear the yarmulke, they shall wear the cloth.
I shall wear the talit, let them wear the cross.
From the churches, the mosques, the synagogues,
Let them come in the name of their gods.

Let them come. It is you that visited them. You.
For whom the sun would never set.
Let us decolonise our minds: Live free, yet, never forget.
You who scoured the world (for who?) like a dragnet plunging
Into the waves catching all and sundry lunging into slaves.
It was you who counted the bounty and threw the rest overboard.
Ruling the waves indeed by gun by God by sword.

These British cities thrive today on the cash flow from then.
Then let’s address the current, the strong strong current, then.

Lest we stand, as we are, with hands frozen to the gun
On the beaches, in this code red autumnal sun:
Like a kingdom stunned.
Let the knots of history come undone.

Lest we stand, as we are, with hands frozen to the gun
On the beaches, in this code red autumnal sun:
Like a kingdom stunned.
Let the knots of history come undone.
Let your people finish what your people begun.
Let us open our arms as they did – Let them come.

 

 

Lemn Sissay

 

I am not Charlie

After September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, the US went on the offensive, rounding up and imprisoning many without fair trial. Guantanamo Bay in Cuba is evidence of the many illegalities and the abuse of human rights perpetuated in the name of the war against terror. President Obama has tried to close Guantanamo Bay, but it is a struggle. Fourteen years on, the war on terrorism has changed its face. Western countries have realised that they are more at risk of home terrorist-607711_1280grown terrorism than terrorism from overseas. Radicalisation is a serious problem faced in the United Kingdom. Disaffected young men and women are lured into militant Islam. They are brain washed into believing that they must participate in the Jihad.

Islam is not necessarily under attack as Islam is about submission and peace. In France, in the wake of the massacre at the satirical Charlie Hebdo offices, the authorities have about 3,000 people on their radar. A logistical nightmare, France must now pay to secure fundamental freedoms. These Muslims, who have been to Syria to fight the Jihad are returning back and they may be planning another attack. The rest of us will know no peace. This is terrorism on our door step. Belgium, Australia and Germany have experienced their own versions of home grown terrorism. Why is there a disconnect between Muslims and the West? Is there a disconnect? Could we understand this trend better? Are these questions we should be asking?

The world’s attention and prayers was on Paris as she defended her democracy after 17 people were killed by the onslaught of two demented militant Islamists. The brothers we believe, killled in the name of the great prophet Mohammed. They took away the lives of men they did not know, men who never hurt them. The main reason for the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was to seek revenge for the disrespect the magazine had constantly displayed on the beloved Prophet. Is this enough for 17 people to be killed?

The magazine should have been respectful. But, it is a satirical magazine, brazen in publishing images adherents of the Abrahamic religions find abhorrent. It is deplorable, but did the journalists who worked at the magazine need to pay with their lives? This magazine says everything people are scared to say in public. But, should their freedom have been curbed? Should they have the right to disrespect sacred images and beliefs? Should there be a balance between your freedom to free speech and my freedom to worship my God- one which you cannot disrespect? Could disaffected Muslims have taken the satirical magazine to court to seek redress rather than the massacre? Could Charlie Hebdo have been avoided?

Obviously, there are no arguments to support the killers.   The brothers were demented and in hell they would rot for all eternity having deprived ordinary journalists , people and police officers their lives. Children have lost their fathers/mothers, wives their husbands and vice versa, mothers their sons/daughters. A tragedy from which France may never recover from.

Every religion should have within itself a means to protect itself from naysayers and demented members of society. Each time we look, jihadism is gaining grounds and winning new converts. Every religion should be strong and man enough to withstand the jabs and the jests of satirical magazines.

There is a story in the Bible for example where the a man upstages a god. The man’s community want to kill him for disrespecting their idol, but his father steps in and says ‘let the god defend himself , if he is truly god’. The god never did and so eventually, the community moved away from worshipping that idol. Is that an argument therefore, can the gods of Islam arise and defend itself from non-believers? If this ever happens, Boko Haram for example would become jobless and need a new ideology of hate to kill and maim indiscriminately.

Whilst the West re-ignite arguments to preserve democracy and the culture and freedom of free speech, the rest of the world must begin a conversation about the efficacy of religion. Is Islam as dangerous as these men have portrayed it? Should we move towards atheism or humanism? Perhaps, the better questions to ask is why is Islam the fastest growing religion in the West? The answer is simple. Many people are hungry for equality and in Islam they find that equality. It must be said that many countries including France for years have treated black people which includes Muslims as second class citizens. I suspect, it is this anger that is channelled into Islam and which comes out as terrorism or fanaticism.

Unfortunately, the brothers have not done Islam any favours. It is hard to view Islam as a peaceful religion. It is becoming hard to distance Islam from Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, ISIS in Syria and Iraq. If one can speak the truth with the fear of reprisals, Islam has become tarnished by the jihadists and the peaceful emblem in Islam is a hard sell. Yet, these miscreants are not really Muslims, they are criminals, arsonists, terrorists and evil people. No religion in 2014 orders men to behead, shoot innocent reporters, kidnap children. That is not Islam. Islam is not murderous. I am not defending Islam, my position is simple. Call these evil men what they are criminals, it gets confusing when they are labelled as Muslims. Unless of course Islam is not a religion of peace?

Muslim leaders in the UK received a letter from the Communities minister Eric Pickles, urging senior Muslims to explain how Islam ‘can be a part of British identity’. Whilst David Cameron has defended the letter, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)  criticised the tone of the letter and parts of the letter which says ‘that extremism takes place at mosques’. Senior Muslim leaders have expressed dismay at the fact that they have to actively prove their loyalty to England. One can sympathise with both parties in this very public row as radicalisation is a big issue in England today. The murder of the soldier Lee Rigby by British born men is another indication that home grown radicalisation is a major problem in England in 2015.

The Paris Shooting has undoubtedly led to tension within Muslim communities here in the UK. Last Sunday, there was a big rally by Muslims in Luton. The rally was essentially to say that they were marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammed. The march was peaceful and no incidents were recorded. It is okay to march, but the increasing cases of Islamic terrorism in the West -Belgim and Germany- is uncomfortable.

The case should there be made that even though Islam is a peaceful religion, those who kill in the name of Islam are not Muslims but criminals. Boko Haram is a criminal organisation. We should divorce the acts of these criminals from Islam because they do not represent Islam in any way.

The need of the Muslims to march, the need to show unity in faith is extremely important as every day Muslims are under attack from a growing rise in hate crimes. Religious motivated incidents is also on the increase. My problem with this is that ordinary peaceful Muslims are attacked randomly because they are Muslims. This is not fair, so the conversation must begin that that jihadists and terrorists are not Muslims, they are criminals for which we must seek the toughest penalites in the law for them.

 

Tundun Adeyemo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

I choose to be happy

A conversation today about the weather prompted this reflection.

Happiness is a state of mind
Happiness is a state of mind

Many times, our day does not turn out the way we planned that it would.  A lot of little things happened today which could have taken the shine off the day. For example, after a rather stimulating conversation, my phone has gone dead. Dead. It is my work phone. It has just about had enough. Six months to the end of my contract and it is dead. I have emails to send, people to call and my phone is dead. Interesting?

I have been having problems here and there with this site, with black ice (it snowed yesterday), with every thing really. If I am honest, I have been grumpy:( Grumpy because if I am honest, I let one incident dominate my life. I nearly let an unpleasant situation ruin my life. Its hard to get it out of my mind, so the more I thought about it, the grumpier I got. The incident has not changed, but I have decided to let it go like ‘water under the bridge’. I cannot change the past, but I can control my future.

Tonight, I have decided to be grateful. Grateful for life. It may not be perfect, but it is a good life. Grateful for my family and friends. They may annoy me, but I am not alone.  I have their love, admiration and support. Grateful? For the end of a brand new day. I have decided to be thank ful and that is a state of mind. No one is responsible for my happiness, neither am I responsible for anyone’s happiness.  I choose to be happy. Life is too short.

If I am honest, there is a lot I could be thank ful for. I am grateful. The beauty of this blog is that I don’t have to make pretenses. I can just be myself. I can be honest and say the last couple of weeks has been rough

Okey Ndibe's Foreign gods

Okey Ndibe’s Foreign gods is my book of the week.  This weekend raised questions about dieties, the need for religion in this busy world of ours. I have a lot of questions about the way this book ended. I would love to ask Mr Ndibe for example was ‘Ike going insane? What was the stench in his flat? A book that kept me going from start to the end. If you havent read it, it is really good.

Here is an except from http://www.okeyndibe.com

Okey Ndibe and foreign gods.

Selected as a Best Book of January by Amazon, Publishers WeeklyGQ, and Flavorwire.

“Okey Ndibe’s Foreign Gods, Inc. is one of the most impressive African novels that I have read in years … Clearly, this is one writer to watch. —Charles R. Larson, Counterpunch

Foreign Gods, Inc., tells the story of Ike, a New York-based Nigerian cab driver who sets out to steal the statue of an ancient war deity from his home village and sell it to a New York gallery.

Ike’s plan is fueled by desperation. Despite a degree in economics from a major American college, his strong accent has barred him from the corporate world. Forced to eke out a living as a cab driver, he is unable to manage the emotional and material needs of a temperamental African American bride and a widowed mother demanding financial support. When he turns to gambling, his mounting losses compound his woes.

And so he travels back to Nigeria to steal the statue, where he has to deal with old friends, family, and a mounting conflict between those in the village who worship the deity, and those who practice Christianity.

A meditation on the dreams, promises and frustrations of the immigrant life in America; the nature and impact of religious conflicts; an examination of the ways in which modern culture creates or heightens infatuation with the “exotic,” including the desire to own strange objects and hanker after ineffable illusions; and an exploration of the shifting nature of memory, Foreign Gods is a brilliant work of fiction that illuminates our globally interconnected world like no other.