Monthly Archives: February 2015

London. Here we come!

I had intended to take  a Monday “off” from the blog, but then I met a friend today who said that she was ‘looking forward to Monday’s blog post’.  I have to say that this was a great  encouragement.  It is so good to think that people ‘out there’ are reading this.  So here I am – and happy NOT to have taken a day “off”!  

(Incidentally if ever anybody feels like giving feedback, I would be extremely happy to hear from you.)

Dick Whittington 1 Cover

Image taken from http://broadbent.org/blog/?p=182

 So we have reached the point in our family saga where D. has been appointed to an international role in our church. And this means that we have to move to London.

Lucy was already living in London and it would mean that she could live with the family if she wanted. She did live at home for quite a while until she joined a group of fellow dance students in a house near their college.

Anna, however, was doing well at her 6th Form College – no longer a single sex environment – and we didn’t want to uproot her and interfere in her education.

secondary studentsImage courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Amazingly, some lovely friends from our church, who lived in our road, said immediately. “We’ll be happy for Anna to stay with us. She can go home to you in London at weekends.” They were such great friends and this arrangement seemed to suit everybody. How fortunate we felt to have such understanding, loving friends!

This arrangement for Anna worked wonderfully. I think our friends were happy as well. They always said that they enjoyed her company.

Sam

As I have said in a previous post, when D. received the call to work in London, Sam was about to leave Primary school and progress to a secondary school.

children in playgroundImage courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

D. and I had done quite a bit of research in Leicester, trying to find a secondary school where Sam would not be the only black boy. We looked at written school policies and enquired about the reputation of various schools.

Now that we were going to move to the capital city, we had to start all over again in our search for a suitable secondary school.

As things turned out, this was going to take quite a while.

Before moving on. A few more thoughts on Jah’s first few years with us. Leicester days.

I have just looked at a photo album and seen a few more pictures from the Leicester days. I think those days were good for Jah. He appeared to be a bright boy, although he definitely had a slight learning block at school, but he had a naturally cheery manner and I think he was happy at school. Here are some of the good things about our time in Leicester.

  • The church members were very welcoming to our new family-member. This was a great help to us all.
  • Eventually Jah was formally adopted by us. This made him feel more confident   (His joy about the formal adoption can be seen the picture of Jah holding the shoe bag that Lucy embroidered for him. It had his full, official name embroidered for all to see.)

Jah and shoe bag

  •  He got on well with his big brother Sam. Sam was endlessly patient with him and loving towards him. The feeling was mutual. Sam certainly enjoyed having a little brother ‘the same colour as me’ and Jah looked up to him.

Piggy back

  • Both boys enjoyed the Boys’ Brigade activities at our church.   Jah was too young for the actual BB company, but he began as an Anchor boy, which was the affiliated group for the young ones. He was very pleased to feel part of the BB. He liked to share in things with his big brother. See him here in red jumper.

BB

  • Both boys had some very good friends.
    Moving to a new town and having to say goodbye to friends was an occupational hazard for the children of a church minister, but interestingly, both Lucy and Anna have stayed in touch with good friends from our days in Tyneside.
  • As well as having a tolerant big brother, Jah had two very kind big sisters. Below is a picture of games arranged by Anna for his birthday party.  We parents felt very lucky that she did this!

Birthday games

Once we moved to London, the boys would not have to move to another town. Also D’s role was going to change. He was no longer going to be a local pastor and that had repercussions for me. As a minister’s wife one was closely examined in everything one did!!

A new lifestyle was about to begin.

Multiracial cards and a few bits and pieces to remember, just before we move to London

MULTIRACIAL CARDS

Recently I was reminded of something that happened just before we left Leicester in 1983.

As I have said, we belonged to a mutually helpful multiracial group called ‘Harmony’.

Harmony badgeOne day we received a telephone call from a photographer who had contacted the Harmony group. He asked whether our son Sam would be willing for a photo of himself to appear on a birthday card. The photographer had identified what we all knew – that there was a dearth of representation of black or indeed any ‘non-white’ children on cards.

Sam was duly photographed and we all felt proud to see his handsome face reproduced on a card for everyone to see!

Why have I just remembered this situation today? It is because I was reminded THIS WEEK via Twitter that there are some people “out there”, who are trying to right exactly the same situation. It is now over thirty years since Sam’s birthday card and things haven’t changed much: 1983 – 2015!!

However, there is hope. I have just bought a delightful card illustrated by Naomi C Robinson – see www.nyhagraphics.co.uk Please look at the website. There may be many cards that will delight and be suitable for your friends and family.

I have bought the following card from the catalogue and I think Sam’s little daughter Mia will be very happy to give it to her Dad when it is his birthday.

FullSizeRender I always intended to raise the matter of MULTIRACIAL CARDS in my blog, ever since I tried to buy a wedding card for a black friend. That was over two years ago. I could not find a single card portraying a black couple at the time. Nyhagraphics are working on remedying that situation.

Previously I have written – along with many others – about the lack of picture books that represent ethnic minorities and I do not want to keep complaining. I like to look for positive things to report where they are available. Generally speaking I think that educational books for schools do try to be more representative, so that is a sign of progress in one area.

 Now. As I turn my mind to the move to London, I realise that there are still a few things left to say about the Leicester days, so please bear with me. There will be yet one more blog post about Leicester. After all, it was to that home that we brought the small, perky yet vulnerable child called Jah.

Here below is a photo of the very first time I was able to take care of him – during our initial day out together with his short-term foster parents. Three days later we brought him home to Leicester and he began his life there as the latest member of the family.

drying with towel

A brief pause in the family story. Contemplating the move to London.

There will be a brief pause in the family story – hopefully to be resumed next week.

(Right now, today February 2nd 2015,  I am looking after Sam’s baby daughter for the morning.  What joy!)

Adoption Reflections   . . .

The forthcoming move to the capital city was fairly momentous for everybody, but it was one that we were all ready for. It just needed a lot of planning!

Dick Whittington 1 Cover

Image taken from http://broadbent.org/blog

I had lived briefly in the East End of London before we were married. I had seen many of the sights of London, including Pearly Kings and Queens. (See below:)

Pearly King and Qu. backs

D. and I had also taken the children down to London sightseeing and seen the Tower of London, among many other famous sights.

Tower of London

 

 

Now we all had the possibility of seeing many more interesting things.

 

One thing that excited us was that the population would be far more multiracial than we had experienced before. This was surely going to be a good thing for all our family.