Two pioneers of a charity that places vulnerable children from around the world with UK adoptive families have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Gill Haworth has been made an OBE and Jan Way an MBE for services to vulnerable children and families in recognition of their work at the forefront of international adoption services.
Both women have spent their careers in social work, committed to ensuring vulnerable children from around the world have the opportunity of a secure and loving family.
Gill Haworth OBE of East Finchley, London, was the founder of the Intercountry Adoption Centre (IAC) in 1997 and served as its Chief Executive until her retirement in March this year and built the charity from a Government-funded helpline for families who had adopted children from overseas to a fully-fledged adoption charity.
“I am delighted to receive this honour. Children placed through intercountry adoption are amongst the world’s most vulnerable but they, the families who adopt them and intercountry adoption services as a whole are so often marginalised in the UK.
“This award in large part recognises those amazingly resilient children and families and it shines a spotlight on the specialist services provided by IAC – The Centre for Adoption – and on those who work tirelessly to deliver them.
“It will encourage the charity’s continued lobbying for intercountry adopted children to be on an equal footing to other adoptive families when it comes to access to vital services.”
Jan Way of Dorking, Surrey, has worked for the charity for more than 20 years in many roles but latterly as Training and Development Manager.
“I was extremely surprised, but really thrilled, to receive an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. My working life has always been in social work and, since 1987, adoption work, specifically working with families who wish to, or who have adopted from overseas.
“It has been a real honour to work with these families, who have shown such commitment to creating or extending their families in this way. It has always been less of a job of work and more of a passion, and in receiving this I feel I am doing so on behalf of the intercountry adoption community and the many families I have worked with over the years.
“I feel truly blessed to have had a career that I have loved and now, somewhat amazed to be rewarded in this way.”
IAC Chief Executive Satwinder Sandhu said he was delighted for both Gill and Jan to be personally recognised in this way and for the work of IAC to be acknowledged, sentiments strongly endorsed by IAC’s Board of Trustees.
“Gill and Jan have both dedicated their professional lives to making the world a better, safer place for vulnerable children and it is their leadership that has brought IAC to where we are today.
“When no one else was prepared to be a voice for children in intercountry adoption, they became pioneers and ensured that all children, including those placed by us within the UK, were being raised in the best adoptive families possible, who were well prepared, assessed and supported.
“These honours represent that dedication and commitment, which has over time reached thousands of children and families. Their legacy of course, shall live on for generations.”
Since 1997, the IAC has worked with hundreds of families affected by international adoption and this year expects the number of children it has directly placed with its families to exceed 300.
In 2018, 79 children from overseas joined families in England. 85% of these were through services run by IAC. IAC also placed 9 children from within the UK over the same period.
Currently over 120 families are ready and waiting for a child to be matched from overseas.
20% of IAC adopters are kinship, adopting a child related to them who may have been orphaned or abandoned.
IAC continues to lobby for equal status for children adopted from overseas and for government funding to assist prospective adopters to undertake the process to change children’s lives.