Nikki sings it like it is when she hails power of adoption

A TEENAGER who was adopted when she was five years old has turned her experience into a song which has been chosen to promote a national campaign.

Nikki McDonald, 16, penned the lyrics for Little Darling based on her personal experiences of adoption, with her song being selected to boost awareness of National Adoption Week.

Along with friend Paul McLeish, also 16, Nikki turned her thoughts and feelings into the song which focuses on the resilience and hope of an adopted child.

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The Armadale Academy pupil was inspired to put pen to paper when she discovered the shortage of adoptive parents.

Her adoptive father, Alex McDonald, is East Lothian Council's adoption co-ordinator so Nikki knows only too well about the need for more children to be placed with loving families.

She said: "My dad is always saying how hard it is to get people to think about adoption so I thought I'd see what I could do to help.

"Mum and dad adopted me and my brother and sister when we were all really young.

"It changed all of our lives.

"There are lots of children out there who just want a family."

Nikki also helps out her father by taking part in awareness-raising sessions in East Lothian to try to help answer questions from prospective parents.

She added: "My advice to adoptive parents would be to just be accepting.

"Sometimes the changes are hard for children, getting shifted from one place to another.

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"They are not going to settle in straight away and there can be difficulties but people just need to be loving and accepting."

Mr McDonald, who only got into the field of social work after his own experience with adoption, said that in East Lothian over the past five years, an average of three children per year had been placed with adoptive parents.

He added that following the Baby Peter case, more children would be coming through the system earlier and there would be a need for more adoptive parents.

He said: "I guess I view adoption as the most radical of social work interventions where the responsibilities for a child are legally placed with someone other than the birth parents.

"Adoption is about people giving children who cannot live with their birth parents the opportunity to grow up in a safe, loving and nurturing environment where they feel they belong.

"Nikki has always listened to me moaning about the need to recruit more adoptive parents and she asked if there was anything she could do to help, which is when she came up with the idea for a song.

"She also comes along to drop-in sessions and speaks to prospective parents."One of the things people worry about most is the contact adopted children might have with their birth parents.

"Nikki can talk about that from personal experience.

"There are a lot of myths about adoption - such as there being an age limit - but there's a whole range of children who need adopted and so we need a wide range of people for that.

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"Having these workshops aims to dispel the myths around adoption."

Producer Martyn McQuade, who runs the Louis Martyn Studio at Longniddry, was so impressed with Nikki and Paul's song that he recorded Little Darling and other tracks by the band, known as Flipside, for free.

The song is being used on the British Association for Adoption and Fostering website to promotion National Adoption Week, which runs until Sunday.

Nikki added: "I think it's awesome that our song is being used."

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