Dialog Box

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Ambassadors

Meet our ambassadors

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Jules Allen

Adoptive Mother, Foster Carer and Masterchef 2013 Contestant

Jules Allen is an award-winning Australian youth advocate and motivational speaker. Jules is guided by the philosophy that "your greatest adversity in life is your biggest gift." Jules has spent her life helping others. She has worked in child protection, as a school counselor and most recently has run a private practice working with teenagers in crisis and their families. Jules has three adult children who are a blend of her own, adopted and foster children. Over the past 12 years Jules has also been a foster carer to 32 foster children. It is her firm belief that cooking and food have been the fundamental healing tool for the children in her care. Jules’s life took a fairly unpredictable turn in 2103 when she became a contestant on Masterchef Australia. The experience was both rewarding and enormously challenging. Jules has since used her success to raise awareness about issues that are important to her. As well as being an Ambassador for Adopt Change, Jules is also an Ambassador for Foster Care Australia and has spent time in the Solomon Islands rebuilding a shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence. Jules about to launch her first book, Gifts in Shitty Wrapper Paper. The book is a weaving of personal stories, metaphor and a practical guide for overcoming adversity.

 

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Eric Bailey

Adoptee, Ex-Pro NBL Player and "Activational" Speaker

Eric’s passion to help others grew out of his own hardships as a child. At birth, Eric was diagnosed with a congenital deformity of the knee joint and due to his biological parents being unable to raise a disabled child, he was given up for adoption. Eric chose to create an inspired vision for his life and carry that vision out through planning, action, and undeniable persistence. Despite being told by doctors that he would never be able to play sports due to his knee, Eric was determined to play basketball. After much hard work, Eric excelled and eventually went on to play in the NBL in Australia. Eric went on to forge a career in sales in addition to pursuing charitable work, most notably hosting celebrity basketball tournaments with Michael Jordan and Jamie Foxx. Eric’s desire to give back led him to sharing his story of hardship and success through what Eric calls ‘Activational’ speaking. Sheer talent and endless dedication has helped Eric create a lasting change in the minds and hearts of over 2 million people around the world. In June 2014 Eric was appointed National Sales Manager for Market Australia, Australia's premier online shopping web portal au.shop.com. Eric was recently voted number 22 of the 'Top 60 Motivational Speakers in the World' by the initiative Hunger 2 Succeed.

 

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Latika Bourke

Adoptee and Journalist

Latika Bourke is a well-known Australian political journalist and author.  She is currently a national political journalist for Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Canberra Times and Brisbane Times. Previously Latika worked for the ABC and 2UE Radio. In 2010 Latika’s excellence in her profession was acknowledge when she won the Walkley Award for Young Australian Journalist of the Year. Latika began her journalism career working on local radio in Bathurst, Central West New South Wales where she grew up as one of eight children. Born in Bihar in India, Latika was taken to a Catholic orphanage when she was only one day old. At eight months old she arrived in Australia to join her adoptive parents, Penny and John. Latika is a proud adoptee. Growing up she felt a deep connection to her Australian home and family. Over time however she became more and more curious about her heritage and what it meant to be born in India and raised in Australia. In 2012 she travelled to India to see her home state and the orphanage she was from for the first time and has continued to travel India each year. She has chronicled her personal journey in her book From India with Love published by Allen & Unwin.

 

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Sallianne Deckert

Adoptive Mother and TV Personality

Sallianne Deckert started writing articles for newspapers from the family farm in Victoria when she was 12 years old. Her television career began straight out of school and has taken her around the world. A member of the original Talk to the Animals series in 1997, Sallianne's other credits include reporter/producer roles with Postcards (Victoria), Today, Mornings with Kerri-Anne, A Current Affair, Getaway and Our House, all on the Nine Network. After 11 years in the Australian adoption process, Sallianne and her husband Steve are proud parents to two Ethiopian born daughters - Kuleni (adopted 2005) and Tsegamareyam (adopted 2011). A passion for Ethiopia’s children and future prompted the family to recently move to Addis Ababa and commit to volunteering at The School of St Yared for two years. The school takes the most severely disadvantaged students with a motivation to learn and provides an excellent education, meals, health support and nurturing environment for free. The family is enjoying their time in Ethiopia exploring Kuleni and Tsegamareyam’s birth culture as they use their skills to impact Ethiopian lives and futures through education. If you’d like to read more, visit The School of St Yared, Ethiopia on Facebook or contact sponsorship@schoolofstyared.com.

 

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Hugh Jackman

Adoptive Father and Actor

Hugh Jackman is an Academy Award® nominated, Golden Globe and Tony Award winning actor, who has made an impression on audiences of all ages with his multi-hyphenate career persona, proving that he is as successful on stage in front of live crowds as he is on a film set. 

Jackman is also an active humanitarian and philanthropist. On a trip to Ethiopia with World Vision, Hugh and his wife Deborra-lee Furness visited Dukale, an Ethiopian coffee farmer. They were so moved by his infectious spirit and incredible coffee they promised they would help him. Hugh went on to fulfill his promise by launching Laughing Man Worldwide, an organisation that imports fair trade coffee right from Dukale's farm in Ethiopia to be served in its New York City cafes. Laughing Man Worldwide’s total revenue goes back to education, community development and new business development. Hugh supports Deborra-lee whole-heartedly in her mission to ensure that all children have a safe and loving family, and a place to call home. Hugh and Deb live in New York with their two adopted children, Oscar and Ava.

 

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Brad Murphy

Adoptee and Ex-Pro AFL Player

Brad Murphy is a former AFL player for the Western Bulldogs, 2002-2006, and now coaches and plays for semi-professional Aussie Rules club, Melton. Brad was born to drug addicted parents and grew up in foster care in Victoria from 16 months.  Young Brad was never going back to his birth parents — his mum  “did a runner” to Western Australia soon after a previous overdose, while his dad spent most of Brad’s childhood in Pentridge prison.  “The thing that chewed me up was not being able to be adopted. I felt I didn’t belong to anyone,” he says.  He wanted to be adopted; his foster carers wanted to adopt him, but his dad wouldn’t provide consent. Brad was adopted by his long-time foster parents at the age of 18.

 

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Lisa Sthalekar

Adoptee, Cricket Commentator and Former Australian Cricketer

Lisa's Australian parents found her abandoned in a hospital in Poona, 170km from Mumbai, India. It took them until she was 2 years of age to adopt her. Lisa has an older, adopted sister, Caprini.  Lisa is a former Australian cricketer, the first player in women’s history to score 1,000 runs and take 100 wickets.  Lisa is an accomplished cricket commentator, having covered two Indian Premier League seasons, World T20 (women’s and men’s) and U19 men’s world cup.  This summer she will be on the commentary team for Channel Ten’s BBL and WBBL. 

 

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Jack Thompson

Adoptee and Actor

One of Australia’s most loved and respected actors Jack Thompson has appeared in numerous Australian and American films. His appearance in Breaker Morant (1980) won him an Australian Film Institute award for Best Actor, and an award for Best Supporting Actor at the Cannes International Film Festival. In 1994, Jack was awarded the 'Raymond Longford Award' by the Australian Film Institute for his outstanding contribution to Australian cinema, and in 2009 was awarded the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) 'Lifetime Achievement Award' for services to Australian Film and Television. When Jack was four years old his mother tragically died from an illness. His father, while loving his sons, was unable to care for them. Jack’s aunt arranged for the brothers to board at a school in Narabeen called Lake House. It was while he was at Lake House that he met a boy called Peter Thompson.  Jack was adopted by the Thompson family.  The boys grew up ‘joined at the hip’ and to this day, Peter is both Jack’s brother and closest friend. 42 years later, Jack again met his biological father.

 
 


 

Youth Ambassadors

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Zufi Emerson

Zufi Emerson is a 19 year-old young woman from Canberra, Australia. She was born in Ethiopia, and adopted to Australian parents when she 5 months old. She has 2 younger brothers who were also adopted from Ethiopia. Zufi's adoption story is a happy one - something she is grateful for. Speaking from personal experience, Zufi believes that adoption truly follows the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – that it is the best interest of children to be a part of a loving family. She believes that every child deserves to feel loved, and feel like they have a home where they feel safe and belong.  Zufi is currently studying at the Actors Centre of Australia in Sydney. She is so grateful and happy  to have the opportunity to spend every day doing what she loves  -  learning from and with people she admires. She is looking forward to contributing to the industry of her passion.  She believes that every child, regardless of who they are, should also have the chance to be educated, feel safe, happy and most of all empowered to make a difference by doing what they love.   Zufi is excited to continue her involvement with Adopt Change and is looking forward to contributing to changing adoption systems in Australia - from a frustrating process laden with bureaucratic red tape and confusion, to a supportive process that gives children in need the best possible chance to be part of loving families who want to care for them.  

 

 
 


 

Media Ambassadors

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Melissa Doyle

Journalist and TV Presenter

Melissa is one of the most popular media personalities in Australia. A multiple Silver Logie nominee as Most Popular Television Presenter, Melissa was voted one of the “most real celebrity mums”; and regularly polls in the Top 50 of Reader’s Digest's annual list of Most Trusted Australians. Formerly co-host of Sunrise, Melissa formed one of televisions most charismatic and popular partnerships with Kochie (David Koch). Mel began her career as a television news reporter in Canberra before joining the Seven Network in 1995. In a varied career, she has covered major news stories from around Australia and the world. She has interviewed some of the world’s most famous faces, from Jane Fonda, Katy Perry and Stevie Nicks to Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Jerry Lewis and Justin Bieber. Mel is devoted to her many charities. She is the National Patron for Make A Wish and an ambassador for Westmead Children's Hospital, World Vision, Children’s Cancer Institute, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and for the Federal Government’s National Road Safety Council. She is also the Chairperson for the GIANTS Foundation Charity. Melissa is currently a News Presenter and Journalist with Seven News Australia as well as hosting the weekend breakfast program for radio station smoothfm. She is married to John and the very proud mother of Nicholas and Talia.

 

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Karl Stefanovic

Journalist and TV Presenter

Karl Stefanovic is an Australian Gold Logie-winning television presenter.  Stefanovic is currently a co-host of the Nine Network's breakfast program, Today. Karl’s career in television began after he left university he began working for WIN TV in Rockhampton and Cairns as a cadet reporter. He has since had a number of high profile roles as a journalist and presenter. In February 2005, Stefanovic replaced long-running Today host Steve Leibmann and currently co-hosts the program with Lisa Wilkinson. Stefanovic has also been a fill-in host on A Current Affair for Tracy Grimshaw.

 

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Sandra Sully

Journalist

 

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Lisa Wilkinson

Journalist

 

 
 


 

International Ambassadors

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Dr Jane Aronson

Founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans Foundation

 

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Mariska Hargitay

Adoptive Mother and Actor

 

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Marie Osmond

Adoptive Mother, Singer and Actor

 

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Meg Ryan

Adoptive Mother and Actor

 

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Nia Vardalos

Adoptive Mother, Actor and Author

 

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Alfre Woodard

Adoptive Mother and Actor