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Ambassadors

Dr Jane Aronson

Founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans Foundation

 


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.


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.


Joel de Carteret

Adoptee and Film maker

Joel is a renowned film maker and world-class storyteller. CEO & Chief Storyteller at Stories In Motion, he makes beautifully crafted stories that touch the heart and fill the soul. Joel is a sought after keynote speaker combines film, music and photography into his unique talks. He shares this remarkable life-changing story. As featured recently on Channel 9's 60 minutes and GMA’s Kapuso Mo - Jessica Soho, his story has reached over 22 million people around the planet. Joel was born in the Philippines but was separated from his family and found in a busy marketplace at age five. Nearly 31 years on, having been adopted and raised by an Australian family, Joel embarked on what seemed like an impossible mission to track down his birth mother. With virtually nothing to go on except knowing the date and location he was found, Joel undertook a journey that shows how sheer grit and determination can overcome even the most insurmountable odds. His skills as a film maker and producer, along with millions of filipino’s, aided him to the reunification of his long lost parents.


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.


Ellia Green

Adoptee and Australian rugby player

Ellia was born in Fiji of Fijian parents and adopted not long after birth by prominent Australian journalists Yolanta and the late Evan Green who were resident in Fiji at that time. Her adoptive home was Melbourne and through her school years she became a national level sprinter representing Australia at the World School Games in Qatar in 2009. She was recruited into rugby in 2012 and swiftly set about securing a place in the Australian Women’s Rugby 7’s side. Ellia was a standout performer as part of the side’s victory in the 2015/16 Rugby World Series and the Team’s success continued on to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where Ellia was one of the break-out stars of the gold medal winning Australian Women’s 7’s Rugby Team. Ellia resides in Sydney and enjoys a close, loving and supportive relationship with Yolanta who to this day continues to be her inspiration.



Zufi Emerson

Adoptee

Zufi Emerson is a 21 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.


Mariska Hargitay

Adoptive Mother and Actor

 


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.


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.


Marie Osmond

Adoptive Mother, Singer and Actor

 


Meg Ryan

Adoptive Mother and Actor

 


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.


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. (Photo credit: Steve Bacon)


Nia Vardalos

Adoptive Mother, Actor and Author

 



Alfre Woodard

Adoptive Mother and Actor

 





Media  Ambassadors

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.



Helen McCabe

Journalist and TV Presenter

Helen McCabe is one of Australia’s most respected and well-known magazine editors and journalists. Until recently Helen was the editor-in-chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly for a period of six years. She has now moved to Nine Entertainment Co as head of Lifestyle. Helen began her career in Adelaide television before moving to Canberra Press Gallery with the Seven Network. She then went on to an impressive career in newspapers. Deputy Editor of The Sunday Telegraph, Night Editor of The Australian and a held a number of roles on The Daily Telegraph. She has also reported from London where she was the European Correspondent for News Ltd. Helen makes regular appearances on the Today Show, The Project, and 2GB,  and she is also the chairperson of the Federal Governments Positive Body Image Awards.



Louise Ransome

Journalist

Louise Ransome is a Sports Presenter with Fox Sports. She currently hosts her own all sports show on Fox Sports News, is a sideline reporter for Fox Sports Rugby coverage and is also part of Fox Sports The Golf Show. Beginning her career at the ABC in Brisbane she moved to Launceston to work for WIN TV, before landing a female sports broadcaster internship at the ABC in Sydney. After her allocated year, she freelanced for the ABC and Channel 7, before landing her dream fulltime job with Fox Sports News.

Louise’s Dad Les is adopted – he didn’t find this out until he was 54 years old. Adopted at six weeks, he grew up in a family as one of four children. He is the only one who was adopted – hence the secrecy around his adoption. Although it definitely was a shock, and fairly life-changing, he looks back on it now as being very lucky to have such a loving and stable home to grow up in. He has also formed lovely relationships with two of his biological half siblings who were the ones searching for him, which lead him to find out about his adoption later in life.


Sandra Sully

Presenter, TEN Eyewitness News First At Five Sydney

Sandra’s passion for news has fortified her position as one of the finest newsreaders in the country, delivering TEN Eyewitness News First At Five bulletins with integrity and credibility. She has been part of the TEN News team since 1990 and has hosted major Network news events.

A highly respected journalist, Sandra and has had exclusive interviews with the former US Vice President and producer of An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore, Australian of the Year Tim Flannery and secured a world-first exclusive interview with Douglas Wood, the Australian hostage freed from his kidnappers in Iraq. Her career highlights include being the first Australian journalist to break the news of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, and covering the Thredbo landslide, including the week long and emotional rescue of Stuart Diver .

With her engaging warmth, style and versatility Sandra has established a mass following on various social media platforms, and is now one of the nation’s news leaders online. Sandra is on the Walkley Advisory Board and is an ambassador for Adopt Change, as well as being committed to several charity organisations, including her position as Co-Patron of Spinal Cure and Ambassador for the NSW Crime Stoppers. She is also a National Ambassador for Do Something, which encourages social change.  

Follow @Sandra_Sully on Twitter.


Lisa Wilkinson

Journalist