Adopt Change is excited to announce Jonah Bobongie as an Ambassador for the organisation.
Placed in foster care at birth, Jonah was raised in Brisbane by his adoptive family and is keen to bring his lived experience and insight to the role.
“I wanted to jump on board with Adopt Change and become an ambassador because I’ve lived through what it’s like to be adopted in Australia and go through that process and just being able to speak openly and freely about it. I think it will help others who have gone through that or are going through that, and they’re struggling or just want to connect,” he says.
Born in Cairns in 1997, Jonah was placed with his adoptive family in Brisbane when he was 8 weeks old. Growing up in a Caucasian Australian family, Jonah felt disconnected from his Papua New Guinea heritage and culture.
At the age of 22, he embarked on a journey to reunite with his birth family, reconnect with his heritage and unearth his self-identity. He launched a podcast, Led By A Heartstring, to invite the world to follow his journey and delve into the world of adoption.
Jonah’s podcast has featured Adopt Change CEO Renee Carter as well as fellow Ambassador and inter-country adoptee Phoebe Garland as guests. Led By A Heartstring also received the bronze award for Best Indigenous Podcast at the Australian Podcast Awards.
For Jonah, the podcast has also been an effective way to garner a better understanding around his emotions towards being adopted. “It really has been a tool for me to express all those feelings that I felt growing up and you know, get it all out because it’s heavy. It had been bottled up inside and it’s a healing process in that way,” he says.
Led By a Heartstring has also been a healing experience for some listeners. “I’ve been reached out to a couple of times by email or through social media, and people tell me ‘Hey, I just found your podcast and it’s such a great resource for myself to just listen to and connect with’ because they haven’t had that connection with anything else that they’ve come across,” he adds.
Adopt Change CEO Renée Carter is thrilled to welcome Jonah to the organisation as an ambassador and looks forward to working with him in raising awareness on the need for more children in the out-of-home care system to achieve permanency.
“Jonah’s story is one of resilience and the importance of stability and connection to family and culture. By sharing his insights and experiences on his journey through his podcast series, Jonah is helping to shine a spotlight on the issues surrounding identity for children in care or who are adopted, and how important stability is. We’re really looking forward to working with Jonah on raising awareness of the need for all children to have access to safe, nurturing, and stable homes,” she says.
Adoption and permanency are already issues close to Jonah’s heart, and ones he believes to be incredibly important for allowing those in vulnerable situations to experience family and stability in a safe environment. By becoming an Ambassador for Adopt Change, Jonah is incredibly excited to begin working towards a better state of permanency and care in Australia.
“I’d like to see the next generation of families that use adoption and foster care see how wonderful it is to care for children, and give them all opportunities and experiences in life,” he adds.