Born in Cairns and immediately placed in foster care, Jonah grew up with his adoptive family in Brisbane. Growing up in a Caucasian Australian family, Jonah felt disconnected from his Papua New Guinea heritage and culture.
At the age of 22, Jonah embarked on a journey to reunite with his birth family, reconnect with his heritage and unearth his self-identity. He launched an award-winning 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.
Through his life and his podcast, Jonah has been able to learn more about himself and 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 is also a way to connect and be there for other adoptees. Jonah says: “I hope to help other adoptees find who they are and feel comfortable with their feelings. Being that voice for adoptees through my podcast and sharing my experience.”
For Jonah, his adoption has played a huge part in shaping who he is. “Being adopted, you don’t really lack that part of self-identity because you find it wherever you are, and whoever you’re exposed to and whoever you live with” he 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.