Two adopted brothers and their school friends have donated their Christmas presents to children in need in Wolverhampton – all in memory of their close friend who sadly passed away this year.

The boys aged seven and four, and both adopted via Adoption@Heart, the adoption agency for the Black Country, came up with the idea after hearing about how many children would normally go without presents over the festive period.

Having recently lost their close friend Raheel, the boys and their school friends wanted to donate the gifts in memory of Raheel.

The children said: “We are lucky as we have so many toys, and we want to make other children smile too, especially at Christmas.”

The boys’ mother added: “We wanted our boys to share their Christmas gifts this year as some children may not be so fortunate.  The boys and their friends decided to donate their presents also in the memory of their best friend, Raheel, and decided to call their donations ‘Raheel’s Christmas Wish’ to honour his memory."

The family, who also donated to the children of Wolverhampton last year, were once again touched by the generosity of their boys and got in touch with their social worker at Adoption@Heart to see how they could coordinate the donation. On speaking to their friends about the children’s offer, three other families also decided to get involved, providing sacksful of presents for children across Wolverhampton.

The mother added: “Over the last 18 months all the parents that donated have seen first-hand the financial situation that many families are going through. Being blessed with everything we have, we wanted to be able to support such families who have not been so fortunate.

“Equally, we all wanted to install these values with our boys. To be grateful for what they have, to be charitable, to look after those more in need and to share.” 

The gifts have been donated to Graiseley Strengthening Families Hub for distribution to children in need in Wolverhampton this Christmas. The Hub provides support and activities for families with children 0-18 years.  This includes support such as parenting, housing, benefits, training and employment.

Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “This year has been a particularly hard year for some of the families that our Strengthening Families Service has been working with. 

“I am touched by this simple act of kindness which will make all the difference to our children in need, not just because of the gifts themselves, but because of the selfless nature of the young people and families who are donating gifts in memory of their friend Raheel. I would like to take this opportunity to send them a heartfelt thank you from all at our Strengthening Families Service.” 

The family decided to start their adoption journey nine years ago after being unable to have children. The mother said: “The adoption process was smooth, and we never really had any issues.

“We adopted our eldest when he was eight months old, and never planned on having a second child. However, as he got older, we could see when we took him out, he would be playing on his own. 

“We then decided on a sibling for him, and his brother joined our family when he was seven months old. They together are so close, and absolutely love each other to bits. It’s the best thing we ever did, giving us our perfect family.

“They have their own bedrooms but still insist on sleeping together. Practically, we also felt it would be good for both to support one another when they are older and start asking those difficult questions.”

Adoption@Heart is the Regional Adoption Agency for the Black Country, providing adoption services for City of Wolverhampton Council, Walsall Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Sandwell Children’s Trust.

Lots of people can adopt, whether they are single, living together, married, a same sex couple, in employment or not working, or already have children or not. Potential adopters must legally be a UK resident and have been so for at least 12 months, as well as being aged 21 or over. They should be able to provide a stable home for a child until adulthood and beyond. 

Adoption@Heart is currently holding virtual information events online every fortnight. They are the perfect place for those who are ready to start their adoption journey or would like more information.