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Page last updated at 06:45 GMT, Thursday, 27 March 2008

Mother's hopes for Ghana adoption

Ama Sumani
Ama Sumani died leaving two children - Mary, 16, and Samede, 7

A mother-of-two has spoken of how she hopes to adopt the children of a Ghanaian woman who died of cancer after being removed from the UK.

The Dutch woman, who lives in north Wales, says she will leave the UK if necessary to overcome obstacles to adopt Ama Sumani's son and daughter.

She paid Ms Sumani's medical bills as she struggled for treatment in Ghana.

The woman, who wants to stay anonymous, said she had "promised Ama she would take care of her kids".

Ms Sumani, 39, who was suffering from malignant myeloma, had been receiving dialysis treatment at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales after coming to the UK as a student.

My children have been traumatised by what's gone on
The woman who wants to adopt Ama Sumani's children

But she was flown back to her home country by immigration officers in January because she was working in breach of her visa regulations.

The Dutch woman, who said she wished to remain anonymous on the advice of her lawyer, said her friendship began with Ms Sumani after hearing about her plight.

She said she gave 2,400 to cover three months of the dialysis Ms Sumani needed in Ghana, and the two women were put in touch with each other.

"From then on, I spoke to Ama every day - she would ring me and I would ring her," said the woman.

Ama Sumani
Ama Sumani underwent dialysis in an attempt to prolong her life

"I promised Ama I would take care of her kids. She asked me to."

Gill Howarth, director of the Intercountry Adoption Centre, said the proposed adoption may be possible but would need to be checked out both in Ghana and the UK.

She said: "It should only be the permanency planned for the child if the child can't be cared for in any suitable manner in their country of origin. That would be more important the older the children were.

"It's a real dislocation to move children from familiar surroundings and people who know and love them, to bring them across the ocean to join a stranger family.

"One would have to be sure it was essential for the children."

More than 70,000 was raised from public donations to help her have treatment in Ghana, but the drug Ms Sumani needed to prolong her life - thalidomide - is not available in the country.

'Decent education'

She died last week, leaving her children - Mary, 16 and seven-year-old Samede - orphans.

The Dutch woman said: "We will go for adoption, which is the most logical thing. I think it will happen. We will do it in Ghana as we can't do it here. It's not a sacrifice."

She added: "Ideally, we would like to come back to Wales, but if that's not possible, we're members of the EU and can live in any European country, where the children can have a decent education. We would then take them back to Ghana for visits as much as possible."

She said she and her husband, son and daughter were happy to move away from the UK if necessary.

"My kids are the ones who actually proposed it," she said.

'Socially responsible'

"We moved to north Wales four-and-a-half years ago because we love the place. The Welsh have always been so friendly to us.

"But we don't want to stay in a country like this. My children have been traumatised by what's gone on. I really always thought the UK welcomed everyone."

Her family have met a lawyer to discuss the potential adoption, along with Janet Symmons, from Cardiff, another of Ms Sumani's friends, who led the campaign to help her.

The adoption offer has also been discussed with Ms Sumani's brother in Ghana.

The woman said: "I feel I made a promise and my children will learn from this.

"I have always taught them to be socially responsible."


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