The secret of my adoption – Joke Silva

Joke Silva

Nollywood matriarch, Joke Jacobs, has revealed her best-kept secret with the disclosure that she was adopted as a child from a home run by the Red Cross.

Her foster parents were the late lawyer, E.A Silva, and his medical doctor wife, Abimbola Silva.

Speaking at the first annual conference of Heritage Adoption Support and Advocacy Group (HASSAG), the 56-year-old actress disclosed she did not know about her adoption until she stumbled on documents while searching for her passport.

Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, was one of the eminent personalities at the conference held at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on October 28.

Veteran Actor Mr Olu Jacobs & wife Veteran actress @ajokesilva both join #IsupportAdoption Campaign by #HASAAG @heritageadoptionsupportgroup

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“Living in a foster home of the Red Cross in Yaba, Lagos, everybody would be calling me whenever my adopted mum came with cakes and a lot of things during her visit. I went to YWCA Nursery, which was not too far from the Silvas’ home in Yaba. I also have memories of moving in with them when they moved to Glover Road in Ikoyi,” she said.

“I remember reading newspapers to my dad in our sitting room and pronouncing Brig-General Aguyi Ironsi, the then Nigeria Head Of State, ‘Agolo Iresi!’ My father could not stop laughing at my hilarious interpretation of the newspaper. Also, I remember making them proud, when performing at St. Saviour School. My parents would be standing and were congratulated by other parents too for my acting skills. My parents were so excited that this child was incredibly talented.”

Unlike her, others knew that she was not her parent’s biological child.

It took her a while to discover that.

“I remembered going out with my cousin and we met a big cousin. She introduced me as ‘my cousin’s daughter and this is Dr Silva’s daughter.’ Then, the older cousin was like, ‘Dr. Silva ke? Se Doctor Silva bimo ni? Does Dr Silva ever have a child?’

“I was so confused and when I got home I told my mum, ‘I met this lady that says you never had a child.’ My mum froze and she said, ‘don’t mind them; they are used to rubbish talk.’

“But I got to know years later when I wanted to travel and was looking for my passport where my mum kept it. Since she was not around, I opened the box in her absence and I saw my adoption papers. I never discussed it with my mum because I felt it was something that would hurt her that was why it was kept secret from me.”

The actress also revealed that she was protected in the Silvas. family will.

Her words: “Even in their wills, I was well protected. My daddy, being a lawyer said in his will, that all his children, both adopted and biological should be treated equally. I was not stressed in any way. We were all well taken care of till my mum died at the age of 89.

Dr Silva, who was the third Nigerian woman to qualify as a medical doctor, died in July 2015.

“At 56, I still miss her but I know she has definitely gone back to her father. On her sick bed, I always sang her favourite tunes, she would be imputing the melodious tunes and she died singing to her Lord. She had prepared her family before my coming into her life because I had an incredible big Silva family.

“I have a very big family I am the first daughter, I carried the responsibility of a first daughter. Everybody in my family cannot take any decision until sister Joke has come. I can’t call my parents, adopted parents. They are my parents,” she added.

HASSAG is an initiative of former CEO of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mrs. Sola David-Borha.

Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, was one of the eminent personalities at the conference held at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on October 28.