Adoptions and Celebrities


The US Department of Homeland Security reports that in 2009, 12,782 orphaned children were adopted internationally by US citizens. These statistics seem, sadly, very low considering the current US population. The media, very rarely, reports on these adoptions, unless a celebrity or famous individual was the adoptive parent and for the majority of us, we would most likely like to keep it that way! Who wants the paparazzi hounding us?

Celebrities make news seemingly when they do something as menial as buying a toothbrush. For those of us in the adoption world we secretly celebrate when we hear of a celebrity making news because they have done something as commendable as providing an orphaned child a home. This news not only provides us with a brief look into the lives celebrities, but more importantly, it shows the world that a celebrity has a heart for a child in need and the overwhelming need worldwide for adoptive parents.

Most recently, the cover of People magazine splashed photos of Sandra Bullock holding her newly adopted son. As I watched the unfolding news, I was happy to see the media focused more on the happy adoption news rather than her impending divorce. The Jolie-Pitt union has proved to focus much attention on international adoption and the need of the millions of orphaned children worldwide with the couple adopting children from Cambodia, Africa and Vietnam.

The media also reported on the controversial adoption by Madonna of a little man from Malawi. While media reports seemed to want to focus on the fact that a celebrity was being allowed special privileges, more importantly, the world was watching as a celebrity was opening her home and heart to an orphaned child. Other famous celebrities who have adopted include Calista Flockhart, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise and Meg Ryan.

What about famous people who have been adopted? This list includes country singer Faith Hill, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, and singer song writer Sarah McLachlan. More recently, Jillian Michaels also announced she is adopting. Other historical figures who were adopted include poet Eager Allen Poe and philosopher Aristotle.

The media has shown us that adoptions occur not only with mainstream America, but also within the celebrity world. Whether a child is adopted by a celebrity or by a family or individual in mainstream America, they all have one thing in common, providing a home to a child and this is what should be celebrated.

While celebrities making news seems to keep us all entertained, the news of a famous individual or family adopting sheds an important spotlight on the need for adoptive parents and the plight of orphaned children worldwide. These reports also provide us a window into the life and heart of celebrities, who we see, are basically just like the rest of adoptive parents, with arms and hearts open to children without homes and without families. Many kudos to all of you!

photo via rockymountainhigh

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.