On any given day, celebrity magazines will feature another star who recently adopted a baby. For a while serial adopting parents Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt graced the covers of many magazines with yet another child brought home to expand their brood, but they seemed to have stopped at four, for now. The Jolie-Pitt children include Maddox, 11, from Cambodia, Pax, 9, from Vietnam, Zahara, 8, from Ethiopia, and biological twins Vivienne and Knox, 5.
A couple decades before the Jolie-Pitts, there was Mia and Woody. Mia Farrow and Woody Allen adopted 11 children from all over the world to add to their four biological children. Although it would seem Farrow was the major force behind most of the adoptions and the couple’s union, as well as one of the adoptions, ended badly.
Many couples and single individuals, albeit nearly all single women, adopt children everyday. Both famous persons and average working people who have enough love, patience and income to share with a child in need. However, the adoption process is not always as easy as it may seem when the celebrities do it. And many of them have had to navigate their way through years and miles of paperwork before they reach their happy family waiting at the end of the road.
Here are five celebrities that have adopted kids and their stories.
1. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron, born in province of South Africa, has appeared in such films as The Italian Job, The Devil’s Advocate, Hancock, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, North Country and Monster, which won her an Oscar for her outstanding performance.
Theron, 37, has never been married but but maintained a long-term relationship with Scottish actor Stuart Townsend. The two said they would not marry until all couples, including gay and lesbians, could legally marry. The pair split in early 2010 after nine years. In March of 2012, Theron’s publicist released a statement with few details about her adoption of son Jackson. In May of that year, Theron visited the set of the Ellen DeGeneres Show and told the host Jackson was in fact born in the US and came to her when he was nine days old. Other than that, she is keeping tight-lipped on her new addition to her private life.
2. Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock is best known for her roles in movies like Miss Congeniality, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous, The Lake House, Hope Floats, Speed, Speed 2: Cruise Control, The Net, Crash, The Proposal and The Blindside, which she won an Academy Award for her performance. Bullock is also a producer with her own production company, Fortis Films and was the executive producer of The George Lopez family sitcom now in syndication.
Bullock had been engaged once before to actor Tate Donovan but broke off their union before wedding plans were solidified. On July 16, 2005, Bullock wed Monster Garage host and master motorcycle builder Jesse James whom she first met after she arranged for her 10-year-old godson to meet. James has three children from two previous marriages, his youngest, a five-year-old, came to live with Bullock and him after they successfully sued his ex-wife, porn star Janie Lindermulder for custody.
Bullock and James had been planning on the adoption of a baby for several years and began the paperwork four years prior receiving word a baby was available. In January 2010, baby Louis came to live with the couple, but they decided to wait on announcing their good news until after the March Oscars. At the beginning of March several women came forward claiming to have had affairs with James while he was married to Bullock. Most of the scandal hit right after her Oscar win and James denied the accusations as much as he could. After a few days, James publicly apologized to his wife and a week later his publicist stated he had entered rehab to deal with personal problems.
On April 23, Bullock filed for divorce and on April 28 she announced she had gone forward with the planned adoption of her son Louis Bardo Bullock as a single parent. Bullocks divorce from James was final on June 28, 2010.
3. Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann
Actress Mariska Hargitay and husband actor Peter Hermann have a biological son, August 5 born when Hargitay was 42-years-old. Hargitay, best known for her role as detective Olivia Benson on TV’s Law & Order: SVU, told a magazine interviewer last year that her and her husband always wanted a large family. But because she was older, they always considered adoption as part of their family planning options.
Hargitay and Hermann didn’t have an easy time of adopting their first time. They couple located a young mother near them in New York, signed the paperwork and met several times with the expectant woman. The couple was in the delivery room when the baby was born, named the infant and bonded with it while parenting it for two days before the mother changed her mind. Hagitay said they were devastated but after a day or two happy for both mother and child.
Then in April 2011, Hagitay and Hermann were connected with another woman about to give birth. They were in the delivery room and Hagitay was able to help deliver daughter Amaya Josephine. Hagitay said the birth mother held the baby along with her and it was the most beautiful and touching moment of her life.
Although the couple wanted to wait about 18 months before adopting another child, fate had other plans. They received a call less than six months after bringing baby Amaya home that a premature baby boy was in need of adoptive parents. The celebrity couple didn’t hesitate and picked up their new baby the next day. Andrew Nicolas has a few health issues and the couple has a live-in nurse to help out, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
4. Jillian Michaels and Heidi Rhoades
Jillian Michaels is best known for her honest confrontational style on NBC’s popular weight loss program The Biggest Loser. Fans of the fitness trainers may have been a bit surprised when in May 2011 Michaels quit stating she wanted to concentrate on starting a family. The main reason for the shock was not because the petite health and fitness fanatic was gay, that didn’t seem to register with most fans. What was more bothersome was her loud protests of anti-pregnancy due to what carrying a baby does to your body.
The pregnancy body point was really mute because as a teenager, Michaels, 39, was diagnosed with endometriosis, a health problem for women that affects the cells in the uterus and leads to irregular periods, pain and infertility.
After a visit to Haiti, Michaels fell in love with a baby girl and began the adoption process, but the process began to take months and months. In the meantime her partner, Heidi Rhoades, 32, became pregnant and the couple was ecstatic. The couple were hoping their daughter would come home from Haiti before their son was born but life doesn’t always give you what you want.
On May 3, 2012 Rohades gave birth to Phoenix in Los Angeles by c-section. Michaels was there every step of the way but was in agony because she was helpless to assist with her partners pain. Afterward, the fitness trainer took over so her partner could rest a few days. But Rohades rest was short lived. Four days after the birth of their son, Michaels’ boarded a plane for Haiti to bring home their daughter Lukensia, 2. Once home with both babies, Michaels and Rohades were happy, tired, sleep-deprived and over the moon at their good fortune.
5. Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness
Hugh Jackman is best known for his portrayal of superhero Wolverine as well as feature roles in Australia, The Prestige, Real Steel, Kate & Leopold, Van Helsing and Les Miserables. Jackman’s appearance in Les Miserables won him his first Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. Jackman also has a Tony Award for his stage performance in The Boy from Oz on Broadway.
Deborra-Lee Furness is also from Australia and also an actress in addition to being a producer and director. The couple met in 1995 on the set of the Australian television program Correlli and were married the following year on April 11, 1996. After several failed attempts to become parents through IVF, Jackman and Furness adopted their first child Oscar Maximillian in May 2000. Five years later, daughter Ava Eliot was born and brought home to Australia.
Adopting Older Children
The vast majority of celebrity adoptions are infants, but there are untold numbers of children of all ages in the welfare system in the United States who are waiting for parents and have been for many years. These children are located in foster homes were most face an uphill battle simple to survive daily life. They are the ones who’ve lost hope of rising above their situation to become what their hearts desire, what their true potential can and will be if they believe in themselves.
To help these children, the New York Foundling Organization runs the Camp Felix Summer Camp where kids who otherwise would not have the opportunity to get away for a 4 week period is afforded the luxury to be just a kid. They build new personal skills, meet new friends, learn about and enjoy the outdoors and simply be a carefree kid. Campers are engaged in activities that build self-confidence, character, community and resilience. They leave the program with a new sense of “can-do” and hope for whatever their life may give them.
The Camp Felix Summer Camp partners with Sheila Jaffe, a well-known movie industry casting director and Run D-M-C’s Darryl McDaniels. The pair help inspire and motivate children to be all they can be, no matter where they are; to build community with others and take responsibility through leadership. Camp Felix is the only overnight camp experience for kids in the welfare system and helps between 150 and 200 children each summer.