Thanks to A-list couples like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Hollywood has put adoption in the spotlight.
From Malawi, to Korea, to the United States, let’s look at some international and domestic adoptions from our favorite celebrity families. And hear about the joys from some of the most high-profile adoptive parents.
The Biggest Loser star Jillian Michaels and her partner Heidi Rhoades became parents to two children in May: A 2-year-old daughter Lukensia and a newborn son Phoenix.
“About three and a half years ago I began dating my partner Heidi,” Jillian shared on her road toward motherhood. “We had a very easy going, comfortable and no-pressure relationship. And a year or so into our relationship, I decided I want to adopt.”
The celebrity trainer went on to say the adoption process was not easy, and after a year and a half of waiting for a referral from Africa, she switched gears.
“I switched all my paperwork over to Haiti and I get a phone call one day,” she shared. “Heidi is now trying to get pregnant for five months now. They say, ‘We have a referral for you,’ which means they’ve matched you with a child. I was like, ‘This is unbelievable, this is great!’ I come home and tell Heidi, and in less than 24 hours she says, ‘By the way, I’m pregnant.’ ”
Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron, who stars in Snow White and the Huntsman and Prometheus this summer, shocked fans with her baby news in March. The actress adopted a baby boy named Jackson.
Charlize recently opened up about a letter she wrote at 8-years-old, sharing her plans for a future adoption.
“My mother found [it]. It said, ‘Would you please take me to orphanage, so that I can go and adopt a baby?’ I always knew I would adopt – always,” she shared.
Not only did Sandra Bullock become an Academy Award-winner in 2010, she also become a mom. The Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close actress adopted a New Orleans-born boy, Louis, in January 2010.
Now 2-years-old, Louis has become Sandra’s greatest joy: “He’s just perfect, I can’t even describe him any other way.”
Sandra opened up about the first time she laid eyes on her gorgeous son:
“The first time I met Louis, it was like the whole outside world got quiet,” she said. “It was like he had always been a part of our lives. All I said when I met him was, ‘Oh, there you are.’”
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman adopted daughter Bella, now 19, and son Connor, now 17, during their 11-year marriage. The Top Gun star told Oprah in 2005 that they’re doing a great job raising the kids despite their break-up.
“Nic and I are doing a terrific job,” Tom said. “I’m really proud with how we’re raising the kids. I think we’re both really proud.”
Both Tom and Nicole have since welcomed biological children. Tom and estranged wife Katie Holmes are the proud parents of 6-year-old daughter Suri, while Nicole and Keith Urban share daughters Sunday, 4, and Faith, 1.
A year after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Sheryl Crow adopted her now 5-year-old son, Wyatt. The songstress said she always knew she’d be a mom.
“There was a shift in my life when I got diagnosed, [with breast cancer] because it demanded I look at everything and redefine my life,” she said. “I always felt I would be a mom. I have strong maternal instincts.”
The singer went on to adopt a second son, now 2-year-old son Levi.
“I’ve always had maternal instincts,” she said. “And there are so many different ways you can go about that. My sons didn’t have to be from me. They didn’t have to look like me. I just wanted children to love.”
The Queen of Pop has adopted two children from Malawi – David, now 6, and Mercy, now 5 – and has since given back to the impoverished African nation.
A close friend of Madonna’s said the singer was thrilled to bring Mercy home after a long, legal battle.
“She’s ecstatic. She made a promise that she wouldn’t give up on Mercy and, believe me, she could move mountains when she’s this determined.”
Madonna is also mom to biological children Lourdes, 15, and Rocco, 11, from previous relationships.
Hugh Jackman is happiest, “being with my family, definitely, without a doubt.”
The sexy Wolverine star and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, have two adopted children Oscar, 12, and Ava, 7. The hands-on dad said it was a “no-brainer” for them to adopt children in need.
“When we went first to talk to someone in Los Angeles about adoption, I remember, they said, ‘What do you want?’ I said, ‘Well, healthy would be good.’ And they said, ‘Well, what about the race?’ We’d ticked mixed race. And he said, ‘Now, listen. Please don’t, please don’t just tick that because you think it’s the right thing to tick.’ And he said to me, that we turn away children every month who are mixed race, because we can’t find families for them.”
He’s also spoken of the joys of adoption.
“A while back, there was a lot of shame attached to it and parents wouldn’t tell their kids they were adopted,” he said. “What’s great is that the focus is now shifting to the care of the child. We were very fortunate and open – I can’t go into details because of the privacy of the birth parents, but I can tell you it was amicable. Adoption is a wonderful thing to do.”
A-listers Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are parents to six children: Maddox, 10, Pax, 8, Zahara, 7, Shiloh, 6, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 4.
Their three eldest children were adopted from Cambodia, Vietnam and Ethiopia — although, Angie said she’s lost track of the details. “I couldn’t tell you in my own home who’s adopted and who’s not,” Angelina recently said.
“It doesn’t cross my mind,” she added. “There is something really wonderful when you adopt a child from another country because that whole country enters your house. We have different languages in our house, we have different flags up in our house, we have different food and culture and discussions and we go to their countries.”
The Oscar-winner wants her children to one day give back to their homelands.
“They have programs in their countries [for] each of them we’re starting. There’s a TB/AIDS clinic being built for Zahara; there’s a clinic already for Mad[dox]. So each of them will take that responsibility. They are from their country and they are of their country and they should know that, it’s part of their family, we are their family but so is their country.”
After trying to adopt domestically for years, Meg Ryan opted to try her luck in China. In 2006, she brought home her daughter Daisy True.
“As mysterious and magical as it is to have a baby you gave birth to, I have that exact same thing with Daisy,” she said. “I feel like we made some agreement, long ago and far away, to meet in the way we did.”
Meg is also mom to biological son Jack, 20, with ex-husband, Dennis Quaid.
Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl and her husband Josh Kelley adopted their daughter Naleigh from Korea when she was 10-months-old.
“[Adoption has] been a big part of my life and my family,” Katherine said. “My sister is Korean and my parents adopted her back in the 70s and so I just always knew that this is something I wanted to do.”
Katherine went on to talk about her now 3-year-old daughter.
“She is a special needs baby and because of that it all moved so much faster. They wanted to get her to us as quickly as possible.”
The couple went on to adopt a second daughter, Adalaide, domestically in April. “She’s great! She’s a delicious, beautiful, wonderful child,” the Grey’s Anatomy alum gushed of her new daughter.