I was thinking (unkindly) about Angelina Jolie the other day and decided to do some research on her. She is actually an amazing person. True, her privilege has probably made some things easier for her than they would be for you or me, but she has also worked hard on behalf of refugees and other causes. Her international adoptions went through very quickly, to be sure, but that is probably due to being able to hire people to help her jump through the hoops. As a parent of a large family myself, I can understand why she has so many kids. She adopted two, gave birth to one, then adopted a 3 year old; that’s not so surprising. The fact that she later gave birth to twins is probably unrelated! Anyway, I love the occasional pictures of her international family that doesn’t look so unlike my own!
What started out as envy and meanness toward a celebrity got me thinking about famous adoptees and former foster kids. Everyone in our circles probably knows that Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s (fast food chain) is adopted. However, here are a few you may not know about; I am impressed by how few of these are straight-up agency adoptions:
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple was adopted in a traditional arrangement.
Singer/songwriter Faith Hill was also adopted at the young age of one-week old.
Willie Nelson was raised by his grandparents.
Malcolm X, civil rights leader, was in foster care from the age of 13.
Dr. Ruth was in foster care.
James Dean (the actor famous for portraying rebellious teens) was a foster kid too.
Nelson Mandela was informally adopted in an unusual arrangement by a village leader in order to show gratitude to Mandela’s deceased father.
FIgure skater Scott Hamilton was adopted.
Actor Ray Liotta was adopted at age 6 months.
John Lennon was informally adopted by an aunt and uncle at the age of 9.
Politician/Activist Jesse Jackson was adopted in step-parent adoption. His mother had been a teen mom but managed to raise him, mostly on her own, until she married Jackson’s adoptive father.
Remember Gary Coleman, the adorable star of Different Strokes? He was also adopted in real life.
Not only is it interesting to know about all these adopted people, it’s good for our kids. It helps them to realize that adoption is a part of who they are, but it doesn’t have to define them. I am inspired looking at the diverse field of talents, gifts, and skills this group holds. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our kids.
The talented Jamie Foxx was adopted at 7 months by his grandparents and he is an advocate for adoption now.