Does coverage of celebrity adoptions help or hurt?

Sharon Stone. Burt Reynolds. Katherine Heigl. Madonna. Michelle Pfeifer. Rosie O'Donnell. Tom Cruise. Nicole Kidman. Brad Pitt. Angelina Jolie. Just to name a few.

Sandra Bullock is the latest high-profile adoption to gain media coverage.

And even the mere mention of a celebrity's consideration of adoption is fodder for the news wire.

A fever of sorts seems to be sweeping the jet-set community and we've been hit by a constant barrage of celebrity adoption stories. It seems to be a growing trend among the stars with international adoptions being named "all the rage."

In some ways, this extra attention to adoption is a great thing. Perhaps it will help broaden the public's knowledge base about adoption issues. I'd hope at least one celebrity might address issues such as adoptees rights to their birth records, or, (dare I hope) the differences between international and domestic.

I wonder why are people sucking up these celebrity adoption stories? I think it's the fairy-tale notion that the world has about adoption. Adoption is idealized with the adoptive parents as the heros and the children as pitiful Annie archetypes.

"How wonderful you are saving that poor child" seems to be a common response. (We've heard this comment and it makes my hair stand on end. I always feel they are really saying "You poor dears. You must be adopting because you can't have a child biologically but we'll just look at the bright side of all this and try to make you feel good since this is your only option." Not to mention that they are stereotyping our future child as a poor, pitiful thing that needs saving by two white Americans. And assuming that we're not able to have biological children. But I digress.)

(On that note--take a little detour to see a collection of photos with the terrible headline: "Cute black babies and the celebrities who love them." This is completely ridiculous. Is their point that black babies can be cute? Or that celebrities can actually love them?)

The bottom line is we aren't adopting for altruistic reasons. It's a ridiculous notion to think that you would take on the commitment to raise a child just because you wanted to do something to make you feel good about yourself. Raising kids is a tough job and a long commitment. I can give to a charity, volunteer my time, or a bunch of other things if I want to feel benevolent. It was a choice we made based on what was right for us.

And I'm sure that celebrities are no different. They adopted because it was right for their families. My hope is that one day adoption will be so mainstream that we don't have to point out who has done it. One day maybe society will just adoptions as one of the many ways that families are created and not important enough to warrant a news story any time a celebrity mentions it.

Find more famous adopted parents here and here.


  1. Great topic! I find it annoying that people think others adopt because they are either infertile or altruistic. ARGH! I don't that things have changed much in the last 30 years, other than perhaps it is more "acceptable" to be a multicultural family these days. My parents adopted my brothers 34 and 30 years ago and were always asked about "saving" children. Obviously because they had my sister and I, they weren't infertile and people just assumed they wanted to "save" two "unwanted" children.

    I'd love for a celebrity to become an adoption advocate. Just like I'd love it if the likes of Elizabeth Edwards, Nancy Grace or Kelly Preston would come out and advocate donor eggs and not perpetuate the myth to young women that it is easy to get pregnant after 45...

  2. I so agree with this. We aren't adopting for altruistic reasons, either. We simply want to be parents, and we know there are babies who need parents, and this is the right way for our family to be formed!

    We've actually had a few people liken our adoption plans to the fact that our dog is a retired racing greyhound. These folks truly meant well--they thought they were complimenting us, I think--but it made me recoil to hear them say it.

  3. Yep Amy. Same thing happened to us. We actually heard a comment that it made sense that we would adopt because we that's the type of people we are--when we wanted a dog we got it from the Humane Society. So adopting a child from Korea is like adopting a dog from the pound?? I know they meant well, but it is an awkward connection. I chalked it up to people trying to understand our decision.


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