Thanks to A-listers like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Hollywood has put adoption in the spotlight.
Today star Hoda Kotb adopted hew newborn daughter Haley Joy in February 2017
The new mom, 53, opened up about her previous battle with breast cancer that left her unable to conceive.
“One of the things in my life I’ve always wanted was to be a mom,” she shared. “Sometimes in your life, things just don’t work out for whatever reason, so you say, ‘Well, I wasn’t meant to have that.’ But it was really hard to come to terms with it.”
She added: “There was a hole. People would say, ‘Oh, do you have kids?’ And I’d feel like, ‘Ouch.’ I knew inside it was supposed to be for me. One of the reasons was because I couldn’t have children. Finally I said to myself one day, ‘Why can’t I? Why not me?’ I had this ache in me that I couldn’t push away anymore.”
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie:
Their three eldest children were adopted from Cambodia, Vietnam and Ethiopia — although, the Maleficent actor, 42, said she’s lost track of the details.
“I couldn’t tell you in my own home who’s adopted and who’s not,” said the mom-of-six.
“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 Academy Award-winner wants her children to 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,” she shared. “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.”
Hugh Jackman & Deborra-Lee Furness:
Hugh Jackman is happiest, “being with my family, definitely, without a doubt.”
The Wolverine star, 49, and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, have two adopted children – Oscar, now 17, and Ava, now 12.
The father-of-two has opened up about his wife’s miscarriages which led them to adoption.
“It was a hard time. We went through IVF,” he shared. “Deb doesn’t give up. At a certain point I was like, ‘Deb, let’s adopt now.’ In Australia at the time, you couldn’t do IVF and adopt simultaneously. So we adopted, and it has been the greatest, most fulfilling and challenging role of our lives.”
The Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood stars have opened up about their open adoption with Simone’s birth mother.
“It’s an open adoption and we’re still in contact with Simone’s birth mom,” the reality dads shared. “It’s a really special and wonderful relationship that we have with her. We exchange photos and talk on the phone occasionally. There’s an open invitation for her to come and visit.”
They have also said, “Open adoption, ultimately, is a very beautiful thing.”
Katherine Heigl & Josh Kelley:
Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl and her husband Josh Kelley adopted their daughter Naleigh, now 9, from Korea when she was 10-months-old.
“[Adoption has] been a big part of my life and my family,” said the actor. “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.”
She added: “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, from the United Stated in April 2012.
“She’s great! She’s a delicious, beautiful, wonderful child,” the Knocked Up star, 39, gushed of her daughter.
Jillian Michaels & Heidi Rhoades:
The Biggest Loser star Jillian Michaels and her fiancée Heidi Rhoades became parents to two children in May 2013: A 2-year-old daughter Lukensia, whom they adopted, and a newborn son Phoenix, whom Rhoades carried.
“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 said the adoption process was not easy, and after a year and a half of waiting for a referral from Africa, they 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 adopted both of her children as a single mother. The Mad Max: Fury Road star, 42, adopted her son Jackson, now 5, from South Africa, while her daughter August, now 1, was born in the United States.
Charlize 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 mother. The Blind Side star, 53, adopted a New Orleans-born boy, Louis, in January 2010.
Now 8-years-old, Louis has become one of Sandra’s greatest joys. “He’s just perfect, I can’t even describe him any other way,” she gushed.
The actor opened up about the first time she laid eyes on her sweet son.
“The first time I met Louis, it was like the whole outside world got quiet,” she shared. “It was like he had always been a part of our lives. All I said when I met him was, ‘Oh, there you are.’”
Then in 2015, Bullock adopted her second child, a 3-year-old girl named Laila from Louisiana who had been in foster care.
“When I look at Laila, there’s no doubt in my mind that she was supposed to be here,” Bullock shared. “I can tell you absolutely, the exact right children came to me at the exact right time.”
She added: My family is blended and diverse, nutty, and loving and understanding. That’s a family.”
A year after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Sheryl Crow adopted her now 10-year-old son, Wyatt. The Soak Up the Sun hitmaker, 55, 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 7-year-old son Levi.
“I’ve always had maternal instincts,” she shared. “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.”
She added: “They have so much energy and they keep me young! I wouldn’t change a thing. I love getting to see things through their eyes.”
The Queen of Pop Madonna has adopted four children from Malawi – David, now 12, Mercy, now 11, and 5-year-old twins Estere and Stella – and has since spoken about the experience.
The international adoptions were a complicated process and “an eye opening experience,” she shared.
“I didn’t know that trying to adopt a child was going to land me in another sh– storm,” she shared. “I was accused of kidnapping, child trafficking, using my celebrity muscle to jump ahead in the line, bribing government officials, witchcraft, you name it. I could get my head around people giving me a hard time for simulating masturbation onstage or publishing my Sex book, even kissing Britney Spears at an awards show, but trying to save a child’s life was not something I thought I would be punished for. . . In any case, I got through it. I survived.”
That said, the Material Mom admits the joys outweigh the negatives.
“It’s complicated, but it’s so worth it,” she shared.