Celebrity adoption stories to warm your heart

Adoption Awareness Week begins Friday November 6. Here's why celebrities find it a topic so close to their hearts and home.

Hugh Jackman, Charlize Theron, Sandra Bullock, Sharon Stone, Madonna, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Cate Blanchet, Kristin Davis… the names go on. And it’s not for a VIP guest list. These are the celebrities who have adopted children – either from their provenance or otherwise. And here's how it has changed their lives. For the better. 

1. Hugh Jackman and Deborah-Lee Furness

Hugh and Deborah have two adopted children, Oscar and Ava and have championed the cause for many years with Hugh quoted as saying “adoption is about taking a baby into your home — and your heart. It's the best thing we've ever done.” Founding member of Adopt Change, Deborah-Lee and her husband were forced to move to America to adopt their children, so today, she champions change in Australian adoption laws furiously. “Where there is a will, there is a way,” she has said.

2. Madonna

The original bad girl – pre-Rhi Rhi and Miley – Madonna has certainly mellowed in her later years and taken to motherhood like a pro. So much so that she has adopted two children from Malawi, David and Mercy, in addition to having her own children, Lourdes and Rocco. This move has enhanced her family, and philanthropy. “I go to Malawi twice a year,” she has said. “It's where two of my children were adopted from, and I have a lot of projects there that I go and check up on and children who I look after. It's sort of (a) commitment that I've made to this country and the hundreds of thousands of children there who have been orphaned by AIDS.”

3. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

It’s rare to read a tabloid word about Brad and Angelina without some mention of their ‘brood’. With three adopted children, Maddox from Cambodia, Zahara from Ethiopia and Pax from Vietnam, rounding out their family of six kids, it’s easy to understand why they have become the poster-perfect pair for celebrity adoption. But as Brad has put it, for he and his wife, the benefits of their international adoptions run much deeper than any headline could profess. “They're as much my blood as I am theirs” he has said.  

4. Tom Cruise

“My adopted children are my children. There is no separation in that for me whatsoever,” Tom Cruise is quoted as saying of his two children, Isabella and Connor, he adopted in the early 1990s with his then-wife Nicole Kidman. “There's no way there is any difference, and anyone who has adopted would say the same. That bond couldn't be any stronger.”

5. Sandra Bullock

There were hoops and hurdles aplenty in Sandra Bullock's way in her quest to adopt son Louis in 2010. Most notably her highly publicised break up with cheating husband, Jesse James. Today, Sandra and Louis are constant globe-trotting companions, with Sandra saying, "he's just perfect, I can't even describe him any other way. You don’t have to give birth to someone to have a family. We’re all family – an extended family." 

6. Cate Blanchett 

Mother of three boys with her husband Andrew Upton, Cate Blanchett, has recently adopted a little girl. But, like the Jackmans’, they had their joy dampened by politics after they too had to adopt baby Edith from America. "There's a lot of children out there that don't have the good fortune of our biological children, so it's lovely to welcome a little girl. We're besotted,” she has said.

Fast facts on adoption in Australia

1. Adoptions in Australia have declined over the past few decades.

This drop may be linked to the acceptance in society – and the governments' financial aid for – single or unmarried parents. No longer a social taboo, sole-parents are successfully raising children throughout Australia rather than being forced to adopt them out. In the 1970s the forced adoption laws ceased.

2. Same sex couples adoption is limited in Australia, with only some states legalising it.

Others allow same-sex couples only to become foster carers.

3. South Australia and Queensland are the only Australian states where single parent adoption is not permitted.

In general, singles are still considered less of a priority than couples to adopt and can endure lengthy waiting lists.

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