National Adoption Month

7 Actors’ Stories About Their Adopted Children Show Family Isn’t Just Biological

"And then she smiled. And that was it.”

November is National Adoption Month. In honor of the month, we will be bringing attention to the thousands of people in foster care awaiting forever homes, as well as those who provide and advocate for them. These stories emphasize the idea that families are bound together by the love they share, rather than their biological roots. 


Becoming a parent is a different experience for everyone, even if you're a celebrity.

In honor of National Adoption Month, we've rounded up stories from seven stars who have openly discussed their unique bonds with their children and the impact they've had on their lives.

1. Sandra Bullock

Bullock adopted her son Louis in 2010 and daughter Laila in 2012. She credits her bond with Louis as the catalyst for adopting Laila. Since then, Bullock said the two have an "inseparable bond" after the three became comfortably acquainted.

"When I look at Laila, there's no doubt in my mind that she was supposed to be here," she said to People in 2015. "I can tell you absolutely, the exact right children came to me at the exact right time."

2. Mariska Hargitay

For the last 11 years, Hargitay and her husband, actor Peter Hermann, have been growing their family with the birth of their son August in 2006, and the immediate adoptions of daughter Amaya and son Andrew in April and October of 2011.

For Hargitay and Hermann, 2011 was a whirlwind of a year, especially when it only took two days for the couple to meet their new son. But the two had no doubts about it.

"It was one of those things that we were not expecting at all," she said on The Ellen Show in 2012. "And my husband and I looked at each other, and have never been more sure about anything, and knew it was just right."

3. Viola Davis

Davis and her husband Julius Tennon, an actor, adopted their daughter Genesis in 2011. And while some people still have misconceptions that adopting a child is different from having a biological one, Davis assured people in a 2015 interview with People that varying circumstances don't change the hard and fast rules of parenting.

"I always tell Genesis she was born from my heart, not my belly," she said. "There are so many ways to mother rather than to carry a child in your body. So many children need parents, and so many of us want to mother. Know that you will experience motherhood to the full extent."

4. Nia Vardalos

For years, Vardalos and her husband, actor Ian Gomez, struggled with having a biological child. But everything changed in 2008 when the two got a phone call that a little girl needed a home.

In a story on Guideposts, a faith-based nonprofit, Vardalos talks about the first time she met her daughter. After receiving the phone call, they rushed over to meet the little girl and when they got there, she was in a social worker's arms. Right then and there, Vardalos felt a cosmic connection to her. And it wasn't long after that she and Gomez adopted her, named her Ilaria, and haven't looked back.

"She turned and looked at me and I thought, 'Oh, I found you,' " Vardalos said. "It was the strangest feeling of connection as if I had been looking for her. And then she smiled. And that was it."

5. Hugh Jackman

Jackman and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, also had their difficulties with having biological children. And although the couple were devastated when they found out they couldn't conceive a child, things changed once they adopted their son Oscar and daughter Ava.

"From the moment we started the adoption process, all the anxiety went away," Jackman said to the Daily Mail in 2011. "I don't think of them as adopted –– they're our children. Deb and I are believers in I suppose you could call it destiny. We feel things happened the way they are meant to. Obviously, biologically wasn't the way we were meant to have children. Now, as we go through life together, sure there are challenges, but everyone's in the right place with the right people. It sounds airy-fairty, but it's something we feel very deeply."

6. Ty Burrell

The Modern Family star and his wife, Holly Burrell, adopted their daughter Frances in 2010 and quickly adopted their second daughter Greta in 2012.

While Burrell hasn't talked a lot about the adoption process, he told People in 2010 that helping to raise an adopted child with his wife has taken their relationship to new heights.

"There's lots of problem-solving in any marriage," he said, "but when you have this collective goal that is a human being, it's an inspiring rally point."

7. Connie Britton

Britton adopted her son Eyob when he was only an infant in 2011.

For the last six years, she told People that he's constantly teaching her something about life, love, and even herself. 

"My son is adopted from Ethiopia so I always say I can take very little credit, but he, from the beginning, just inherently has had such an open and curious heart and love of life," she said. "He's very into learning and seeing what's happening and seeing what people are doing," Britton continues. "I just love that about him. And it immediately opens me up as well."

Cover image: DFree / | s_bukley /


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