Is Domestic Adoption Becoming the Latest Hollywood Fad?

Dawn Davenport


celebrity adoptions

Celebrity adoptions have brought attention and visibility to international and domestic adoptions, but that doesn’t make it a trend or a fad.

I just read an article titled Domestic Adoption is the Hot Hollywood Trend.   Honestly, my first reaction was to cringe.  And then I read the comments and saw this:

“There is no celebrity domestic adoption trend. There is no celebrity international adoption trend. There is only a false, media-manufactured ‘competition’ regarding the most virtuous form of adoption that is meant to generate page views and newsstand sales. ‘Articles’ like this insult adoptive families of all stripes…”

Now tell the truth, what was your first reaction?

Adoption isn’t a trend.

Not sure exactly why, but anytime I see the word “adoption” associated with “trend” is rubs me wrong.  I think it’s because I associate “trend” with “fad”, and children are a life time commitment, not a passing fad, regardless the form of family building—easy conception, surrogacy, or adoption.  But is it an “insult to adoptive families”?

All the actors mentioned Sandra Bullock, Sheryl Crow,  and Mariska Hargita (and I would add Denise Richards, Calista Flockhart, Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman, Rosie O’Donnell to the list) have long expressed a desire to parent and seem to be totally committed to parenting.  No evidence that they adopted to be fashionable.  The fact that they are proud adoptive mommas sends a great message that adoption is simply one way to form your family—neither better nor worse than any other way.

All types of adoption deserve visibility.

I see the commenter’s point about drumming up competition between the types of adoption.  But considering the media attention on famous families formed through international adoption (think Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt and Madonna), I see nothing wrong with an article that highlights that there are children available for adoption in the US.  Perhaps we need a little more media attention of celebrities that adopt from foster care, such as Nia Vardalos and Steven Spielberg/ Kate Capshaw.

Image credit:  World Economic Forum

22/07/2011 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 22 Comments

22 Responses to Is Domestic Adoption Becoming the Latest Hollywood Fad?

  1. Avatar Dawn says:

    Paula, well said!!!!!

  2. Avatar Kristina Grish says:

    How great that she was so honest. I have been told both sides from celebs. The more honesty, the better!

  3. Avatar Cathy W says:

    Yep good ole media hype!

    Anything to get peoples attention. What disturbs me about the piece is that the reporter seems to think that domestic adoption is better than international adoption.

    I guess how else was said reporter going to get people, us, to read their story and then share it so even more will read it.

    As we all know, a child is a child and ALL children deserve to have a family of their own, regardless the type of adoption it is, domestic or international.

    One more time we have to read about a narrow minded individual who most likely knows nothing about adoption in any way shape or form, even if this reporter does know about adoption first hand, shame on them for their making their prejudices known.

  4. Avatar Deb Whitney says:

    I did read a short article about Denise Richards adopting a baby domestically and she did mention how hard it was, that it took 2 years and that more than once she got close only to have it fall through. A more realistic view of adoption. She even mentioned that many people think celebs get preferential treatment because we don’t see the long journey in the media only the end result.

  5. Avatar Kristina Grish says:

    What is unfortunate is that celebs edit what they tell the public, for the sake of much-deserved privacy, and then strangers who ask us why we didnt adopt in one direction or another bc a certain celeb had such a perfect experience, sort of creates an unfair and biased story that those who are more eell-informed have to explain.

  6. Avatar Kristina Grish says:

    I meant its horrible that we trivialize something so important as a trend. But i do think its terrific that celebs can bring attention to something so important.

  7. Avatar Kristina Grish says:

    oh, this is just a journalist looking for something to write about this week. it’s horrible, but not to be internalized. i worked on a project with nia vardalos, and she is the last person to say that it’s an act of fads and trends. i’ve found that celebrities are actually insulted by these kinds of comments – so honestly, it’s really the media that’s drumming this stuff up.

  8. Avatar Meredith says:

    Our adoption budget is 25K. Since we are in PA, I’m not sure that sliding scale fees are legal. (I’m not a lawyer)

    Also, we have been targeting states that limit “birth mother expenses.” However, this has not been to successful because as soon as the birth-mother hits the limit, she decides to go with another adoption agency in another state with no limits.

    Our adoption professionals tell us it just too bad that we don’t have more resources or a larger budget to allow for additional expenses.

    We also tried foster-adopt, but these programs have system barriers in place that prevent military couples from adopting. Deployments, frequency of movement between bases, and lack of understanding of military families have prevented us from being successful in the foster-adopt arena.

    Basically, we are being told without a large budget we have a low rate of success. Also, the expense of changing agencies is also problematic.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Meredith, we are having an upcoming show tentatively titled, Adopting Without Going Broke. It’s currently scheduled for Sept. 7. Sign up for our weekly newsletter and I’ll let you know for sure when the show will be. Please consider submitting this question about your specific circumstances for us to discuss with our panel.

  9. Avatar Meredith says:

    Thanks Dawn for reply to my message.

    While I can understand your comment: “Many woman are looking for stable loving plain-Jane middle class parents,” our adoption professionals we have hired all tell us that our adoption budget is to low. It is difficult to believe how much money is required to have a successful adoption. We just don’t have the resources of Hollywood Stars and according to our adoption professional it is greatly impeding our adoption. In the situations we been presented at, all have turned us down due to the lack of resources we can offer to the expectant mother.

    It very depressing to think our adoption plans are limbo due to us not having enough money to attract a expectant mother.

  10. Adoption is not a new trend in hollywood – several adopted from the witch Georgia Tann.

    Any trend (be it Hollywood or the Christian movement to save all those orphans) in adoption is scary because then you have a whole lot of uneducated people clamouring to jump on board because everyone is doing it – how is that good for the adoptee? Far to many of them will hear only what they want to hear and do not learn what they need to learn about the real differences in parenting an adoptee. Very sad. But just think of the rash of us adult adoptee bloggers that will happen in the next 20 or 30 years…

  11. Avatar Laura Jean says:

    Have adoption statistics changed among celebrities or just the media’s awareness and interest in using this to sell their magazines and papers?

    I am often annoyed by how the media portrays adoption and I think this reflects the way many people who have not experienced an adoption either first hand or within their social circle/family think and talk about adoption. I also get annoyed by the way the word “adoption” is thrown around from highways and even to beloved pets and how people of different ethnic groups are portrayed on American t.v., something I never even gave a thought to until I was adopting a child from this negatively portrayed group.

    I think the fad is the media’s attention to adoption and will fade away. The perception of adoption will continue to change for the better albeit slowly as the majority of people in our society do not have the personal connection with adoption that educates them and helps engage them in critical thinking changing the way they think and talk about adoption.

  12. Avatar Paula says:

    As a mother who adopted international (I was and am living in her birth country) I get comments from home that I am “doing Angelina” I get a bit fed up. It is implying that I only adopted so I could be like a celebrity. As if my daughter is a fashion accessary, that I’ll replace when the new trend comes along. It also makes me mad that people who happen to be celebrities can’t be proud advocates of adoption. They are, after all, just people like us that want to have children. If they help children that need adopting we should be saying well done, not saying damming things that makes them think twice about adopting a second child. If people can see that adoption is a great way to create a family and that it really can work ou then why not support these celebrities.

  13. Avatar Meredith says:

    I think this is just another problem in a long list of problems with adoption, especially US Domestic Adoption.

    If it takes more than two years for Denise Richards to adopt a child with all her wealth, fame, and media exposure, I see little chance that plain-Jane middle class couples can adopt.

    I mean how are we suppose to compete with celebrities and all the resources they have at this fingertips.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Meredith, while it does take a certain amount of money to adopt and it is true that those with more money can cast their nets wider to try to find a potential birth mother, ultimately, the decision to place a child belong to this woman. From my experience, it is impossible to predict what a women will want when she is looking for adoptive parents for her child. Perhaps Denise waited two years because she was single. It is even possible that her connection to Charlie Sheen turned off some first moms. Many woman are looking for stable loving plain-Jane middle class parents.

  14. Avatar Kimberley says:

    Yet another article written about adoption by someone who has never been part of it. Just what we need! I found the first line of the article “Take a hint, Brad and Angelina”, to be the first of many offensive remarks. From there, the author goes on to describe how Sheryl Crow was “ahead of the trend” by adopting domestically before Sandra or Mariska.
    I feel sick after reading this article.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      I appreciate what someone said earlier that articles such as this demean the celebrities that adopted more than anything else. Since I published this last week, I’ve seen no less than 5 comments/articles referring to adoption being a fad or a trend. I hope this is because I am attuned to this topic and therefore seeing it everywhere, rather than the fact that it is becoming a part of our zeitgeist.

  15. Avatar debwhit says:

    It is disturbing that they are insinuating that adopting a child is the latest trend to acquire but it’s also disturbing that there is so much talk about which type of adoption is more virtuous. I got a few comments when I adopted about why I didn’t adopt a baby from the US but now there seems to be even more talk in the media and anytime there is an article in People magazine about a celeb couple adopting there will be a letter to the editor about how nice it was that they adopted a child from US or that they should have adopted from the US. Love to hear others comments about this.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Debwhit, I hear ya. It is so interesting that people are quick to question and judge the method of adoption and most often these people know very little about adoption. I too will be interested in hearing what others think.

  16. Kristina, why do you say it is “horrible”? I mean, what part. Is it calling adoption a trend, is it the drumming up competition, or something else? Do you see anything positive about the media attention?

  17. Deb, I’m glad she was honest. I know a lot of celebrities insist that they don’t get preferential treatment. I would imagine that celebrity can cut both ways when an expectant woman is making a decision on who to choose.

  18. Kristina, I see your point.

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