I’ve written about Angelina Jolie, Katherine Heigl and Madonna adopting internationally, and about Sheryl Crow adopting an infant and Sandra Bullock’s adoption of an African-American infant from New Orleans. (Breaking news on Bullock: gossip sites like “Anything Hollywood”and “igossip” are saying Bullock wants to adopt a sibling for Louis, and wants to start the process now and hope that it won’t take as long as Louis’ adoption. Bullock and her then-husband Jesse James applied to adopt nearly four years ago. I haven’t heard any mainstream verification of this, though. )
It seems rarer to hear about celebrities adopting from foster care, although Rosie O’Donnell fostered a three-year-old girl after two domestic infant adoptions. Nia Vardalos has become an advocate for adoption, a spokesperson for several programs and for National Adoption Day, and especially for adopting from foster care.
Vardalos told Adoptive Families magazine that she believes that the reason it took her so long to become a parent (she endured ten years of infertility, several matches with birthmothers who decided to parent their newborns after all, and was on waiting lists for adoption from China and Greece), as well as the reason she had such incredible success with her movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, is so that she could become an adoption advocate. When she learned about kids waiting in foster care, she said she knew that adopting an older child from foster care is what she would do.
Vardalos said that although the process wasn’t hard, finding out about her options was. She was also intimidated when, after telling the state agency that she was open to any gender, race or age, they were happy because they said, as Vardalos humorously puts it,
“Oh, goodie, they exclaimed, because they could place an at-risk, multiple-sibling set in my house on a trial basis, and an adoption might come out of it if the parental rights were terminated in court after a few years.”
Vardalos actually agreed to consider only children already legally free. She extols the help and support she was given from a Foster Family Agency. (Note that the role, and sometimes the name, of Foster Family Agencies varies from state to state. You can find an agency near you at www.adoptuskids.org . )Vardalos’ agency helped navigate the state system and searched for children from different states that Vardalos and her husband could be good parents to. Vardalos and her husband Ian Gomez adopted a little girl in 2008. It took nine months to be matched with her, and the adoption was finalized within a year.
Vardalos has been circumspect about her daughter’s name, age and story. I respect the fact that she will give her daughter a chance to decide when her story should be told. Bullock also chose to keep her son’s arrival secret, to have some bonding time without the media glare that accompanies Hollywood’s awards season.