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7 Famous Birth Parents Who Chose Adoption

There are a lot of posts out there about famous people who have adopted or famous people who are adoptees. What’s less known, however, is the number of famous people who have actually placed a child for adoption. Understandably, there’s a reason for this. The decision to place a child for adoption is a deeply personal one that some people may choose to keep to themselves — and that’s entirely their right. However, many in the adoption community wish to celebrate birth parents and their brave choice and, therefore, celebrate those birth parents that have used their platform to share their story and highlight the beauty of adoption. But, who are some famous birth parents? While there are likely more celebrities than we know who are birth parents, here are some of the people who have actually shared their adoption stories with the public:

Joni Mitchell

Before the folk singer became famous, she was a 21 year-old poverty-stricken artist living in a Toronto rooming house. She found herself pregnant and, knowing that she couldn’t properly care for a baby, decided to place her child “born with the moon in Cancer” for adoption in 1965. Mitchell would go on to write a song about her baby girl, “Little Green.” While there was heartache on both sides of the adoption triad, Mitchell eventually was reunited with her daughter in 1988.

Kate Mulgrew

The “Orange is the New Black” actress placed her child for adoption in 1977 when she was starring on “Ryan’s Hope.” After her producers wrote her pregnancy into the show, Mulgrew kept acting while pregnant and worked with Catholic Charities to complete her adoption. While she didn’t receive any information about her daughter for 20 years, she did reconnect with her daughter in 1998. Mulgrew wrote about her experience for AARP, saying, “My daughter's capacity for forgiveness is something I have never seen before in my life. That sense of abandonment was excruciating in her life. There is not enough time to make up for it, only enough time to love. We cried a lot. All we can do is move forward. So we do.”

Roseanne Barr

The actress placed a child for adoption in 1971 when she was 18 years old, leaving her daughter information to find her when she turned 21 herself. However, a tabloid magazine unearthed her adoption documents, throwing her adoption reunion into chaos. Eventually, Barr reunited with her daughter: “We looked at each other, Brandi jumped out of her seat, and we started running toward each other. We embraced and wouldn’t let go of each other, hugging and crying,” Barr told People magazine. “I saw a lot of me in her. She’s intuitive, trusts her perceptions and feelings and listens to what’s not spoken. That’s how I’ve lived my life.”

David Crosby

After finding out in the early 1960s that his girlfriend at the time was pregnant, musician Crosby and the birth mother decided to place their son for adoption. It wasn’t until 30 years later that Crosby was reunited with his son, who also turned out to be a musician. Today, Crosby plays in the same band as his son, James Raymond, who described their relationship to Goldmine Magazine in 2014: “He likes to look out for me,” he said. “There’s certain facets of our relationship where he does get to be like a father figure. And then there’s times when it switches, and I’m kinda like the father. But it’s more like brothers in arms. We’re very close collaborators and really good friends. That’s more the dynamic.”

Andy Kaufman

The comedian and “Taxi” actor and girlfriend placed their daughter for adoption in 1969 when he was a college student in Boston and his girlfriend was a high school student. While he died before his daughter could be reunited with him, she became very close with her birth grandfather and birth aunt and uncle.

Rod Stewart

Stewart placed his first child for adoption in 1963 and recently opened up about their reunion and relationship in the last decade. He expressed guilt about his choice for his daughter but also said their relationship has begun to improve the last decade, especially after her adoptive parents died. His daughter described their relationship to the Daily Mail: “At the moment it's all baby steps, but whatever issues were there have all been forgotten, for both of us… It's all water under the bridge now. It's nerve-racking, too, but just as much so for him as it is for me.” Stewart would go on to write a song for his daughter’s birth mother: “Brighton Beach.”

Mercedes Ruehl

Actress Ruehl placed a child for adoption as a young woman in 1975, knowing she didn’t have the capability to care for a child in her position. However, in 1996, they ended up reuniting. Her son is even the godfather of her younger adopted son. Ruehl described their first meeting to The New York Times, saying, “We just looked at each other and we laughed and we hugged each other. I thought I was going to cry. We just felt so shy, we just giggled.” For a full list of famous adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees, check out American Adoptions’ list here.

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