Human Interest

Singer Sarah McLachlan, other celebs explain what it feels like to be adopted

The list of celebrities who have been affected by adoption — either by adopting or by being adopted — is a long one. Some have been more vocal and public about their adoptions, and help others to understand the importance of adoption. Below are five celebrities who were adopted:

Photo by LG전자 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Kristin Chenoweth, actress

Two years ago, Chenoweth spoke about her adoption in honor of National Adoption Day, saying, “I knew that my birth mother loved me so much that she wanted to give me a better life…. Sometimes people can’t take care of that baby just yet…. But what a gift they are giving to both that child and the family who wants to adopt…. We weren’t abandoned; we were chosen. We were given a chance…. If anything, I would thank my birth mother for loving me enough to make such a huge sacrifice. It’s a great gift for me to be able to say: “‘ know that I came from love, and I know that I have love.’”

Scott Hamilton, Olympic figure skater

Hamilton was adopted in 1958 at six weeks of age by Ernest and Dorothy Hamilton. Hamilton has spoken of his mother, who tragically died of breast cancer in 1977, saying, “She was the center of my universe. She sacrificed everything for me.” When Scott became ill in childhood, his parents never stopped searching for good doctors and excellent care for their son. Aside from his victories on the ice, Hamilton grew up, married, and now has four children of his own — two biological and two adopted from Haiti.

Hamilton has fought cancer three times, and is known for his amazing and inspiring positive attitude.

Debbie Harry, singer

The lead singer of Blondie was adopted at three months of age. In a 2014 interview, she said, “In some strange way I think [my adoption has] given me an open door to be the person I wanna be. I think sometimes you feel, ‘Well, I’m just like my mother,’ and you’re sort of stuck. But I knew that there are other things genetically that are completely different.’”

At one point she wanted to find her birth parents, but said she “was limited by the legalities of that kind of search in the US.” When she couldn’t find them, she said she was sad, but realized, “I had a life. You know, a good life. If I was a lost person that would have been different. But I wasn’t that person.”

Sarah McLachlan, singer

In 2003, McLachlan told, “when I think about my mother who raised me, you know, she’s my mother…. I was happy I had the parents I had. I’m not much to dwell on what may have been.”

She says that at nine years old, her parents told her she was adopted. “It was like, ‘Oh, okay, good to know, you’re still my mom and dad.’ Perhaps I was too young to understand it really, but it just never was a big issue to me. I never had this empty place in me thinking that I’ve missed out somewhere, or that I was abandoned. I met my mother several years ago — my birth mother — and I’m thankful that she gave me up. Because she was an artist, she was way too young, she was 19 years old. She would have had to go and live in rural Newfoundland, and she wouldn’t have been able to pursue any of her dreams. And instead I’ve got a great family, who loved me and gave me every opportunity to pursue my dreams. It was a gift. It was probably the hardest thing she ever had to do. I’m glad she did it.”

Darryl McDaniels – rapper

McDaniels (DMC of Run DMC) did not learn of his adoption until age 35, when received quite the shock after asking his mother for some background on their family. His adoption was a closed adoption, so McDaniels could not get access to his original birth certificate. He now fights for laws to change so that adoption records are open, and adoptees can learn about their own histories.

McDaniels has met his birth mother, saying in a 2017 interview that it was a “new beginning” for him. “I have 2 brothers and a sister. My birth mom calls herself ‘the other mother’. She believes that she gave me life, my adoptive mother allowed me to experience it.” He says his adoptive parents are “100%” behind him pursuing information about his past and getting to know his birth family.

Interestingly, it was a Sarah McLachlan song, “Angel,” which McDaniels says kept him alive during a very dark time in his life when he suffered depression following the death of his adoptive father and of a dear friend. “I just thought, ‘God, What are you trying to tell me?’ My story is a story of purpose and destiny. I was questioning my existence. Am I just here to be DMC, to do this rap thing and nothing else? I was suicidal. Angel kept me alive for 3 more years to discover the meaning of the void. Now I know that I am to bring hope, motivation, and inspiration to adopted kids and those in foster care.”

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