Roseanne got it only half right. Hollywood denizens are not rushing to bring home crack babies, as a much-talked-about skit on her Saturday Night Special alleged. But the growing number of actors, especially older single women, who are adopting infants almost suggests that adoption is becoming as popular in celeb land as investing in Planet Hollywood.
New evidence seems to surface every week. The latest addition to the Yours, Mine and Ours household of Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw (who each have a child from a previous marriage and share a biological son and daughter, Sawyer and Sasha, and one adopted son, Theo, 7) is baby girl Mikaela, born Feb. 28. She first laid eyes on her famous dad when Capshaw held the infant up to the TV screen during the March 25 Academy Awards telecast. Jamie Lee Curtis and husband Christopher Guest, who have an adopted daughter, Annie, 9, recently made their family a foursome with the addition of 6-week-old Tommy.
The community also includes Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who first adopted a daughter, Isabella, 3, then a son, Connor, 1; and Michelle Pfeiffer, who took home Claudia Rose, 3, before she married Picket Fences producer David Kelley and had a biological son, John Henry, in August 1994. Then there’s the coterie of older, mostly unmarried actresses and singers, from Diane Keaton, now humming la-di-da lullabies to baby girl Dexter, to Rosie O’Donnell, Kate Jackson, Dianne Wiest, and Linda Ronstadt, all of whom have become insta-moms in recent years.
Cynics might chalk this up to a publicity stunt a la Joan Crawford, who paraded her adopted kids, Christina and Chris, in front of the press. ”I worry about whether some celebrities who are adopting are a bit naive,” admits L.A. attorney Gloria Allred, who has handled a number of celebrity adoptions. ”Some are thinking that a nanny can help fulfill the role that they need to fulfill.”
So why are so many celebrities adopting kids? Adoption experts say it’s for the same reasons many not-so-famous people do: infertility problems, postponed childbearing, and most notably, changing demographics. The number of adoptions nationwide jumped 8 percent between 1987 and 1992, the last year for which statistics are available, according to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse in Rockville, Md. ”Not only are actresses adopting, but a lot of women in the executive ranks are also becoming single mothers,” notes one Hollywood manager whose clients include at least one adoptive mom. ”Women feel secure enough today to raise a child alone. You don’t need a husband. That’s creating an enormous comfort level.”
That comfort level, however, doesn’t extend to stars talking publicly about their children. Besides security concerns, they want to avoid embarrassing and intrusive stories like a recent tabloid feature on Kate Jackson alleging the unsavory parentage of her newly adopted infant son, Taylor. ”If she’s ready to be photographed or talk about herself, fine,” Nicole Kidman said, according to Redbook, about daughter Isabella. ”But now? I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t want her someday going, ‘So is this why you adopted me?”’