What do Sushmita Sen, Sunny Leone and Sandra Bullock Have in Common?

Grab some tissues, their adoption stories will leave you teary

Annabelle D’Costa

“When you adopt, you get to give life to someone.” This is what 10-year-old Alisah, Sushmita Sen’s youngest, much recently wrote in her essay.

Adoption may be a sensitive topic for children and adults. But Bollywood has celebrated it, especially the ladies—from the unstoppable Sen to Sakshi Tanwar—tinsel town’s women have led the way in embracing a child and loving her/him as their own.

As adoption gains wider acceptance from people—it continues to be an anxious topic for many. For some parents, revealing the child’s parentage could be an anxiety-provoking exercise. Sen has been outspoken and handled the situation well, telling her babies that they’re “born from the heart.”

Alisah’s heartfelt take on the issue is an affirmation that children thrive in an environment which is open and supportive of their needs. A video shared by the former Miss Universe sees the 10-year-old read out an essay on the topic ‘Adopting a child from the orphanage’, penned perhaps as part of a school assignment. Her words are proof that all children deserve a good home.

At the age of 18, Sen made history when she became the first Indian to win the Miss Universe pageant in 1994— but it was her decision to adopt two girls at age 24 that earned her admiration. Her older daughter Renee is now 20. The actor-turned-entrepreneur has always believed in marching to her drumbeats. Speaking to a news website about her experience, she said, “Being a single mother is not easy. I was 24 years old and I had been trying since I was 22 to become a mom by the process of adoption. And they didn’t allow it. It took us a while. But the second child (Alisah) was actually a bigger court fight than the first one. Because in India, the rules say that you can’t adopt a daughter after a daughter,” says Sen. She fought for 10 years and that’s when her Alisah came home. 

Also read: Celebrities Contending for Father of the Year title

Adoption has become less alien in our society, as a slew of celebrities, both from Bollywood and Hollywood, have chosen this unconventional path to parenthood. Meet some more of our other fabulous adoptive moms, dads and their kids.

2. Sunny Leone and husband Daniel Weber

In 2017, the Laila actor, Sunny Leone, with husband Daniel Weber welcomed home a 21-month-old adorable baby girl, from Latur, Maharashtra. It was love at first sight for them, and you can barely blame them! The couple knew they just had to bring their ‘Nisha’ home. In an interview with a national daily, Leone said, “I don’t know about everybody else, but for us, it didn’t matter even for a second whether it was our child or our biological child. For us, it was about starting a family and I might not [have a biological child] because of our schedules and so many other things but we both thought, ‘why don’t we just adopt?”

3. Raveena Tandon

Back in 1995, a young Raveena Tandon had decided to adopt two girls, Chhaya, 8, and Pooja, 10—both children of a relative who was facing financial problems. She was only 21 and single when she took upon herself the responsibility of raising her two girls. “I knew that I could afford to bring up and give a great life to the two children and went ahead with it. I am so proud of them today,” she told a national daily. And since then there was no turning back for the actor. “My daughters are my best friends. I remember, when I got married, they were the ones who sat in the car and led me to the mandap. It is such a special feeling,” she said. She also has a biological daughter, Rasha, and son, Ranbirvardhan, with husband Anil Thadani.

Also read: 12 things they told you about motherhood that are not true 

4. The Khan Family

While many know of Arpita as the most-loved sister of the Khaan-dan, few know that she was adopted. Some reports claim that it was Salim Khan’s first wife, Salma, who adopted her, while others claim that it was Helen who picked up crying Arpita from the streets and later adopted her. Some reports also suggest that Arpita's biological mother had died on a footpath leaving the child alone. Whatever the backstory may be, Arpita continues to be the most pampered sibling of the lot. Her fairy-tale wedding where the family left no stone unturned to make it one of Bollywood’s most lavish affair was testimony to this. It’s also reported that Arpita has a tattoo of a star containing the names of all her family members — Salim Khan, mothers Salma and Helen, brothers Salman, Arbaaz, Sohail, and friend Deeksha.

5. Mithun Chakraborty

First, Mithun Da danced his way into our hearts and then the “Disco Dancer”, went on to permanently make room for himself there with his adoption story. Moved by the news of an abandoned baby girl near a garbage bin who was reported to be in an “extremely weak condition and crying incessantly,” he decided to welcome a new member into his family. Supported in this decision by wife Yogita Bali, the couple brought home the little baby girl and named her Dishani. It was reported that Yogita was so excited to hold the baby girl in her arms that she stayed up the entire night to complete and submit all the paperwork. Mithun and Yogita together have three other biological children Mimoh, Ushmey, and Namashi.

6. Sakshi Tanwar

It was last year in October that the Dangal and Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii actor, Sakshi Tanwar, brought home her little munchkin and named her Dityaa, another name for Goddess Lakshmi. Smashing stereotypes, Tanwar, embraced motherhood without worrying about “log kya kahenge?” In an interview with an online portal she shared, “With the blessings of my parents and the support of my family and friends, I have adopted a baby girl who would soon turn 9 months old. I am extremely delighted to share my happiness with you as I welcome the bundle of joy in my life. This is undoubtedly the greatest moment of my life and I and my entire family are elated to embrace Dityaa. She is the answer to all my prayers and I feel blessed to have her in my life.”

7. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Brangelina might’ve ended, but that doesn’t get us to stop talking about their large brood. Even before becoming the ‘it’ couple, Angelina Jolie, the stunning Hollywood actor and philanthropist had one adopted child Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt. Together, the ex-couple went on to adopt Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt (from Vietnam) and Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (from Ethiopia). In doing so, they opened the floodgates to several celebrity baby adoptions. For Jolie, it was motherhood that taught her how 'nurture' is as powerful a force as nature, and that genetics don’t determine a human connection. “You’d think you’d be more similar to the children you have a genetic link with, but I’m not. I’m very similar to Maddox (her first child, adopted from Cambodia). So, it doesn’t have an impact that some are genetically connected,” she had told a news portal.

8. Sandra Bullock 

Bullock has been a longtime reigning queen of the box office, starring in some of our fave movies, Ocean’s 8, The Blind Side, Miss Congeniality 2 and Gravity. But today we rarely see or hear from her, and she’s smartly opted out of social media. Instead, her life’s purpose is singular, “my kids, my kids, my kids,” as she confessed in one of her interviews with a leading online portal. In the same interview, she admitted that even though her journey to motherhood 'doesn't fit neatly in a box,' it was her “purpose”. She got her first calling to motherhood during Hurricane Katrina. “Something in me told me my child was there.” However, it was only after a long four-year wait that Louis became her son. A few years later, when Louis was ready for a sibling, Sandra pursued adopting again. Laila was then adopted from foster care as a toddler. 

Images: Instagram


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