Why did Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt adopt? How actress had strange feeling about motherhood in Cambodia
Angelina Jolie had never thought of herself as a mother and never wanted to have a baby but something changed
While Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are only a shell of the power couple they once were, millions of people across the world still miss them together. Yesteryear's 'Brangelina' is a portmanteau that has lost most of the charm that it initially held. Today, the couple is embroiled in a long-drawn custody battle of 5 of their kids that has kept their fans hooked.
There was, however, a time when Jolie could not even imagine being a mother. "It’s strange, I never wanted to have a baby," she had said. "I never wanted to be pregnant. I never babysat. I never thought of myself as a mother," Angelina Jolie had said in an interview in 2016.
But that changed during the shooting for the 2001 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' in Cambodia, which is where she felt "a real emptiness" growing up. During a 2016 interview with AP, the then 40-year-old actress was discussing wanting to be a mother. "That trip triggered my realization of how little I knew and the beginning of my search for that knowledge," Jolie had told the publication at the time.
There was a desire to be a mother. When playing with kids at a local school in Cambodia, her perspective changed. "It’s strange," she said. "It was suddenly very clear to me that my son was in the country, somewhere,” Jolie recalled.
In a separate interview with Vogue India, she spoke about the day that it all happened. "In 2001, I was in a school programme in Samlout playing blocks on the floor with a little kid and as clear as day I thought: 'My son is here,'" she revealed. "A few months later I met baby Mad at an orphanage. I can’t explain it and am not one to believe in messages or superstition. But it was just real and clear."
So, on March 10, 2002, Jolie adopted her eldest, Maddox, who was then seven-month-old, from an orphanage in Battambang, Cambodia. At the time, Jolie was still married to her then-husband 'Fargo' star Billy Bob Thornton. While the couple applied for the adoption together, Jolie raised Maddox alone, as a single mother. Pitt would go on to officially adopt him in early 2006.
Three years later on July 6, 2005, Jolie adopted the then-six-month-old Zahara from an orphanage in Addis Abada in Ethiopia. Jolie was accompanied by her then-partner Pitt when she travelled to Ethiopia to take custody of Zahara, after giving birth to their first biological daughter Shiloh Nouvel on May 27, 2006, in Swakopmund in Namibia.
On March 15, 2007, Jolie adopted a son, three-year-old Pax Thien, from an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Jolie had applied for adoption single-handedly as Vietnam's adoption regulations do not allow unmarried couples to co-adopt. Pitt would go on to officially adopt Pax on February 21, 2008.
On July 12, 2008, Jolie gave birth to a son, Knox Léon, and a daughter, Vivienne Marcheline, twins with Brad Pitt. The first pictures of the couple were reportedly sold to publications People and Hello! for $14 million, which is actually the most expensive celebrity photographs ever taken. The proceeds were donated to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
'Adoption' and 'orphanage' are positive words
Jolie is famous for saying that "‘Adoption’ and ‘orphanage’ are positive words in our home".
In the Vogue India interview, she said, "Each is a beautiful way of becoming family. What is important is to speak with openness about all of it and to share. ‘Adoption’ and ‘orphanage’ are positive words in our home. With my adopted children, I can’t speak of pregnancy, but I speak with much detail and love about the journey to find them and what it was like to look in their eyes for the first time."
"All adopted children come with a beautiful mystery of a world that is meeting yours," Jolie said. "When they are from another race and foreign land, that mystery, that gift, is so full. For them, they must never lose touch with where they came from. They have roots that you do not. Honor them. Learn from them. It’s the most amazing journey to share. They are not entering your world, you are entering each other’s worlds."
"I am very blessed to have been allowed to be their mom. I am grateful every day."