Monday, January 11, 2010

Another Celebrity Adoption: Jean Smart

Reported January 8, 2010, Jean Smart adopted a child from China in May:

'Samantha Who' star Jean Smart has a new baby at the age of 58, but it's no medical miracle - the actress and her husband adopted a little girl from China in May, PEOPLE reports. Smart, her husband Richard Gilliland, and their 19-year-old son Connor traveled to China in May - returning with daughter Bonnie, now 18 months old.

Smart revealed the new addition to her family on Wednesday's 'The Bonnie Hunt Show,' saying of her overseas trip, "When I came back, there were four of us!"

Smart claimed that the age difference between her two kids isn't an issue, though she admitted that Connor was initially "more excited about the trip than the baby." After a few days, however, "[Connor said] 'This is incredible....I didn't know I was going to feel this way...She's amazing.'"

The 19-year age gap was unintentional, however - Smart confessed that the adoption process took much longer than she'd planned. "We thought they were going to be closer in age when we first started this!"
One issue with celebrity adoption always seems to be whether they got special treatment. The last quote about the adoption taking longer than planned suggests that the long queues in China adoption applied to her, too. But it looks like an exception might have been made on the age front, since China requires even special-needs adopters to be under 55.

P.S. As several people have noted in the comments, given the wait times for adoption from China, it's likely Jean Smart was under 55 at the time she was logged in, and that satisfies China's rules. Looks like no special treatment here!


Maia said...

But she only had to be 55 at the time she logged in, - which, considering the wait these days, could easily have been three or more years ago.

malinda said...

Problem solved! Thanks, Maia!

Joy said...

I thought the same thing (special treatment) when I saw her age, but then realized she must have been the right age when her dossier was logged in.

Beckett Gray said...

I'm always curious about these celebrity adoptions, too. I imagine that China doesn't know a celebrity from a non-celebrity because they dont care about drawing attention to the practice.

(Organizations working in Africa seem to be different.)

My non-profit recently published a new book on Chinese adoptive parenting.

“The Dragon Sisterhood: A Guide to Chinese Adoptive Parenting” .

It can be found on our blog:

I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing that with your readers.

Thanks!Beckett Gray

redkitchen said...

That's cool. I didn't know Jean Smart had adopted from China. I always loved her character "Charlene" on Designing Women. LOL

Anonymous said...

Is 58 years old parenting an infant in the best interest of the child? (or is the infant just "lucky").

I'm glad China changed their policy about 55 years being max, but with the long, long wait people are only going to get older (and they are probably the ones least likely to drop out since their options are limited.)

It just seems like such a sense of entitlement instead of what is best for the child.

Wendy said...

It should be referred to as grandparenting at that age. I thought there had to be a max of 55 age difference, she should have been referred a three year old (which is still an issue of MUCH older parents). Maybe the cutoff should be that of biology w/o the aid of a doctor's hands.

Wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Just have to say WOW to some of the comments:( WOW!! Thankful, so very thankful, it seems to me, that children are far less judgemental than adults.(I use this word loosely)

Wendy said...

We are talking about the best interest of children; therefore, in some form judgement is necessary. It will only be adoptees and ap's in international adoption (as far as receiving) that will make the call to end practices that are not in the best interest of the child. How old do you really feel these people are going to live to be? I know there are no guarantees with young parents, BUT China has stipulated health issues with PAP's, perhaps age needs to be revisited. Caring for aging parents is hard enough for those with teens or adult children, how about being a child yourself.
anon--btw-you calling judgmental is also judging.

Anonymous said...

Whenever someone dares to post about older age, people start getting defensive. (Just try posting about this on another forum. Oy.) I don't get it. At 58 she should have been considering adopting an older child.

Seriously, anon, you must not be around kids much because trust me, as a teacher, children are judgemental! Although the child might not care when s/he is young, when the parent isn't arouund very long into adulthood, they might have some pretty strong feelings about having elder adoptive parents.

Wendy, you are spot on. We have an ethical responsibility to question how old is too old and other practices as a receiving country. Since most agencies do not do it,($$) it leaves it up to the AP's to ask these difficult questions.