Today is National Adoption Day, a special time to recognize and celebrate the many individuals and families whose lives have been shaped by the sacrificial decision of others. It’s also a day to raise awareness of the many children in foster care waiting for permanent families.
Adoption has positively shaped the world in countless ways. In fact, adoptees accomplishments span the spectrum from science to sports, religion to entertainment and technology to politics.
Given that for context, here are ten quotes from ten famous adoptees that have helped change the world:
1. "They brought me up as if I were their own child. They worried about me, guided me, and punished me, all in the spirit of fairness. I never doubted their love." – The late South African president Nelson Mandela, speaking of his adoptive father, Chief Jongintaba.
2. "I wanted to meet [my birthmom] mostly to see if she was okay and to thank her, because I'm glad I didn't end up as an abortion. My [adoptive] parents made me feel special. They were my parents. 1000%" - The late Apple founder, Steve Jobs, who was adopted at birth by Paul and Clara Jobs.
3. "I sent a wire to Chicago to tell my family that the adoption had gone through. I didn't have much experience with telegrams, but I knew they had to be brief. This one read: HI DAD." – The late former First Lady Nancy Reagan describing her joy of being adopted by her stepfather, Dr. Loyal Davis.
4. "It was at St. Mary's that I met and learned to love the greatest man I've ever known. He was the father I needed. He taught me to read, write and the difference between right and wrong." Baseball legend Babe Ruth on his adoptive father, Brother Mathias.
5. "Dad and I had the closest, most intimate relationship. We acted alike. We had the same interests ... he had so much love for me." – The late president Gerald Ford describing his relationship with his adoptive father.
6. "I'm no expert. I'm just a hamburger cook. But I believe in adoption. I believe it is a positive thing. I think everyone deserves a permanent, loving home." – The late Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s. He was adopted at birth by Rex and Auleva Thomas
7. "There is one woman who gentle face is always before me, whose voice I hear when there is silence in the house and who gnarled hands still seems to be shyly touching my shoulders when my thoughts are blue." - The late Art Linkletter, host of the popular television show, Kids Say the Dardenest Things, describing his adoptive mother, Mary Linkletter.
8. “My [adoptive] mother showed me how to reach for something extra when the logical decision is to give up. She had an unwavering faith in my talent and my ability, more than I did at that time.” – Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton
9. “I have a lot of respect for my birthmother. I know she must have had a lot of love for me to want to give me what she felt was a better chance.” – Country music legend Faith Hill, who was adopted by Ted and Edna Perry, speaking of her biological mother, the late Paula Conway.
10. “I am a living testament you can be adopted and successful.” – Former NFL quarterback Dante Culpepper, who adopted at birth by the late Emma Lewis Culpepper.
To be sure, every adoption puts every child on the verge of everything because, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Every child begins the world again.”