The end of October is nearly on us and November is National Adoption Awareness month. It started out as an awareness month in 1976. Michael Dukakis and Gerald Ford both supported and encouraged the proclamation. In 1990 it was expanded to the entire month of November because so many states were participating in events.
November 17, 2007 is National Adoption Day. Many adoptions will be finalized on that day.
The purpose of all these events is to bring greater awareness to the kids in foster care who need adoptive parents. I blog about some pretty grim things here, and I’m currently in a bit of a funk because things are getting even worse with Sammy. I want to change that up a bit and highlight some of the “celebrities” who were in foster care during their lives.
Eddie Murphy – If you’re old enough to be reading, and understanding, this blog, you probably know who Eddie Murphy is. He was the star of the Beverly Hills Cop movies, The Nutty Professor movies, and many others. Before getting into movies, and even during and after, he was a stand up comic who toured the country to perform. Kids also know him as the voice of “Donkey” in the Shrek series of movies.
Dave Pelzer – I think most people have heard, seen, or read Dave Pelzer’s story. He is the author of a series of books about the horrendous abuse he suffered at his mother’s hands, as well as motivational books to help others who have been abused as well. He now tours the country doing motivational speaking. I had the opportunity to hear him speak at the 2005 International Foster Care Organization conference in Madison, WI. He is an amazing speaker and is very blunt about not letting your abuse define who you are and who you become.
Marilyn Monroe – Marilyn Monroe spent the first eleven years of her life in foster care, with her birth mother, with family members, in an orphanage and at the age of eleven, she moved in with her Aunt Grace. Both her grandmother and her mother had difficulties with mental illness and were unable to care for her. Her mother did try and even saved enough money to buy a house for them, but the mental illness prevented her from being able to consistently care for her daughter. At the age of fifteen, Marilyn faced the choice of getting married or returning to the orphanage. She chose to get married. The marriage didn’t last long but it got her out of foster care, orphanages and bouncing around family members.
Ice-T – Currently you can watch Ice-T (born Tracey Morrow) as Detective Odafin Tutuola on Law & Order Special Victims Unit. His personal life is quite different than that of his TV character. His parents were killed in a car accident while he was still quite young. He was sent to live with relatives in Los Angeles, but they were unable to care for him and he went to foster care. He became involved in gang life and said that is where he first heard about “love.” His music career has been very controversial, and some credit him with being the founder of “gansta rap.”
It’s great to see that amazing people can overcome their time in foster care and go on to achieve great things.