' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Jennifer Aniston to adopt! At last! It's a Girl!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jennifer Aniston to adopt! At last! It's a Girl!

Jennifer Aniston--Adoptive Mom to Be? 
Update on 10/9:  Jennifer Aniston is not pregnant and she is not considering adoption, at least not right now. That is the message that was delivered this week by her publicist Stephen Huvane. Recent rumored started by Life & Style have suggested that Aniston and fiancé Justin Theroux are thinking about adopting. In a statement to Page Six, Huvane said in no uncertain terms that Aniston is not planning to adopt or have a child in the near future.
                                      * * * 

"Jen's Adoption Surpise" and "A BABY AT LAST" read the headlines at the supermarket checkout, and I thought, Who is surprised? Not I. Ever since Jen did not get hitched and/or get pregnant during her fecund years, I have been waiting for this piece of news--that she is going to adopt! Well, folks it apparently has happened, if Life & Style magazine is to be believed. "Jen & Justin's Baby Secret: They're Adopting" read the headline inside.

Oh! $@#!

Now we will have a ton of breathless stories about how Jennifer Aniston, 45, and Justin Theroux are going to "solve" their infertility crisis with adopting! The tabloids have followed Aniston's romantic adventures all through her fertile years, beginning with the rumor that one of the reasons she and Brad Pitt divorced was due to her refusal to have children. True or not, we don't know, but we do point out...the five years of her marriage to him from 2000 to 2005 were when Aniston was 31 to 36, already approaching the years when fertility drops off, sometimes precipitously. Life & Style reports that after "finding true love with Justin in 2011," they tried prenatal vitamins and a "fertility calendar" but nothing's worked. So. Now. Adoption.

Whether or not Aniston becomes another in the endless list of movie star women who adopt is a moot point. What was pathetic about the story was the glowing way that adoption was portrayed--all good, all the time--why any kid would rather be raised by Aniston (think of the advantages!) than be raised by one's ordinary, struggling, less wealthy, maybe even disadvantaged financially, natural, real parents. That's what was so objectionable. Yes, I know Life & Style is a trashy celeb magazine, yes, I am aware of the breathless headlines about Aniston's romances and baby desires (who knows if they are even true), but this one had such certainty about it that I plunked down the $3 and decided to write about it.

The awful truth is that stories like this feed the public's perception of adoption--of course, there are babies waiting everywhere! there must be, right? Stories like this induce ordinary people to turn to adoption as the immediate Plan B or sometimes, Plan A (see below) as they contemplate life. Stories like this make vulnerable young women and teens feel that giving up their babies is a good thing: They (who adopt my baby) might be movie stars! They might be rich! They are better than poor pathetic me! Stories like this feed the zeitgeist that adoption is a simple good, not complicated, everyone wins! Nothing is ever said about the downside of being adopted to both mother and child. We know the truth, but few want to hear.

Not wanting to be compared with Angelina Jolie--who incidentally stole Pitt away from her--and who has adopted three kids internationally, Aniston is looking to adopt domestically, and is working with a "very well-respected LA-based adoption counselor" to navigate the process and will have the paperwork completely by Thanksgiving. Since the couple is not married, Jen may have to adopt as a single parent, though the story says that she would love to have a new baby "girl" as part of the ceremony, possibly in August of 2015. Yes, she wants a girl--the cover of the magazine even proclaims: "IT'S A GIRL." Like, no boys need apply. Ladies, start your eggs! Really, who writes this stuff based on so little confirmed information--unless Aniston's publicist is quietly feeding the media?

The story is written is gooey prose, conveying the information that adoption! is such a happy solution for this couple and for Jen! how can the world be anything but thrilled. But wait! A reproductive endocrinologist and founding partner of Southern California Reproductive Center (a free plug for them, in return for a quote) points out that many of their patients' infertility issues are solved naturally when they give up fertility treatments and decide to adopt. Since the stress is off, their bodies relax and conception occurs. Adoption thoughts are the new infertility cure? It's worked for some.

What is wrong with this story, Dear Reader? While it spreads the message of how-wonderful-to-solve infertility-with-adoption, in reality there are not enough babies to go around. Period. There are no nurseries lined with waiting little girls in fuzzy pink blankets to be adopted.

Stories like this only make adopting seem so glamorous, why not do it? Why not be like Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, Mariska Hagitay, Charlize Theron, Susan Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Sharon Stone, JoBeth Williams, Diane Keaton, Diane Weist, Calista Flockhart, Kate Jackson, Connie Chung and Maury Povich, Mia Farrow, Edie Falco, Sheryl Crow, Rosie O'Donnell--the list goes on. And on. 

This is what bothers us about adoption: That it is seen as a universal good, a legitimate way to "build a family," a phrase some people (prospecive adopters)like to use now. People don't have kids; they build a family, as if with Legos. For stars like Aniston, kids (natural or adopted) is a way to soften your image. Fan mags eat up the copy, photograph the kids.

Will celebrities such as Aniston have trouble finding a willing breeder for them? Not likely. Agencies, no matter how they demur and deny, give stars with the big bucks four-star treatment. We've heard from birth mothers who were coddled and cooed over and told that the adopting parents were celebrities--and won't your baby be a lucky little so-and-so?

In fact, the Aniston story has a sidebar with photographs with this headline: "This Little Girl Will Be the Luckiest Kid in Hollywood." (Shades of the publicity that surrounded that Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford, who turned out to be uber bitch of a mama.) We see the house, "A Palace Fit for a Princess;" learn that the little goddess will almost certainly not have to fly commercial since "Private Jets Are the Norm;" and "Every Day Will Be a Good Hair Day," since Aniston has a personal stylist; and don't forget those "Lavish Getaways." You don't think an adoption agency is going to be salivating over a client like Ms. Aniston? Think again.

Elsewhere in the same issue of Life & Style, I learn that Desiree and Chris, a couple who met on The Bachelorette, are planning to marry in January and already "have plans to adopt." Desiree adds: "There are so many kids that need a home." We fervently hope that she is thinking about adopting from foster care. Then they might actually find children to need a home. We keep trying to spread the word that keeping babies with their natural mothers is a good thing, that all the riches of stardom cannot make up for being raised in one's family of origin, but stories like this tell us our voices are lost in the wind.--lorraine
More on adoption today:
Is Adoption Good? Rick Warren Meets Kim Kardashian (by adoptive father Frank Ligtvoet)
Why I'm not bullish on celebrity adoptions
Abuses in International Adoption: The Lie We Love
They Steal Babies, Don't They? for the Bull Market in Babies

Second Choice: Growing Up Adopted
by Robert Andersen
"...so much better than most of the adoptee and birthmother books that it is really in a different league." -- Annette Baran, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., author, The Adoption Triangle

"A sensitive, moving, intelligent, and much needed contribution to adoption literature." -- Betty Jean Lifton, author of Lost and Found, the Adoption Experience

"Dr.Andersen guides us on an incredible trail that will help everyone better understand the complicated realitites of the adoption experience." -- Joyce Maguire Pavao, Ed.D., L.C.S.W., Founder and Director of the Adoption Resource Center

The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry
by Mirah Riben
"The title just seemed so perfect....Laurel Jenkins Crowe on Amazon: 
Adoption was never intended to be a solution for the 'problem of infertility;' it was intended to be a solution for the problem of children who, for whatever reason, need families.

The "adoption solves infertility" mindset has led us where we are today. Where we are today is a world wherein, when a country's adoption processes become so corrupt as to reward mass kidnapping and/or mass child abandonment, and that country decides to stop international adoption as a result, the "adoption community" responds not with support but with horror at the thought that one well-off Western couple somewhere might not get what they want."



  1. God forbid that Aniston's "adoption counselor" should be the infamous Jennalee Ryan aka Jennifer Potter aka Aaaaabagail's Silver Spoon Adoptions, who is anything BUT well-respected and who has been seeking a willing donor for a "Hollywood celebrity adoption" on her website for months!?!

    Of course attorneys and adoption facilitators and unethical agencies and other brokers go the extra mile to make their celebrity placements happen quickly, quietly and as smoothly as possible, to win the celebrity's gratitude and to gain the potential benefits that come with it: other celebrity referrals, charitable contributions, public endorsements, etc. Some of the nation's most notorious agencies have handled some of America's most well-known adoptions.

    To claim that celebrity adoptions are done "just like every other placement" is downright disingenuous...

    1. Amen. The notorious ASA in San Antonio handled a great many celebrity adoptions, some of them the ones named in the piece.


    2. wait, the woman has been trying to lure a celebrity on her site?
      A Aabagail's Silver Spoon Adoptions (3 As so it comes up first in adoption via alphabet) also offers: Free legal services to birth mothers

      Yeah, right. We pay the bill and give you a pro forma attorney who makes sure the contract is ironclad.

  2. Ringing Up Baby (from the Dallas Observer)
    Cashing in on the adoption biz is easy in Texas, where lax rules let almost anyone play. Take Jennalee Ryan, for instance...
    A A AComments (0) By Craig Malisow Thursday, Jun 7 2007

    Once upon a time, there was a girl named Jennifer Potter. While she resided with her outwardly happy blond family in Los Angeles County, she lived mostly in her mind. When she grew up, she would remember things that other people said never happened.

    She would use different names, depending on who she was talking to. She would give birth to many children from many fathers, and she would adopt other children. And even though she would later give some of those adopted children away, she believed kids were her reason for living. She wanted to create happy families, as she believed hers should have been. She worked hard, built a successful adoption referral business in California in the late '90s and later lost it in bankruptcy in 2000.

    So Jennifer Potter went to court and changed her name to Jennalee Ryan (sometimes just "Jenna") in 2000. She moved to San Antonio in 2005 and built what she called the "world's first human embryo bank," which she advertised on a Web site for a company she called The Abraham Center of Life (www.theabrahamcenteroflife.com). She wanted to facilitate the creation and sale of frozen embryos. The story went worldwide. She didn't expect the media backlash. Designer babies, critics railed. Aryan embryos.

    In some states, adoption advertisers and facilitators can make lots of money off birth moms and adoptive parents.

    In some states, adoption advertisers and facilitators can make lots of money off birth moms and adoptive parents.
    Jennifer Potter or Jennalee Ryan—figuring out her adoption business is as hard as pinning down her name.
    Jennifer Potter or Jennalee Ryan—figuring out her adoption business is as hard as pinning down her name.

    The media wanted to know the ethical implications. Reporters corralled professors of bioethics who raised the specters of eugenics and Brave New World. They talked about an explosion of blond-haired, blue-eyed über-infants.

    The freak-show aspect was juicy enough that no one bothered to check out who Jennalee Ryan really was; the allegations of violence and financial fraud that followed her from California to Texas; her ties to an adoption agency in Utah, a state whose adoption laws allow out-of-state birth mothers to give up their kids without notifying the father or state adoption authorities.

    In the world of adoption "advertising" and facilitation, there are thousands of dollars to be had with each expectant mother. The definitions of adoption advertising and facilitation are vague and confusing enough to allow a smart person to set up shop in the right state and make money off birth moms and adoptive parents throughout Texas and the country, without any license or regulations. Jennifer Potter, aka Jennalee Ryan, is a smart person.

    And, for her baby business, Texas is the right state.


    1. Let's not forget the grandmother of corrupt celebrity adoption, Georgia Tann.

  3. Many women can have babies after 45. There are doctors and acupuncturists in L.A. that can help her to have her own child. It's tragic that she is thinking about taking someone else's baby just because she isn't getting pregnant and failed to think about and plan for this kind of thing a few years ago. Adoption has been so heavily marketed, as Aniston has also been, that it is, unfortunately, no surprise that celebrities who don't get pregnant by the timetable that fits their career run to adoption to solve any fertility issues they may have. It also wouldn't surprise me if young pregnant moms-to-be can more easily be talked into giving up their baby if they know it will go to a wealthy celebrity.

    This attitude, from both the suppliers and demanders of adoption, reflects a terrible truth about our society. When babies are bought and sold, as they are via adoption, family becomes insignificant. Our society suffers because of this loss of family. But hey, Aniston will pretend to be a mom. And those who surround her will continue the charade.

  4. Not again! Another celebrity who is going to adopt and proclaim to the world how wonderful adoption is. A-mom is going to be all over this. What could be better than a beautiful celeb adopting a picture perfect (I am sure) little baby girl. She can dress her up and give her things. As long as the outward picture is perfect, A-mom believes all is well. She is never going to change her thinking now. Believe me, if a person is born round, they are not going to die square!

    I think A-mom has to be the only person on the planet that did not believe Christina Crawford's story when "Mommie Dearest" first exploded on to the scene. She said it simply "couldn't be." Why would a movie star go through so much to adopt a baby and mistreat her? It didn't fit the picture. Adoption is wonderful no matter what Christina Crawford said.

    The fact that so many people love stories like Anniston's is not doing anything for adoptee rights. People do not want to hear that adoption is not the happy win-win they want it to be. No one is listening to first mothers or adoptees. It's all about the adoptive parents and the happy little baby, building a family and the pretty picture. Very frustrating!
    Many of these celebrities are in for a rude awakening when all these pretty little babies grow up.

  5. by Connie Matthiessen
    Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board
    Last updated: September 2014

    The biggest downside to putting off pregnancy until your 40s is significant: It's harder to get pregnant the longer you wait. That's because your egg supply decreases significantly as you age, and older eggs are more likely to have chromosomal problems, raising the risk of miscarriage and birth defects.
    "There's a steep drop in fertility in the 40s," says Julia Johnson, an infertility specialist and chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at UMass Memorial Medical Center. "Your odds of getting pregnant at 41 are much better than they are at 43."
    A study in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility confirms Johnson's point. Researchers found that 40-year-old women treated for infertility had a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant using their own eggs. But by age 43 that number dropped to 10 percent, and by 44 it had plummeted to 1.6 percent. Among women who did get pregnant, the miscarriage rate was 24 percent for 40-year-olds, 38 percent for 43-year-olds, and 54 percent for 44-year-olds.

  6. I would take this story with a grain of salt. I have seen screaming headlines in the supermarket checkout line for years that Aniston is about to adopt a baby. The tragic thing is this kind of headline sells magazine while it reinforces the mindset that adoption is always beautiful and wunnerful.

    Yes, I have known women who had a second or third child at 45 or 46 but only one who had a first child at that age.

  7. It's like Life and Style is well known for reporting the gospel truth. According to the rumor mills Jennifer Aniston has been ether pregnant or about to adopt so many times over the last few years that it beggars belief.

  8. Whether or not she adopts (finally) is beside the point. It was the way the story was portrayed --that is, Adoption IS. SUCH. A GOOD THING. period.

    I'm going to edit the post.

  9. Off Topic

    Can anyone give me any information on Margaret McDonald Lawrence? She gave a speech at the First National American Adoption Congress in Washington, D.C. on May 4, 1979. Is she a first mother? Does anyone know her profession? I appreciate any information anyone can give me. Thanks.

  10. To Kendra Cyrus who posted Best Wishes to Aniston (a worthy comment), we are not posting your comment because it simply leads to an adoption agency page. We are not in the business of supplying free links to adoption agencies trolling for babies and parents.

  11. running out of the house--but she's very googleable..

    1. I cannot find any information other than the speech she delivered in 1979. I assume she is a first mother but there I can't find anything definitive on Margaret McDonald Lawrence.

  12. Margaret McDonald Lawrence was a social worker. I do not think she was a member of the triad.She was an associate of Jean Paton who was an adoptee and social worker and the first to speak out about adoption reform in the late 1940s.

  13. So, according to the update, Aniston is not considering adoption, at least not at the moment. OK. So, why do these miserable magazines print stories like this?

    I am convinced it is because the public LOVES adoption. The more I see, especially on Facebook, the more discouraged I become. There are adoption agencies advertising adoption as a way to fulfill dreams of parenthood, and all the comments that follow are sugary "I love adoption" sentiments. Hundreds of people who can't wait to adopt because adoption is so wonderful. And, if anyone posts a comment to the contrary, an unholy war erupts. The media has adoption painted as such a rosy picture, I'm afraid adoption reform and opening adoptee records will never happen.

  14. You are right, as always, Julia Emily. Ever since Jennifer Aniston became so famous, the tabloids have speculated time and again about what that rich 'n famous 'n beautiful young woman--and now not quite so young--would do... Would she find Mr. Right? Once she married Brad Pitt, when would they have a baby? And if not, why not? After they split up, any slow news week would do for a spot of speculation on whom she was (or might be) dating, whether she'd remarry, whether she'd try single motherhood (and if so, how). I can't think of anyone--with the possible exception of Nicole Kidman--who's been on so many tabloid covers for similar reasons.

    Because adoption has become such a big-ticket industry, with the demand and cost of infants so high, the baby brokers naturally have a vested interest in making it look good. Fluffy pink clouds, indeed! Sickening, say I.

  15. Not even a surprise, just a sickening reminder of the ignorance of the world.

  16. I am so sick of Hollywood glorifying adoption....especially on television shows.

    CBS had new show last year called "Mom." It seemed to be about a family of women, where they kept getting pregnant at 16-17, but with each generation they were getting better at being moms. Then they decided to show the improvement by having the 16 year old give her baby up for adoption because she wanted a better life for her daughter. After the PAPs were selected they talked about the possibility of a future job they could give the father--without any suggesting that this might be inappropriate and coercive. When the mom was giving birth she was shown as having second thoughts....but only because of how difficult and painful childbirth was.

    I recently saw a repeat of How I Met Your Mother where Barney and Ted (two straight men) talk about adopting a child together, rather than wait to have biological children with a future wife. Ted is talked out of it by Barney's brother, himself a gay man who adopted children with his husband. At no point was adoption discussed as anything other than a great thing. The only issue was whether to deliberately have a child with someone other than your intended life partner.

    Tonight I saw the series premiere of Jane the Virgin, a show about a virgin who has somehow accidentally been artificially inseminated. In the first episode she agrees to carry the baby to term and give it up for adoption to the bio-father and his wife. Apparently he had cancer and can't have kids anymore. After agreeing to give her baby away, Jane proposes to her boyfriend and proclaims her love for him--the same boyfriend who had pressured her not to keep the baby because he didn't want her to have a child from someone else. Jane herself is the child of a single mother.

    I wonder if we will ever see the pain and regret of a first mother on one of these shows. Something tells me we won't. Our society just won't allow it....our society just doesn't want to hear it.



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