When cameras follow the actress Angelina Jolie, it’s not just down the red carpet. It’s often a very long way from Hollywood.
Two important roles have taken Jolie around the world — her roles as U.N. goodwill ambassador, and as mother of her son, Maddox, and daughter, Zahara.
“They’re the greatest little people I’ve ever met, and they give me so much joy,” Jolie said.
Jolie managed to get Zahara out at 6 months old. She was one of the lucky ones.
When Jolie arrived back in the U.S., she and little Zahara graced the covers of numerous magazines, and the public took note.
“I remember being at the store and seeing Angelina on the cover of, I think it was People magazine,” said Ann-Charles Watt, “and I said, ‘Oh my gosh! We can do this.’ “
Watt and her husband, Jason Hillard, residents of Athens, Ohio, wanted to adopt a child. When they saw Jolie on that magazine cover with her adopted daughter, their decision to raise a child from Ethiopia was clear.
“In the grand scheme of things, she changed our lives,” Watt said. “It’s kind of hilarious to think of, but yeah, Angelina Jolie probably brought us an African child.”
Americans have been adopting from around the globe for many years. The highest adoption numbers in 2004 came from China, Russia, and Guatemala.
Jolie hopes more people follow in her footsteps and discover the rewards of saving a child who might not otherwise live to see a first birthday.
“It makes me very happy,” Jolie said. “And also [it makes me happy] for the parents, ’cause they’re going to be lucky … with those babies ’cause they’re amazing.”