1. Nelson Mandela

Former South African president and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela grew up in a small village in SouthAfrica in 1918. When Mandela was 9 years old, his father died and Mandela was adopted by his village’s chief, who treated him as his own son.

2. Faith Hill

Country music artist Faith Hill was born in Mississippi and placed with her adoptive family as an infant. Here’s what she said about her adoption in an article in the magazine “Good Housekeeping”: “I have a lot of respect for my birth mother and no feelings of anger or any of that. I know she must have had a lot of love for me to want to give what she felt was a better chance.”

3. Dave Thomas

Who is Dave Thomas, you may ask? He might be better known by the restaurant chain he named after his daughter, Wendy. Born in New Jersey, Thomas was adopted by his family in Michigan at 6 months old. After his adoptive mother’s death, Thomas was raised primarily by his adoptive grandmother. In 1992, he founded the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption that helps find adoptive families for children in foster care.

4. Jamie Foxx

Actor Jamie Foxx was born in Texas and was adopted by his grandparents (his mother’s adoptive parents) after his birth parents’ divorce when he was less than 1 year old.

5. Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan’s adoptive parents had already adopted two other children when they welcomed Sarah into their home. Sarah’s mother was just 19 when she gave birth to the now well-known musician. The two have since reconnected and Sarah continues to have a good relationship with her birth mother to this day.

6. Steve Jobs

Apple Computers co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs was born to a couple that couldn’t get married because their parents objected to the couple’s cultural and religious differences. Because of this, Jobs was placed with his adoptive parents as an infant.

7. Rodney Atkins

Country musician Rodney Atkins’ birth mother became pregnant after what was described as a “traumatic first date.” She hid her pregnancy from her family, then placed Rodney with adoptive parents after his birth. After becoming a spokesperson for the National Council for Adoption, Atkins met his birth mother for the first time in 2008.

In an article in “USA Today,” Atkins said this about his meeting his birth mother: “I just wanted to tell her thank you, because she had some other alternatives to end that situation…I might not be here. So you don’t want to take it for granted…She kept saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ I kept saying, ‘Thank you.’”

8. Nicole Richie

Because her birth parents could not financially support a child, actress Nicole Richie began living with Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey when she was 3 years old. At the age of 9, Nicole was legally adopted by the famous couple.

9. JC Chasez

JC Chasez, a member of the well-known boy band NSYNC, was raised from birth by his birth mother’s former foster parents. They officially adopted Chasez when he was 5 years old.

10. Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert may be best recognized as the little girl with freckles and a bonnet who starred
in the NBC television series “Little House on the Prairie.” She was born to a couple who already had six
other children and feared they were unable to support another. So
Melissa Gilbert was placed with her adoptive family shortly after her
birth.