Brad Pitt has revealed that adoption saved his eldest daughter Zahara. In an interview with Parade magazine, the actor explains that if he and Angelina Jolie hadn’t adopted their eldest daughter, she would have died. Click below for highlights from the interview:
On adopting daughter Zahara [Brad and Angelina have three foreign-born adopted children: Maddox, 10, from Cambodia; Zahara, 6, from Ethiopia; and Pax, 7, from Vietnam]:
When Angie and I first met, we came together quite quickly and we decided we were adopting. Now the rules are that because we are not married, I can’t adopt. Angie adopts. We decided we were adopting a daughter. We were going to do it right out of the gate. We were not going to mess around. Angie said, ‘No shopping [for kids].’ I thought that was astute and beautifully put. It took the pressure off of adoption and brought a magic to it. We had set our parameters—we had room in our family if anyone needed a home. We got the call, and that’s our eldest daughter, Zahara.
On why he and Angelina did not adopt from America:
I can’t place the importance of one child over that of any other. I have seen children suffer far beyond what we experience in America—like our oldest daughter [Zahara]. I know she would not be alive [if she hadn’t been adopted]. I know what care was available to her, and it was nil. I cannot imagine life without her.
I guess I just don’t see America as separate from Vietnam or Ethiopia. We’ve got to start looking at things differently. This mentality of “Our team’s better than yours”—it’s a high school idea. Why do we need that in order to feel better? My kids don’t see those dividing lines, and I don’t want to either.
I believe in the kismet of the run-in. You run into something, you make a connection, and you have to answer it. You can’t help everyone, but I can help these people. Angie taught me that.
On becoming a parent:
I was surprised at how automatic it is, how much of it is instinctual. And now I have a great confidence and trust in those instincts. I mean, one sound at night and you’re awake and up because they may need you. Or when they start to have a tantrum, you know to divert them from spinning out by helping them focus on something. It just goes on and on. I tell them, “You can make a mess, but you’ve got to clean it up.”
On home-schooling the kids:
We’re moving more into our own home schooling. We have social things for them during the week with other kids, and they have their friends. If we’re gone for a long time, we’ll fly their friends out so they can be together. [The family’s principal home is in L.A., but Pitt says they would like to spend more time in Europe.]
Our kids can get through the normal school day—what took me eight hours in a public school—as well as homework in four hours or so in home school. It allows extra time to develop their other interests—music, sports.
On teaching the kids a second language:
“All our kids are speaking French, so now we have that second language infused into our home. Everyone is learning another language. I’ve got the Rosetta Stone for French sitting right on the table in the bedroom, and it’s going to be loaded into my brain. I know there are certain synapses in my brain that just freeze dead at French, but I have to learn it because our kids are speaking it. [Laughs] Even the twins as babies were saying certain things in French.”
Be sure to check out this weekend’s issue of PARADE magazine in your local newspaper for the full interview with Brad Pitt