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Katherine Heigl on raising adopted daughters and having conversations about white privilege: 'I had been so naive'

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Katherine Heigl is opening up about parenting during the pandemic and how quarantine helped her to realize three kids is more than enough.

"Before the pandemic, I thought that we needed one more child to complete this home. I wasn't sure if we would go the foster care route or adoption or maybe another pregnancy," the mother of 12-year-old daughter, Naleigh, 8-year-old daughter, Adalaide, 4-year-old son, Joshua with husband Josh Kelley told Parents magazine. "But now I have completely changed my mind. I am very content with my three!"

The 42-year-old Firefly Lane actress's family lives on a ranch in Utah, where she says it's been easier to raise her children more traditionally, despite their two parents being famous.

"The other day, Adalaide came home from school and acted out what she heard from her friends. Like, "Omigosh, your dad's music! Your mom's movies!" She's like, yeah, I know. My parents are famous, I got it. And for Naleigh, I think it's a little bit embarrassing," Heigl explained. "But the nice thing is that we've been a part of this community for 12 years, and our kids get to see us live just like everybody else, away from the hoopla and the paparazzi."

Still, the household made complete with five dogs, three cats and countless other animals sprawled across the ranch have plenty going on at home. Heigl even opened up about having conversations with her two adopted daughters about their birth stories.

"They do have more questions as they get older," Heigl said. "We have said to them, this is your story. We don't have any information about your biological fathers, but we do have a bit about your biological mothers. If you guys want to talk more about them, you can have as much or as little information as you want. Tell us what you're comfortable with knowing."

Although Heigl herself grew up with a sister who was adopted from South Korea, similarly to her daughter Naleigh, she shared that recent conversations about white privilege have opened her eyes up to to things she hadn't realized in the past.

"Because I was raised with adoption, looking beyond skin color was the norm for me, and I just believed that love is love — it doesn't matter what we look like. But then when I asked my sister, Meg, if she had been treated one way when she was out in public with our parents and a different way when she was out by herself without them, she said, "Oh yeah, all the time!'" Heigl said. "That made me realize that I had been so naïve."

She went on to explain that the realization made her "angry" at first. "But I had to calm down and realize, okay, this isn't about how it makes me feel," Heigl continued. "It's about how I need to protect my daughters and prepare them for the world, because I can't change society in one fell swoop."

In the meantime, Heigl has been dually concerned about her eldest daughter's social media consumption, sharing that she'd watched The Social Dilemma, which freaked the mother out. "She's only one of two kids in her grade who doesn't have their own phone. So she's been sneaking my iPad and creating TikTok videos without my permission. I know she thinks I'm being a tyrant," she explained. And while dealing with the trials and tribulations of Naleigh entering her teenage years, Heigl admitted that she was "so relieved" to have had a boy.

"It was actually a big reason why I was vacillating between trying to get pregnant or adopting again, since with adoption you can specify the sex," she said. "I just thought, another girl could mean lifelong therapy for all of us."

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