Did Rosario Dawson Adopt a 12-Year-Old Girl?


Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

Ever since she was a little girl, actress Rosario Dawson knew she would one day adopt a child. And in October, the 35-year-old reportedly made her dream a reality — according to stories published this week by the New York Post and US magazine, Dawson adopted a 12-year-old girl.

“I always wanted to adopt kids ‘cause my dad adopted me,” Dawson shared with Latina magazine back in 2008. “That idea has stayed in the back of my head, but lately, I’ve been thinking about it more.”

Related: Couple Adopts 8 Siblings All From the Same Family 

Yet, neither Dawson or her rep have confirmed the star’s family addition. In fact, on Wednesday, during an appearance on Today, when asked whether the rumors were true, Dawson replied, “My family is incredibly private…We’re going to keep…mum’s the word.” 

The star, currently single, has always made family her focus. “My mother and grandmother are extraordinary women, and they’re getting older,” she told Latina. “It struck me recently that one day I might be sitting around with my children, going ‘Your grandma was an amazing woman; I really wish you could’ve known her.’ That makes me sad ‘cause it would be a waste to not have these people know each other. Whatever time I have, I want it.”

Related: Four Siblings Make Heartbreaking Plea

The desire for her children to know their grandparents could be one reason Dawson allegedly adopted a pre-teen instead of a baby. The average age of the 102,000 children currently in foster care is eight, according to the photo listing service Adopt US Kids. And five is the median age at which kids get adopted with public agency involvement, reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.

However, just three percent of children adopted with public agency involvement in 2012 were 12-years-old. Equally less common: The fact that Dawson is a single woman. Just 27 percent of adoptions are by single females, versus 68 percent to married couples.  

“It is so important to adopt children over the age of 10,” Kathy Ledesma, National Project Director for Adopt US Kids, tells Yahoo Parenting. “More than 30 percent of all children waiting in U.S. foster care are age 12 or over. Children who move into adulthood without a strong attachment and a legal attachment to a family have poorer social outcomes than those of the same age who are adopted into stable happy and secure families.”

Thankfully, adoption of non-infants is becoming less rare. “There’s more public awareness that there are many children languishing in foster care, and even overseas,” Madeleine Krebs, Clinical Coordinator at The Center for Adoption Support and Education, tells Yahoo Parenting. “And there’s been more of a commitment in the professional adopting community to find them homes. But adopting a child at 12 is just as important as any other age. Kids of all ages need families.”

However, there are challenges to welcoming a pre-teen into your family. “Older children come with histories – whether having lived in foster care, orphanages, or with birth family,” writes CASE Clinical Coordinator Ellen Singer on the website Adoption Support. “Their pre-adoptive experiences may leave them with unresolved emotional issues. Such issues include significant loss – of birth family, possibly including siblings, previous caregivers, and sometimes – culture, religion, etc. In addition, some children may have experienced trauma – physical, emotional, sexual abuse; neglect, witnessing violence, substance abuse, parental psychiatric disturbance.”

Preparation and support on both sides is key to setting up each family for success. “The willingness to work with unique challenges is not right for everyone,” writes Singer. “But for those who choose to bring an older child into their lives, the hard work can bring great happiness.”