hqdefaultThere are so many ways to show how adopting and fostering can impact a child’s life, but here are some people who were adopted or fostered, who in turn influenced us all:

Marilyn Monroe was abandoned by her biological mother who was not emotionally capable of raising her child, and she went into foster care as an infant. Initially her biological mother, Gladys, stayed with the foster family to help care for the infant until her work forced her to move to Hollywood. She still visited her young daughter on weekends and planned to take her back into her care eventually, but before she was able to do that she ended up institutionalized and never really had much contact with her daughter after that. Marilyn (Norma Jeane on her birth certificate) was then declared a ward of the state and spent most of her youth and young adult life bouncing from home to home, sometimes with friends and family of her mother, until she was married to the neighbor’s son, a 21 year old man, at the age of 16.

Bill Clinton was born to a widowed mother and was sent to live with his grandparents as a child. Later she remarried, and returned to bring him back into the new family. Bill used his stepfather’s surname immediately, and later was officially adopted and legally changed his name to Clinton. He is not the first President of the United States to be adopted, the first was Gerald Ford, although Gerald Ford lived with his birth mother his entire life and was never formally adopted by his stepfather.

Nelson Mandela was adopted at age 9 by Chief of the Thembu people after his father’s death.

Edgar Allen Poe’s birth mother died shortly after he was born, and his birth father left the family. Edgar was adopted and grew up with a family in Virginia.

Babe Ruth ended up in an reformatory and orphanage at a young age, although many details of his young life and parents are blurry. Brother Matthais was the Prefect of Discipline at the reformatory and encouraged Babe Ruth in his pursuit of baseball. Although he had a history of carousing and excess, after becoming successful he continued visiting orphanages and schools and children’s hospitals throughout his life, donating money and volunteering his celebrity presence at fundraisers. He adopted twice, he and his first wife adopted a daughter, and later he adopted the daughter of his second wife.

The award-winning actress Frances McDormand was born in Chicago in 1957 and was the youngest of four children adopted by Canadian parents. Her father’s work as a minister led the McDormand family to move frequently around the U.S. during Frances’ early years, but they finally settled in a suburb of Pittsburgh. Later in life, she and her husband adopted a son of their own.

Malcolm X, the fourth of seven children, grew up in foster care, separated from his siblings who also fostered. His birth father was killed in what was officially ruled a streetcar accident but was rumored to have been killed purposely by racists, which stuck with Malcolm. His birth mother was committed to a hospital.

Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, never met his birth mother. He was adopted at the age of just six weeks old. After the success of the fast-food chain he started the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. ‘Finding Forever Families for Children in Foster Care’.

Faith Hill was adopted just days after she was born, and was raised in a family with two brothers. She was the only adopted child in her family. She later found and developed a friendship with her birth mother.