Did you know these famous people were adopted?
“1 Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him. 5 The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?” 8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
When Mandela was 9 years old, his father died of lung disease, causing his life to change dramatically. He was adopted by Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, the acting regent of the Thembu people—a gesture done as a favor to Mandela’s father, who, years earlier, had recommended Jongintaba be made chief.
First Lady Nancy Reagan (and adoptive parent)
In 1929, her mother married Loyal Davis (1896–1982), a prominent, politically conservative neurosurgeon who moved the family to Chicago. Nancy and her stepfather got along very well; she would later write that he was “a man of great integrity who exemplified old-fashioned values”. He formally adopted her in 1935, and she would always refer to him as her father.
Babe Ruth (and adoptive parent)
Born George Herman Ruth, Jr. in 1895, Babe Ruth was sent to an orphanage at the age of seven: “Babe’s tavern-owning parents placed him and his sister in orphanages, sending Babe to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. It was there that Babe met Brother Matthias, who taught him how to play baseball.” (link) He and his wife had one adopted daughter, Dorothy.
Dave Thomas, famed founder of the Wendy’s restaurant chain and television spokesman, was born Rex David Thomas on July 2, 1932, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Thomas never knew his birth mother, and was adopted by a couple from Kalamazoo, Michigan, when he was 6 months old. Thomas’s adoptive mother died when he was only five, and by the age of 10 Thomas had lost two stepmothers as well. He spent summers in Maine with his adoptive grandmother, Minnie Thomas, who was his closest relative and a big influence in his life.
Newt Gingrich was born on June 17, 1943, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His mother Kathleen Daugherty and father Newton Searles McPherson divorced soon after Newt was born. Kathleen remarried to an Army officer named Robert Gingrich, who adopted the boy. Gingrich has three younger half-sisters, Candace, Susan, and Roberta.
Eric Patrick Clapton was born on 30 March 1945 in his grandparents’ home at 1 The Green, Ripley, Surrey, England. He was the son of 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton (b. 7 January 1929, d. March 1999) and Edward Walter Fryer (b. 21 March 1920, d. 1985), a 24-year-old Canadian soldier stationed in England during World War II. Before Eric was born, Fryer returned to his wife in Canada. It was extraordinarily difficult for an unmarried 16-year-old to raise a child on her own in the mid-1940s. Pat’s parents, Rose and Jack Clapp, stepped in as surrogate parents and raised Eric as their own. Thus, he grew up believing his mother was his sister. His grandparents never legally adopted him, but remained his legal guardians until 1963. Eric’s last name comes from Rose’s first husband and Pat’s father, Reginald Cecil Clapton (d. 1933).