"Battleship" star Brooklyn Decker says she plans to adopt a special needs child at some point in the future.
In a recent interview, the 25-year-old model-turned-actress confessed, "I want to adopt a child or a baby with an intellectual disability one day." Decker, who married tennis star Andy Roddick in 2009, added "I mean, that's in the distant future, but that's always been a goal of mine." The "What to Expect When You're Expecting" actress credits her aunt - a Special Olympics athlete - with inspiring her to adopt a disabled child. According to the former Sports Illustrated cover model, "A lot of kids with intellectual disabilities are given up for adoption when they're born, [be]cause it's a lot for a family [to handle]."
We think the couple's adoption plans are a great idea, and we hope they can bring some much-needed attention to the plight of disabled children in need of loving, permanent homes. While Decker is hoping to adopt a child, a number of celebrities have spoken candidly about their own children who have special needs. Here's a look at some Hollywood families who are facing - and overcoming - the challenges of raising children with physical and mental disabilities.
Last year, actor Colin Farrell opened up about his son James' (7) diagnosis with Angelman Syndrome. The rare neurodevelopmental disorder affects approximately one in 30,000 children, and can cause delays in mental and physical development. Originally, James' parents (his mom is Farrell's ex-girlfriend, model Kim Bordenave ) thought he suffered from cerebral palsy, since he does not speak and didn't begin walking until the age of four. According to the "Total Recall" star, one doctor finally noticed how happy James was and made the connection to Angelman's , which is characterized by (seemingly angelic) happiness, laughing, and smiling.
Actress Holly Robinson Peete has long been an advocate for children with autism, since her son Rodney (14) was diagnosed with the disorder at age 3. Children suffering from autism typically have impaired communication and social interaction, and while Rodney still struggles, his proud mom says that "his progress is noteworthy." Peete says her experience with her son has shown her "that recovery is possible...with a variety of treatments and the means to access them." A number of other celebs also have autistic children. Toni Braxton's 9-year-old son, Diesel, suffers from autism, as does Jenny McCarthy's 9-year-old son, Evan. Actor Sylvester Stallone's son Seargeoh , now 33, was also diagnosed with the disorder at an early age.
Former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has spoken openly about her youngest son's diagnosis with Down Syndrome. Trig (4) was tested prenatally, so both Sarah and her husband Todd knew early on that their son would be born with the genetic condition. Palin confessed that she initially hid the news from her children, saying "Not knowing in my own heart if I was ready to embrace a child with special needs, I couldn't talk about it." Despite her fears, the mother of five says that all doubt vanished "the moment Trig was born." In addition to Palin, "Scrubs" and "Office Space" star John C. McGinley became a spokesman for the National Down Syndrome Society after his son Max (now 10) was born with the condition.
"Covert Affairs" star Christopher Gorham says his firstborn son was relatively old by the time doctors discovered he had Asperger's syndrome. According to his father, Lucas (11) wasn't diagnosed until he was 9 years old because he's very high functioning. The father of three states that knowing what was wrong with his son, who was having trouble interacting at school, was the first step toward helping him adjust and be successful. Gorham said beautifully, "I don't think of him as my son with Asperger's. I think of him as my son. He's not wrong. He's not broken. He is who he is. We, as his parents, are going to do our best - as we do with all our kids - to give him the best shot at having the best life he can."
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