Mary-Louise Parker on Momhood and Marijuana
The "Weeds" actress talks about blended families, acting, and legalizing pot.
"There was a young girl in Ethiopia named Aberash Bekele, who was kidnapped
and raped by a man when she was 14 and told she would have to be his wife," she
explains. "She shot and killed him, and there was a big trial and she was
acquitted, which is practically unheard of there. I don’t know if that story
informed her mother naming her, but the name is something that's hers. I can’t
give her a locket, a picture, a letter -- that's it. That's profound to me, and
I don't want to rob her of it."
"The instinct of wanting to keep a child connected to his or her culture,
roots, and biological origins is a wonderful thing and certainly considered
best practice in adoptions today," says Adam Pertman, executive director of the
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national adoption policy organization.
"Everybody wants and needs to know where they came from, and names are one of
the ways we can do that."
It’s because of Aberash -- maybe because of both Aberashes -- that Parker
was drawn to support the Brighter Futures Project
(www.brighterfuturesproject.com), an initiative of the Gladney Center for
Adoption. The initiative employs orphaned girls in Ethiopia and China making
hand-knotted, beaded bracelets. These girls have "aged out" of prospects for
adoption, and are making the transition from orphanage life to living on their
"It gives them direction, purpose, a little bit of income. These are girls
that are faced with prostitution at the age of 9 -- things we just can’t
comprehend. If you want to give a present, their jewelry is meaningful -- and
quite beautiful," Parker says.
Creating blended families
Many families, like Mary-Louise Parker's, blend biological and adopted
children. (Adoptive Families magazine estimates that about 25% of its
readers also have biological children.) Are there unique challenges in bringing
home a child who’s been adopted when you already have biological children at
Of course -- but it might be less complicated than you think, says Adam
Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
"Sometimes we think this is harder, or odder, than it really is. There are lots
of complex kinds of families. What is it like when there are step-siblings, or
half-siblings? What is it like when you live with a grandmother who takes care
of the family? That doesn't mean you don't think it through, but I don't think
we should be making it a bigger deal than it is, either."