Adopting daughter Caroline “Ash” Aberash from Africa last year was a childhood dream come true for Mary-Louise Parker.
Mary-Louise, 44, says she remembers wishing her parents would adopt a sibling for her when she was growing up.
“I still think it’s something everyone should do if they can and want to,” Mary-Louise said Saturday night during a Q&A with New Yorker journalist John Colapinto.
“I can’t adopt 500 children, but I did adopt this one beautiful little girl and it was an amazing thing. Especially after having been to a Third World country, and having seen the desperation there, and the need, and all the children, and holding those children and seeing them and touching them.”
Mary-Louise arrived at the 10 p.m. event after filming a message for Worldwide Orphans, the organization that helped find her daughter. She told the audience she broke her usually strict bedtime rule and took Ash, who is now 2, along for the shoot.
“I’m very scheduled, so she was asleep,” said Mary-Louise. “I had to quietly wake her up, which I never wake up my children, but [I told her] it was for the other orphans of the world.”
Mary-Louise shared that she’s lost the desire for nightlife since becoming single mother to Ash and son William, 4 (and whose dad is actor Billy Crudup).
“I get a lot of invitations to go to a lot of things, and I don’t go to lots of things because I want to put my kids to sleep at night,” she said.
Mary-Louise said that she recognizes that the need for adoptive parents is just as great in the United States as it is abroad, but believes every child should have a chance at a great life, regardless of geography:
“I hear the comment, “Why not adopt from this country?” There’s a lot of need in this country. And I think if you want to adopt anywhere it’s a beautiful thing, but it’s not a contest. So you shouldn’t say “Why don’t you adopt this child over that child.” A child is a child and every child deserves to be loved.
If was a contest, however, a Third World country is different from, say, Baltimore. It’s different when there are dead bodies by the side of the road and parents having to amputate their children’s limbs so children can beg to get money, and mothers are having to sell their daughters into sex slavery. It’s a different thing, so I don’t think you should make it a contest when it comes to children, and who’s deserving of love and who’s deserving of a family. Every child is deserving of that.”
Though her family of three is content, Mary-Louise says they do deal with the typical verbal attacks from random strangers or the paparazzi. On a recent trip to Disneyland, Mary-Louise and William took a liking to the Peter Pan ride — so much, in fact, that they stayed on the attraction for nine loops in a row! When relaying the story to an acquaintance, Mary-Louise said she was criticized for receiving special treatment because she was famous — the acquaintance implied such liberties wouldn’t be granted to a non-celebrity family without a VIP pass. In defense of her son’s right to have fun, she said:
“William thinks that everyone who is met [when arriving] at the airport is met by creepy people who run after them with flashbulbs and scream — and follow him when he gets off the plane and follow him through security when he’s throwing up — and still take his picture and scream his name. That’s the trade-off. So yeah he gets to ride the Peter Pan ride nine times!”
And of her son’s opinion of her work on Weeds, Mary-Louise shared with a laugh, “He thinks I’m on a show about plants.”