Ashley Judd: Orphans make it hard to decide on kids

05/28/2008 at 09:52 PM ET

Ashleyjuddkevin_14514109_max_cbbActress Ashley Judd, 40, has been busy serving as a global ambassador for the YouthAIDS organization traveling throughout the world and witnessing first hand the number of orphans desperate for a family of their own. Ashley’s experiences are making her think twice about having biological children with race car driver Dario Franchitti, 35. Ashley shared,

The fact that there are 25 million AIDS orphans makes it hard to decide [to have kids]. The fact that 11 million children will die this year before reaching their fifth birthdays makes it hard. We should be providing for the ones who are here.

YouthAIDS is an education and prevention program of the international NGO Population Services International (PSI) promoting AIDS prevention and treatment. Ashley has been serving as a global ambassador for the organization since 2002.

Source:; Photo by Kevin Mazur, WireImage

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Paige on

I think Ashley and Dario would have beautiful children.

brooke on

I love ashle she is a great actress, and does great work, and she’s gorgeous. But one thing doesn’t have to do with another, she can always adopt one of those kids than if she really wants to make a difference too. Just because children are dying in other countries, doesn’t mean people can’t have their own bio children if they want too, and most want too. If she doesn’t want bio kids that’s fine, but had she wanted one, with all the money she has, she could still help other children in need.

Kayla on

I can definitely see her point, and I’ve never been to any orphanages. It must make it 100 times more difficult to decide to have a child after actually seeing children that already need help.

Paige on

Please, please don’t say “children of her own.” Any children Ashley Judd parents will be her own.

My two lovelies weren’t born to me, but are very much my children. I’m sure any mother, famous or not, would say the same.

Kait on

There’s a point in the movie “Martian Child” where the main character says something to the extent of “I can understand not wanting to bring another child in to this world, but how can you argue against loving one that’s already here?”

We are planning on adopting because pregnancy isn’t happening for us. There are so many kids that need families, it seems too selfish for us to attempt fertility treatments to have kids when we could use that money towards an adoption.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we don’t condemn anyone for the way they’ve decided to build their families. 🙂


I see where she’s coming from, but at the same time she could do both, adopt and have her own if she wants to. Angelina is a great example of this. I do agree that lot of children need homes and I think adoption is so wonderful.

tink1217 on

I understand her point but its almost like she is saying it is wrong for people to have children BECAUSE there are so many orphans in the world. Maybe that is her decision and opinion, but that doesn’t make it true. I think its great she is so involved. But not everyone can be. And, with lots of people having a family is a deep desire. Obviously it is not that deep of a desire for her. her desire is to help others.

Aura on

I think it’s true what Ashley says. It’s hard when you see how much suffering goes on in the world. Sometimes I think about having my own children, and imagining the pregnacies, but then I hear about orphans overseas, and I really want to adopt. So I get where she’s coming from.

But I’m not saying people are bad for having their own kids, and I don’t think Ashley Judd is saying that other. It’s just now we are more exposed than ever to the suffering of children in other countries and so that affects how people look at the world and their own families.

fay on

i’m sure that people will give me drama for this, but i agree w/ her wholeheartedly…

especially for those who have problems conceiving on their own. i mean i’m not judging, but i dont understand why people would rather subject themselves, their bodies, their marriages, their finances to so much additional stress for a “maybe baby” and even moreso, i’m a firm believer that if you want to be a parent, it really doesn’t matter WHO you’re a parent to.

I really appreciate Ashley for saying this… there are SO many children… i mean i don’t know… i’m not in their homes, i’m not in their marriages or their finances… i just don’t understand it… there are babies out there… that are unwanted… if you can’t have one biologically…

and what i find even more interesting is that a LOT of women who are for all of these fertility treatments and think they should be paid for w/ insurance monies are VERY pro life… so it’s like, u don’t want other people to abort their babies, but no one wants to adopt them…

i really dont understand this…

Jaime on

Fay – It is not the responsibility of infertile people to adopt children who don’t have homes. If you feel so strongly about adoption, your argument should apply equally to people who have no problems conceiving. You are right about one thing – you aren’t in my home, in my marriage or in my finances. What I do in order to have a child is really none of your business, and the lengths to which I will try to have a biological child should not concern you at all. I have the right to try for a biological child just as much as you do. And as someone who has looked into adoption, it is more expensive than infertility treatments.

Stef on

So with that logic, because there are so many homeless people in this country alone, no one should have houses? So many hungry that no one should eat?

I’m sorry, but I hate self-righteous logic. Help orphans or adopt them, fine, but is there really someone out there who desperately wants kids that is using their existence as a reason not to have any? I don’t buy what she says for a second.

I have always wanted to adopt children in need from foreign countries (once I’m in a position to do so), but the cost and red tape is unbelievable. I’m sure it is a deterrent for many. Look at what Madonna had to go through–the average Joe can’t afford numerous trips to a foreign country before the adoption is even approved.

fay on

jaime- are you trying to convince me or yourself, because my comment wasn’t specifically to you… and you’re going pretty hard in the paint at me… your right, it’s not my business… and i don’t care whats going on in your house, finances or marriage… i said i don’t understand WHY someone would subject to that… but i also said i’m not judging… i know that thos people’s children won’t be on welfare, so it doesn’t affect MY paycheck and i don’t care…however I get sick of reading about people who are complaining about the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs for fertility treatments, or why MY insurance premiums should go up so THEY can be covered to have all of this ELECTIVE work done, or how so and so’s marriage broke up by the stress of not being able to conceive a child… u wanna have your own biological, that’s fine… whatever… and as a matter of fact i DO think it’s all of our responsibilities to love the ones that are already here whether we can have our own or not… but as of now, the amount of my paycheck that goes to the social services dept in my county and the amt of vollunteer hours i put in, are all i can do right now… but really i wasn’t talking about u…

and i didn’t read in that article where she DESPERATELY wanted biological kids… she said she feels some kind of way about having her own kids when she knows there are kids w/o families… angelina said the exact same thing and she didn’t get all this crap about it…

i don’t understand the homeless/ hungry analogy… i didn’t say people SHOULDN’T have their own children… that would stop the world… but i do think it’s our responsibility as human beings to help our fellow man…

so maybe since people ARE homeless, one could use their resources instead of buying a multi million dollar home and use some of those resources to help the homeless get homes… or instead of wasting astronomical amounts of food, we could donate to a food shelter… instead of giving birth to 5 kids, maybe we could adopt 2 or 3. i don’t really see whats so damning about what i said… i’m not judging… i don’t UNDERSTAND… but instead of giving me a pov, you both came at me kind of out of pocket… that’s not really the way you help open peoples minds…


Stephany on

I totally see her point and I do see the view of the posters who believe why attempt for a “maybe baby” when you can adopt. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy! Adoption (just like fertility treatments) is a long, hard, exhausting, and stressful journey. I’ve never done it, personally, but I don’t think anyone has the right to condemn someone who decides to undergo fertility treatments instead of adopting a child.

Just like Stef said, why own homes when there are so many homeless? Why eat if there are so many hungry? We can go on and on about this.

I don’t think Ashley is condemning people who have babies, I feel that she would rather adopt than have children. She’s seen a whole lot more than we have in terms of AIDS babies so this is fueling her fire more.

Ivey on

Its a sweeping generalized comment on her part.

From her point of view it is very easy to adopt she has connections, money, it would be very easy to do.

Unfortunately, not as easy for your everyday person.

I would take it a step further and say humanitarian orginizations have to start figuring out how to solve problems that the parents have of all these orphaned children, so that there are less and less children in need.

Best of Luck to her in whatever she decides.

Jaime on

Fey – Trust me when I say that my comment wasn’t meant to convince me of anything. It was to enlighten you on issues you may not have thought about when you made generalized statements about couples going through infertility. I took your comment personally because you were basically making the argument that if you have to have fertility treatments done, you should chose to adopt instead. And I think that is an uninformed opinion. By saying that, I know that you have never had to undergo fertility treatments, and because of that, you cannot possibly understand how difficult it is to be told that having children won’t be as easy for you as it is for everyone else. You won’t understand what’s is like to wait four years for your first child. And if you are sick of reading about how difficult infertility is, then don’t read about it. Personally, I don’t think enough people understand infertility and what happens physically, emotionally and mentally to a couple going through treatments. If you would have taken the time to learn about it, you would know that it is a disease affecting couples – and as such, it should be covered by insurance. It is a medical condition. End of story. I don’t consider it “elective” work to be a mother, and I’m going to do everything in my power to try and have a biological child. No one should have to justify why they want a biological child, and if you don’t understand that urge, that desire to see a child that has your husband’s eyes or your grandmother’s curly hair, then I can’t help you. Infertility is stressful on a marriage, but marriages break up for a lot of reasons other than infertility. I am also looking into adoption – which is about $30,000 where I live. Obviously you didn’t know that, and you don’t know about the paperwork, the meetings, the homestudy, the waiting, the counseling, etc. that goes into an adoption. Trust me, it’s not as easy as snapping your fingers and bringing home a child. You are allowed to your live your life the way you want to, but I personally don’t think you should judge someone for having 5 kids and not adopting 2 or 3 of them. Or going through a medical procedure to have just one child. If you want to understand, just ask politely. The Resolve website is an excellent place to start learning.

Top on

I think the diffuculty, time and money that is involved in adoptions also makes a lot of people not adopt. It takes a long time, a lot of money and a lot of emotional roller coasters. With all the children in the world that do need homes one would think that it would be easier….

fay on

here’s the problem… i’m NOT judging… i’m stating my opinion. if you have 5 kids and you’re taking care of all of them w/ out the states assistance, i don’t really care about your reproductive choices. i DO know that i would like to have my own children. i ALSO know that as a highly educated african american woman it is HIGHLY against my favor to find a husband that fits my same demographic and i KNOW i will not bring a child into this world w/o the benefit of a two parent household. so adoption MAY be my only option… don’t assume about me as i have not assumed about you. i said i do not understand WHY someone would bring all of that stress into their lives not that they shouldn’t… that’s not my house, why do i care about your stress…

i read women’s magazines… i don’t read about it. i read the bylines… i read about martha stewarts daughter wanting the world to feel sorry for her because she has to take fertility drugs so she can have the benefit of bringing her own biological into a single parent family… i don’t understand it… i just don’t…

will a new born baby in your home that u’ve fostered or adopted be any less yours because it doesn’t have your grandmother’s features or your husbands mannerisms? it’s STILL YOUR BABY… and there are MANY MANY ways around those costs… i know SEVERAL caucasian families who’ve adopted african-american and biracial children and because there are SO many in the system they are VERY EASY to be placed… i see a baby and i want to love the baby (i’m not financially, mentally, or emotionally prepared to be a parent) but when i’m ready if i’m not married, or if i can’t (which is a serious issue in my family of africans, go figger that out) there are so many children that need to be loved…

yo, i’m not judging you, i don’t think i was impolite, i didn’t even really ask a question for you to defend yourself and i didn’t come at u rudely… i stated my opinion… there is a child there… there are children there who need love, who want love, you’ve got all this love to give and whatever reason you’re having whatever issues you’re having w/ a biological (and i do have sympathy for you, i can only imagine how that must feel) i just think when it’s time for ME to be a parent, i’m not really concerned about what my uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes or my husbands sperm has to say about it… i’m going to be a parent… if it costs 30K, i’d READ EYE’D rather put that 30K towards an adoption versus hormone and fertility treatments…

as far as insurance goes… i think we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one… it’s an elective process, and as long as MY premiums don’t go up, there’s no bother… but when YOUR reproductive rights affect MY income… there is definitely going to be an issue…

taegan on

I see her point, but I also think that it is possible to mix the two. Or help out the orphanages without actually adopting.

The person who said Angelina didn’t get flack for it is wrong, she is still getting flack for it today in different formats! Taking a child into your home is wonderful and scary thing to do, both she and Madonna are made to look like mad criminals with no common sense by the media. Just meglomania!

I wish Ashley well in whatever decision she comes to with her husband. Because at the end of the day it should be a mutual need, met through respect and compromise.

Stef on

Jaime–I agree with you 100%. Fertility treatments are not an elective procedure. Whatever causes infertility in a couple is caused by a medical condition that disables them from functioning as they normally should…the same way that a person would need medicine or treatment for a digestive issue or repiratory problems. It’s a natural function that isn’t working as it should. To say that you have difficulty having kids so you should never try is as foolish as saying to someone born with a leg deformity, “You have difficulty walking, so you shouldn’t bother to try to walk or come close to it.” It’s a person’s right to try to help their body to come as close to fully-functioning as medically possible.

And in further disagreement with Ashley’s comments, just because a person is capable of adopting does not mean it is right for them or that they would be any good at it. Same as a person being able to have their own children does not mean it is right for them or any possible children.

mira on

These are truly good people who would make great parents. Zero population growth is a must. There are so many children that are in desperate need of a home. We chose adoption for this reason even before the consideration of a “biological” child. And now we are proud parents to a little girl and have two more on the way – also thru adoption.

Ada on

I completely agree with you fay.

it breaks my heart to think of all the children in the world who are suffering and dying.

it is absolutely our job and responsibility to help them.

frenchlas on

I feel for the many children out there looking for families, but I wonder why on earth does it have to be so expensive to adopt with so much red tape? It puts it out of reach for many would be adoptive parents.

larissa on

… she said she feels some kind of way about having her own kids when she knows there are kids w/o families… angelina said the exact same thing and she didn’t get all this crap about it…

but Ashley hasnt adopted any of the needy children. Nor has she ever that I know of, publicly exspressed a burning desire to adopt children the way Angelina did.

Saying “we should take care of the ones already here”, seems like a judgemental comment on people having bio kids. You can do both you know. I sponsor a child and have 2 bio kids.

Stef on

Frenchlas–Well, take the reason that it’s so difficult to adopt a dog from a shelter and magnify it x1000. Agencies have to check out the family and home, there’s travel to another country (if necessary), follow-ups on the family, legal work, etc., which costs a ton, but it is a necessary protection. It deters people who would go and scope out orphan children for illegal reasons (sex industry primarily) in the same way it does those who would adopt dogs for use in fighting rings. I’m sorry if this analogy sounds crass.

However, the cost is fairly exhorbitant and I think much of it could be done pro bono to help out families with the desire but not the means.

Jojo40 on

I would never wish Ashley on a baby. I don’t think she would be a good mum. But I agree with the article, there are lots of other babies out there that could be adopted and loved instead of having your own.

Jenna on

I feel the need to defend Ashley. From my point of view, she wasn’t being judgmental, she was just giving her opinion. We don’t even know the question she was asked. Personally, I really like Ashley because in every interview I have read, she calls it exactly as she sees it. She gets a lot of criticism for her honesty, which I think is unfair. She also does a lot on behalf of YouthAIDS. Perhaps instead of criticizing her views, we should be praising her work with YouthAIDS.

terri on

I don’t think one precludes the other, but I understand her feelings of guilt, if you will.

Mockarena on

Ashley Judd is a hypocritical self-serving person. Visit the I Hate Ashley Judd category at and read more about her quotes like this one and many many many more.

I cannot STAND her. Join us at the mock dock. There are a whole group of Ashley Haters there. 🙂

Erin on

It always seems to me that more insecure women take people’s words about adoption in the wrong way. I think adoption is a wonderful, magnificently beautiful thing to do in your life and the lives of the children you make your own. My dad and uncles were adopted and had better lives because of it. I’ve always thought about adopting and when it comes time for us to have children, that’s something that will be thought of seriously. Just because Ashley said that she can’t see having her own when there are kids out there already in need of families, doesn’t mean she’s putting down biologically having children!

Erin on

To Fay and the people attacking her: just because adoption may be more expensive than IVF doesn’t mean it’s more difficult. IVF treatment is hard on you, your partner, your relationships – everything. It’s sad that the need to have a child biologically over-rides the need to keep your relationship intact sometimes.

And no one has to “buy” what Ashley is saying – it’s her marriage! You don’t want people in your lives, either. Who cares what her reasons are for not wanting kids? It’s aggrivating to me that in 2008, women still attack and judge other women when they don’t have kids or aren’t married by the time you think they should be. Aaaah!

LolaCola on

I think it is terrible that adoption is so expensive. Does anyone know what that money goes into? I do think the screening process should be difficult, very difficult in fact, but the amount of money it costs is ridiculous. I think that does deter many people form adopting.