Mary-Louise Parker Always Knew She'd Adopt

07/21/2009 at 01:00 PM ET
Neilson Barnard/Getty

Ever since she was a little girl, Mary-Louise Parker was certain of one thing: one day, when old enough, she would adopt.

“I would daydream about it all the time,” the Emmy-nominated star of Weeds, now in its fifth season, told PEOPLE earlier this summer at a benefit for Worldwide Orphans Foundation hosted by La Perla in Beverly Hills. “I thought about the fact that there were children who didn’t have anything, and I felt like I could help. It was something that weighed on me.”

In August of 2007, Parker, already a single mom to William Atticus, her son with former boyfriend Billy Crudup, made her childhood dream a reality when she went to Africa with Worldwide Orphans and made Caroline Aberash, whom she calls Ash, part of her family.

“It was something I did for the world and for my son and then for me,” Mary Louise, 44, said of adding a second child to her family. “And when I say the world, I also mean my daughter. Once I knew her, she became part of that. But it’s hard raising two kids as a single person. It’s a lot of pressure.”

Does she wish she had a fulltime partner to share that pressure with? “Sometimes, sure,” says the actress, who has been single since her on-again off-again relationship with actor Jeffery Dean Morgan ended earlier this year. “I wish I could give them everything that was a perfect little family paradigm, but I can’t. Honestly, I feel like that doesn’t even exist, or at least I try to tell myself that when I am feeling bad about not providing it.”

Click below to read about how Mary Louise prepared William for getting a sibling.

Another challenge was introducing William to the idea that he would be getting a baby sister from halfway around the world.

“I didn’t want to give him too much time to ruminate about it,” says Mary Louise. “I talked to him about adoption and asked him what he thought about it, so he understood what it was all about. Then one day he said out of the blue, ‘Mommy, a brother or sister is something that I don’t have, so I think that we should go to the store and get me a brother or sister.’ ”

A few weeks later, William got the news that he would be getting a baby sister in August. “His response to that was, ‘Is that today August?’ When I said no, he said, ‘Good, because I want to go to the park.’ When the time came to go to Africa, you’ve never seen anyone more excited — never ever.”

Parker reports that William, now 5 ½ and a big Gene Kelly fan, is a very protective older brother. For her part, Ash, who turns 3 in August, is already taking after her mom.

“She’s really tough,” says Mary Louise. “She can hurt herself and then get up and dust herself off. But at the same time, she’s really girlie. For her, it’s all about purses and panties and sunglasses. She has a massive ‘fro that she loves to put flowers in.”

As much as she enjoys the praises from Weeds, for Mary Louise it’s all about her kids. “Sometimes I just look at them and I think, You are the two coolest people I have ever met,” she says. “I was getting ready to come here tonight and my son came up to my trailer and said, ‘Where are you going, my beauty?’ I hear that, and I don’t really need anything thing else.”

Source: PEOPLE

— Oliver Jones

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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JMO on

I love MLP and I love Weeds!!

That’s a sweet story about her son. We haven’t seen a pic of Ash in a long time. She’s very good about keeping them away from the public eye which I adore about her.

pittsburghbusiness on

I adore Mary Louise Parker, congratulations!

Haylo on

I think that MLP is probably one of the sweetest people. Her philosophy always seems so real. It can’t have been easy to go through what she did with Crudup and come out of it so well and with so little drama.

Here is a recent set of pictures of Ash

eva on

Thanks for the link Haylo.
Ash is such a pretty girl she makes me want another one!Mommy and daughter are sweet and natural beauties.

Molly on

Are we supposed to be believe that little girls are dreaming about adoption? I dont think so ….

We’re adopting as well (so this subject is very close to my heart) but i would hardly say i wanted to adopt since i was a little girl. Too cheesy …

ada on

molly – sorry to say, but thats a ridiculous comment.

i have always wanted to adopt, even since i was “a little girl.”

i dont even have kids yet and as far as i know, i am perfectly capable of having them biologically. but that has nothing to do with the fact that knowing how many children are orphaned and in poverty around the world has always made me acutely interested in adoption.

i think that any compassionate and caring little girl would dream about helping other children around the world. dont be so cynical. its not cheesy at all.

Jessica on


Just because you didn’t necessary dream about adopting doesn’t mean MLP didn’t.

I like her, she’s very simple.

Courtney on

I have to say I really like her! She seems very honest.

I can honestly say that as a child I wanted to adopt…as a young adult I wanted to adopt, and in fact as a mom of 4 bio kids I would still love to adopt, but I know some things are beyond my reach and adoption is one of them.

Sarah K. on

Molly, I agree with Ada. I’ve always wanted to adopt and I don’t have fertility issues. Even as a child I always said I would adopt. Kids aren’t as simple-minded as you think. They can recognize the importance of family, helping others, etc.

Believe what you want, but I don’t see why MLP would make that up. That being said, MLP seems like a great mom.

JMO on

Wanting to adopt since you were a little girl is no different then saying you can’t wait to be a mother some day! No cheesy at all.

Haylo thanks SO much for that link. Lovely images and Ash is a gorgeous little girl!

Tiffany on

Molly I don’t know but you comment makes you sound stupid. I’m adopted as well and I’ve always dreamed of going back to my home country to adopt. Then I saw World Vision and it just confirmed that I would adopt (not to say I not interested in having my own children) and I was eleven years old when I came to that conclusion. So maybe as a child you didn’t think about adopting but sure as hell did and so do many other people. So think before you talk.

DC on

I love coming to this website, but I never comment on these postings. I’m going to make an exception to that decision of mine for this posting lol.

Molly – I’m going to add to the comments from those supporting Mary-Louise Parker’s ability to have decided as a little girl to adopt in the future. There’s nothing ‘cheesy’ about having that as a dream during childhood. It’s completely possible and for various reasons, I also am one of those folk you speak of who knew when I was a child that I would adopt someday. It has always been a dream of mine, and I am definitely adopting a little kiddo as well.

Seriously – none of us should ever underestimate the ability or intelligence level of a child to know at a young age what it is that they will potentially do with their life when they reach adulthood. Whether that be adopting a child, becoming an astronaut, a doctor, a parent, etc. Many children know quite early on what dreams or goals they will pursue in life and are stubborn, dedicated and persistent enough to see those dreams and goals achieved as they progress through their lives.

Mary-Louise Parker’s actions with regard to adopting Ash are inspiring (as are the actions of any adoptive and/or biological parent who cares for and loves their little ones in a positive, admirable way!), and because she was able to see that dream from her childhood through to fruition, she and William have been blessed to have Ash in their lives. What a beautiful story!

Btw Molly, don’t take my words as anything other than a different opinion expressed from a person who has a different perspective on the ways in which it is possible to reach the decision to adopt because of the experiences I’ve had in my own life and the people that I’ve met:) …and most importantly – many congratulations on your decision to adopt!!

deedot on

I like the way MLP is so open about how much hard work it is and how she feels guilt over lacking thefull picket fence thing. Sounds like a normal mother to me…guilt guilt guilt!

Molly…congratulations on your upcoming addition! I can understand that people come to adoption in different ways…for some it is a childhood dream for others a compromise based on infertility. I have friends in both camps and when they see the baby/child how or why they wanted to adopt in the first place becomes pretty much irrelevant it seems. My friend who most desperately wanted her “own” child is the most insanely adoring mother I have ever seen of her adopted child…she just laughs now and says that God (she is religious) was just waiting for her to stop being pigheaded about the delivery method and just get on with being a mother…..

one_love on

I’m just curious if MLP’s son was named William Crudup or Parker. I think that’s very big on her part for naming him William–Billy Jr. so-to-speak after all that went on. She’s a much bigger person than me.

Jeannie on

Molly, I wish you all the best in the adoption process and wish your baby a happy, healthy life!

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