Birth parents are courageous and selfless when placing their child for adoption. Oftentimes, it brings forth feelings of heartache, loss, and sadness. Every adoption story is different, each full of challenges. Some of the most high-profile stars in the entertainment industry have also experienced adoption as birth parents. They made the choice to place their child for adoption. Below is a list of famous birth parents:

Joni Mitchell

This famous singer-songwriter was once an art school student. When she was 21, she placed her child for adoption. During the time, she was unmarried and had no job, money, and roof over her head. When the birth father heard of the news, he fled. Ultimately, adoption was the best choice for her in the long run. A lot of pain from that experience fueled her music career.

Patti Smith

Much like Joni Mitchell, songwriter Patti Smith was a college student when she became pregnant. She described her experience of having no money, no room in her family home, and no financial support. Her family struggled financially and could not help her. The birth father also fled after hearing the news. In the end, she felt she could not provide the life her baby deserved. After the pregnancy, she turned to writing to channel her emotions and eventually became a famous songwriter.

Jack Wagner

The General Hospital actor received a phone call in 1988 from a former hookup saying she was pregnant and placing the baby for adoption. Completely surprised by the situation, Wagner tried his best to father the child, but the whole situation was reportedly out of his control. 20 years later, he met his daughter backstage at one of his performances. The two have worked to build a relationship since then.

Mercedes Ruehl

When she was in her mid-twenties, Mercedes placed her son for adoption. She described herself as not having “the emotional development or economic capability” to be a mother at the time. Adoption was the best option. In 1991, when she won an Oscar and Golden Globe for her role in The Fisher King, her son discovered his biological mother was in the film. Since then, the two formed a strong bond. Ruehl adopted a son soon after and made her biological son the godfather.

Kate Mulgrew

The Orange Is the New Black star placed her baby for adoption when she was 18-years-old. Having recently accepted a starring role in Ryan’s Hope, the actress was single, alone and scared. She decided adoption was the right option for her baby. In the 1970s, it was taboo to a single pregnant woman on television. Even with this knowledge, the show incorporated her pregnancy. She began searching after the adoption, and the two reunited in 1998. They have only grown closer since.