Sandra Bullock on adopting Laila: Louis ‘wanted a sibling with brown skin’

Yesterday People Magazine came out with their new cover story, on Sandra Bullock’s adoption of a three and a half year-old girl, Laila, from the foster care system. Sandra waited until the adoption had officially gone through to make the announcement, explaining that she was legally obligated to keep Laila’s identity private and that she’d gone to great lengths to keep paparazzi photos of the girl from being published.

People’s piece was long and there are a lot of details that we didn’t yet report, mostly about how Laila and her older brother Louis, five, get along. Sandra said that Louis had asked for a sibling for several years and that he didn’t have a preference as to whether he had a brother or sister, but that he did want someone who had brown skin like him. She also told some cute stories about Laila and Louis bonding.

She knows she was meant to adopt Laila
I didn’t want Louis to think for a second that I wanted or needed more than him, because I had everything I needed. When I look at Laila, there’s not doubt in my mind that she was supposed to be here. I can tell you absolutely, the exact right children came to me at the exact right time.

Louis wanted a sibling
Louis spearheaded this whole journey. I did remind him that it could be either a brother or a sister and that we would be so lucky to have either one. He did specify that he wanted a sibling who has some brown skin.

On if she specifically wanted a daughter
Through the years there were many options that presented themselves that in the end didn’t work out. All of them were boys of various ages. Not one girl. At one point I was even getting on a plane the next day when things fell through. But again, I knew that we would find our family – we just needed to be patient. So when Laila came into our lives, we just had to move over because she was coming no matter what, and she knew exactly how things were going to run.

Louis is protective of Laila
When Laila finally came to us and we were getting visits from CPS, there was an afternoon when we were outside and Louis saw their car pull up and he ran next to Laila and asked the CPS workers why they were there. They replied that they were there to see if Laila was okay. He replied, “You’re not going to take her away, are you?” And at that moment, I knew I could stop worrying about whether I had found the right match.

On the first time Louis and Laila met
He grabbed her hand and dragged her into his playroom the first moment he met her. He’s a wise old soul and often knows more than I give him credit for. I think he was ready for her before she even arrived, and he knew exactly what to do as a big brother. He knew to be cautious and gentle. But now that time has passed and it’s like the WWE.

How they will celebrate Christmas
I will spend Christmas trying to convince Bwoono Maws [Bruno Mars, Laila loves him] to be under the tree and to somehow get Darth Va-der and Hans Solo to be there as well. The most magical part will be watching Louis show a little girl who may never have had a Christmas before what it’s all about.

[From People Magazine, print edition, headers added]

Many of you noted in the comments that it looked like Sandra was deliberately hiding the kids’ faces in the cover photo. In the photos in the magazine, there are only back and side view photos of Laila and Louis, there are no shots of their faces from the front except where Louis is wearing a mask. As I mentioned yesterday, Sandra’s boyfriend, photographer Bryan Randall, took the photos. She didn’t talk about him in the interview, but she did slyly say “the photographer was very patient.” I was surprised at how open Sandra was, she’s changed a lot and I think that’s down to being a mom. She told this kind of devastating story of being at her mom’s deathbed (Sandra’s mom passed in 2000) where her mom told her “Don’t be like me.” Sandra explained that her mom “didn’t want me to go through life shut down, afraid of feeling.” She said that “life has made sure I feel everything now, and I’m not ashamed of it anymore.

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49 Responses to “Sandra Bullock on adopting Laila: Louis ‘wanted a sibling with brown skin’”

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  1. Crumpet says:

    I think Sandra is a very lovely woman. I wish her all of the best.

  2. Shambles says:

    Oh, I’m gonna cry. This beautiful little family just makes me so happy. Such joy, such joy. And apparently “it’s like the WWE.” I bet those are some hilarious toddler wresting matches.

    Sounds like these 3 were truly made for each other, and I wish them nothing but happiness.

  3. KaliWeeble says:

    Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses. She always seems so humble and grateful for everything in her life unlike a lot of celebrities. I also truly believe those children will have a wonderful life with a very loving, caring and giving Mom.

  4. Capepopsie says:

    All teared up. . .

  5. Miss V says:

    I love hearing such happy stories about adoption. It’s such an amazing thing to be able to give a child the love and family they deserve.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Believe me, when these kids come into their new family, they bring their tender hearts to it … they are brave little souls to risk trust and love, and they inspire awe as they grow.

  6. doofus says:

    “The most magical part will be watching Louis show a little girl who may never have had a Christmas before what it’s all about.”

    GAH! don’t make me cry at work, Sandy!

    sounds like Louis will be a great big brother.

  7. Roma says:

    I’m adopted. This story made me tear up; I am so happy whenever a child finds a forever home.

  8. Bettyrose says:

    That story about protecting Laila from CPS got me choked up. Even with financial privilege, 5 year old Louis knows families can be torn apart. Kids learn so much before they even have vocabulary to explain it. My heart breaks.

  9. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Wow that mom story.

    It takes a lot to change later in life so I’m proud of her for taking it slowly and seemingly enjoying herself more.

  10. QQ says:

    Adorable! and again a show that anything in Hollywood can be kept secret if one so has that inclination

  11. Pinky says:

    CPS quintuple checks on Sandra Bullock, yet they gave Brooke Mueller back her kids, not to mention many other families, where the kids wind up dead months later and you find out no one was doing any checking whatsoever.

    ETA: Oh, and I would like Han Solo under my Christmas tree too, please! (Please bring my ‘Hans’ without the ‘s’!)

    • Naya says:

      Yes. Apparently sharing genes with a child entitles you to get away with just about anything. The Sheen-Mueller twins are doomed.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Adoptive parents go through so many checks and interviews, only to watch bio parents sometimes preen with superiority. You learn to blow it off and enjoy your own situation. Earning the trust of a child who had no reason to trust? That’s pretty cool.

  12. that time i didn't care says:

    As a social worker, who used to work with kids in foster care, it fills me with joy to see a child getting adopted to a great home. That’s not a story that I often encountered, and it would be great if this encouraged more domestic U.S. adoptions.

    • Sarah01 says:

      I agree, it’s nice to see a celebrity opting for a domestic adoption. Although adopting domestic or international is such a nerve wracking and beautiful thing to do. It’s a win win in this situation the kids have a safe and loving home and Sandra has a beautiful family. I can understand that maybe she doesn’t want to expose her kids too much but not showing their faces might prompt paparazzi to get more aggressive to see what Laila looks like. There is no right answer.

    • jc126 says:

      I agree. I’d especially be thrilled if more people adopted from foster care.
      I believe Rosario Dawson did so, and she adopted a 12 year old to boot.

    • JEM says:

      I also work in the system, and this is a great story! It sounds like Sandra went though a lot to find a match, and she seems like a fantastic mom. Congrats to all three of them!

  13. Carmen says:

    Reading these comments is a refreshing change from other web sites where people have posted comments insinuating that Bullock is some kind of traitor to her race for not adopting white children.

  14. Scotchnmilk says:

    As a foster child myself who was made part of a very loving family, I am so relieved there are woman like Sandra. I wish them many happy days together. So nice to read something today that has given me happy tears opposed to sad.

  15. Kelly says:

    Her little boy sounds like he is already a wonderful man. So sweet.

  16. cannibell says:

    Can’t add anything but my little voice, chiming in to celebrate something good. Merry Christmas and Happy Ever After to Clan Bullock.

  17. Lindy says:

    So, this just made me tear up over my coffee at work this morning. She’s always seemed like a decent person. I’m happy for her and for those kids.

  18. hoopjumper says:

    She is just wonderful. Congratulations to her and to her children.

  19. Christin says:

    I commend her on keeping this private, and for giving an interview that is a joy to read. Because someday, her children may read it. I don’t think all celebrities think of that.

    • Sofia says:

      But if she is giving an interview with so many emotional details how exactly is she being private? I think it’s lovely and maybe will make people rethink adoption on many levels but this isn’t privacy at all. This is a celebrity who isn’t just an actress, she is engaging with her celebrity status by sharing personal details about her life as a mother and details about her kids and the adoption process. This isn’t even an interview to promote a project where she speaks a little about her kids, this is full on People mag “look at me”.

      • Christin says:

        My point is that she kept it quiet even while there was speculation she was adopting. Even if it is self-promoting in a way, she chose her words well. If she says nothing, others will write the narrative about the “how” and “why” once they see her with the new little girl.

        Based on what she says, Sandra could have been trying to grab headlines with “sources say Sandra is trying to adopt, unsuccessfully” for the past couple of years. She made the revelations on her terms.

      • Sofia says:

        I understand your point, but she was private through the process because she had to. And doing it on her terms may end speculation but may also create curiosity about her kids. Hopefully it won’t. This PR game they play can be really twisted!:/

      • bananapanda says:

        If you read yesterday’s post, you’d know that she was getting hounded. She was spotted by the tabloids taking Laila to the hospital and she had to tip toe around the legalese. This interview is a way of controlling the story and diffusing the paparazzi. She did the same with Louis and it worked.

  20. Jayna says:

    I didn’t realize she went through so much as far as almosts and then disappointments not leading to a child, but all of that ended up with Sandy and Louis finding the child that was meant to be in their little family.

  21. suze says:

    A celebrity giving an interview that won’t embarrass her kids if they come upon it in the future.
    What a nice holiday surprise.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      I know, right? No “new life forms,” no “mommy went through hell to have you,” no “marriage is excruciating,” nothing but love and acceptance.

  22. ch2 says:

    She’s adopting! and children of color at that… I wish more people would do that. Nominate this lady for sainthood!

  23. Jib says:

    I’m 54 but would love to adopt a child since I was adopted. I do know there are many minority children in the US up for adoption. This motivated me to start looking again.

  24. Common Sense says:

    Nothing but love for this beautiful family.