May 7th, 2007
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My husband mentioned the other day what a unique adoption story Nicole Richie has and suggested it as a blog topic. We saw an interview with Lionel Ritchie on television some time ago, and he discussed his daughter’s adoption.

My dear husband was blown away at the whole story about why Nicole came to be adopted by the Richies. I was astounded that Lionel Ritchie would share a story that would cast him in such a negative light. Maybe he did not realize how bad it would sound. Another possibility is that he did not care, and/or was just being honest. Nevertheless, it is a fairly shocking story and hard to imagine. However, it does offer some explanation as to Nicole’s struggles as an adult.


Lionel Richie and his wife noticed the cute little daughter of a couple who were involved on a production that they were working on. She was about 3 years old at the time. I forget the details of what exactly her parents did for a living, however, they had behind the scenes jobs working on a production.

The cute little girl noticed by the childless Richies charmed them so much, that they decided it might be fun to have her around. They took custody of her when she was about 3 years old, and then formally adopted her when she was nine years old. Clearly, from Lionel Ritchie’s own description, they adopted her on a whim. Once they did, they quickly discovered that they knew nothing about parenting.

At an early age, she was left with caregivers while her adoptive parents were on the road. During her teen years, she was often left to her own devices, and became involved with all sorts of unsavory things.

So, why am I relating this story? Not to prove that no celebrities are capable of becoming good adoptive parents; I think some adoptive parents can be. However, given the limitations on their time, I imagine it must be a challenge. Money might buy the best nannies available, but that does not make up for parental involvement.

My point is that people need to question people’s motivations for adopting, celebrities or not. Nicole Richies’ adoption illustrates the point well that it takes more than money to be a successful parent.

For more related articles:

Nicole Richie’s Biography

Other famous adoptees.

Wikipedia on Nicole Richie’s adoption story.

Photo by Jan Baker 2007

7 Responses to “Nicole Richie’s Adoption Story”

  1. emory77 says:

    okay. I’m trying not to get upset by your point. What’s funny is that my DH and I just had this conversation this week.

    People don’t need to question people’s motivation for adopting anymore than people questioning other’s people’s motivation for conceiving a child.

    Even when were trying to conceive a baby biologically, folks would question us, “why? y’all are still so young!” (when we were 25 and 26 respectively) When we found out that I was infertile, people questioned why we didn’t go through IVF, why we didn’t “do all that we could before adopting!?!” (and other rather insensitive comments) Now that we are adopting, the questions are “Why? Why adopt?” And every reason we give seems to be “wrong” in someone’s point of view. We want to become parents. We want to help and a child and have a child help us. We love kids! What more do I need to do to prove my motivation? Someone asked me, “so, you’ll be quitting work to stay home, right?” Actually, no. not at first, but I’m still going to try to work out a part-time schedule until we can get on our feet. Even that answer, was looked upon as if I were a heathen.

    I’m trying. I’m putting in the woman hours reading and researching and trying to come up with ways to be a good mom, my heart has been changed and influenced in so many different ways, by just these blogs alone.

    In a nutshell, people confuse seeking the truth with just plain being nosey. There may never be one good motivation or reason to adopt. I think what’s more important is to get the know the person or couple put yourself in their shoes, their struggles, their heartaches. Because they may be trying to just the same for the prospective adoptee or birth mother. And if they aren’t then…start educating.

    I feel bad for Nicole. I feel bad for Britney’s two sons. I feel bad for my friends who have grown up in bad home situations. Adopted or not, infertile or not. Compassion is what we ALL should be practicing and with that comes truth.

    Sorry for the long post.

  2. emory77 says:

    please forgive any typos or poor grammar. :)

  3. JudyK says:

    I’m totally confused — it sounds like the Ritchies asked these people for their daughter and they said “OK.” ???? I mean, she wasn’t abandoned, her parents were working, they didn’t come to the Ritchies asking for help, correct?

    How bizarre.

  4. Chromesthesia says:

    I feel so bad for her and almost want to hug her…
    I wish they had educated themselves a bit better about this before doing this…

  5. Heather says:

    I don’t get the birthparent part either.

  6. Jan Baker says:

    Emory77 – By “people” I do not think individual people should grill people who want to adopt. But, our system should thoroughly investigate the reasons for adopting and relinquishment. Glad you are trying to educate yourself. That is so important.

    Lionel Ritchie, as I recall, described the situation much as I did. Someone else said her birth parents ask the Ritchies to watch her for awhile. Anyway you slice it, it sounds odd.

    Hearing the story, it was puzzling why the Ritchies adopted her, and why her birth parents would allow their 3 year old to go live with someone else. Who knows? There could be much that we do not know.

  7. Just_The_Facts says:

    It would be nice if you had taken the time to do a little fact checking before blogging false information about someone’s life.

    Let me help you out a bit, because there are a lot of errors in your story about Nicole and Lionel Richie.

    Peter Michael Escovedo III is Nicole’s biological father.

    Peter Micheal Escovedo worked for “The Commadors” as a drummer.

    Lionel Ritchie was the lead singer for the group.

    Biological mother worked as a backstage assistant for the Commador’s.
    She is white and blond.

    Peter Michel Escovedo was just 20 when Nicole arrived. He was a struggling musician who was not married to the mother of his child.

    Both of their futures were looking bleak and uncertain due to their youth, inexperience and the nature of the music industry and all that it includes. Time on the road, late nights, alcohol, drugs, ect…

    Lionel and his wife spent considerable time with the child Nicole. With both of Nicole’s biological parents, working hard,it meant her being dragged around and underfoot.
    Cute as a button with a love of music.

    Love began to grow.

    Lionel and his wife offered to take the adorable child while her parents attempted to figure out their lives and how to better Nicole’s life.

    Knowing the love that existed between the Ritchie’s and little Nicole, her parents made the decision to allow Nicole to reside with the Ritchie’s. The offer of a financially and emotionally stable life seemed to make sense.

    Nicole moved in with the Ritchie family when she was 3 years old and was adopted when she was 9 years old.

    Obviously her biological parents never got it together enough to keep a close bond with Nicole and the gap just got wider every day.

    Do a google search on Peter.
    Nicole looks just like him.

    Peter Michael Escovedo III, is
    Music Director of the hit daytime talk show “The Wayne Brady Show”

    Peter Michael named after his father, world renown Latin jazz percussionist Peter Escovedo.

    Peter Micheal Escovedo is the brother of Sheila E.

    The “E.” is for Escovedo

    Pete Escovedo:
    (Nicole’s bio paternal Grandfather)

    Sheila Escovedo:
    (Nicoles bio paternal Aunt)

    Peter Michael:
    (Father of Nicole)

    Juan Escovedo:
    (Nicole’s bio paternal uncle)

    Nicole’s situation may not be your, or my, idea of perfection but it’s a lot better than it would or could have turned out had she remained with her bio parents.

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