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TV Radio Mirror (August 1975)

"Special Report: Stars Speak Out On Adopting Vietnam Orphans"

By Bill Davidson

James MacArthur mentions a news program he was watching in which children at a San Francisco orphanage, ranging in age from eight to 12, expressed in their own youthful way their frustration at not having parents when so many Vietnamese children suddenly had homes.

“That’s the conflict you feel inside yourself, of course,” Jim says.

“You want these poor kids from Vietnam to have decent lives, and you know that for many of them what they’ve been through at such an early age has left them scarred for life -- and yet, you see these children from minority races living in a concrete building, an orphanage, and you think, ‘They should have homes, too.’

“Perhaps it’s selfish, but that’s what goes through your mind. I’d like to think our country is big enough to do well for both, but then, when you read how many youngsters are available for adoptions and how some of them are almost teenagers and have never had parents, you almost have to say, ‘If we can’t find homes and take care of our own, why should we bring children in from abroad?’

“There is no simple answer or solution. You can only feel and do what is right for you individually, and hope you’re doing the right thing and that all those kids will have what perhaps you had as a kid.”

Jim’s opinion is especially interesting since he himself is an adopted child, the only son of actress Helen Hayes and the late Charles MacArthur. “Who knows what kind of life I might have had had I not been fortunate enough to have the parents I’ve had. It’s sometimes unnerving to think of that, and I wish it were possible for all children in the world to have the good fortune I’ve had in having a giving and loving family.”

James MacArthur

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