Gerber has been making waves in recent years with its always-adorable, and now more diverse than ever, roster of spokes-babies. In 2018 we were psyched to report on its first-ever selection of a Gerber Baby with Down syndrome, 1-year-old Lucas Warren; 2019’s winner, 15-month-old Kairi Yang, was the first Gerber Baby of Hmong descent. And now the iconic baby food brand has made another powerful choice, announcing that its 2020 Gerber Baby is Magnolia Earl, who is adopted. Little Magnolia is the first adopted Gerber Baby since the company began this tradition back in 1928.
“This is incredible,” Magnolia’s mom Courtney Earl said on TODAY on Friday, May 8, when Gerber’s selection was announced. “It means that when people see our families, or if you see a family that doesn’t necessarily match, that you don’t have to question the belonging of anybody in that family.”
Courtney was joined on the show by her husband Russell and their 12- and 8-year-old daughters Whitney and Charlotte.
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Hello and congratulations to Magnolia, our 2020 Gerber Spokesbaby! 😍 We’re thrilled to welcome you to our growing Gerber family! 🌟 Please join Gerber and our friends @verizon, @walmart, and @gerberchildrenswear in sending Magnolia lots of love! To meet Magnolia, visit the link in bio. 💕 #AnythingforBaby #GerberPhotoSearch2020 #GerberSpokesbaby2020
“Mommy always says a family is built on love,” dad Russell chimed in. “We may all look different, but we’re one family.”
What’s possibly the most refreshing aspect of all of this is how open the Earls are about their adoption journey. In fact, Courtney explained that they’d notified Magnolia’s birth parents — with whom they’re in regular contact — of her exciting new status via phone.
“If you could hear the joy in their voice of how proud they are of this little girl… Together with them and our community and our family, we all love this baby girl so much,” said a teary-eyed Courtney on the show.
She also said that she and her family “celebrate adoption… every single day. The real hero in this story are Magnolia’s birth parents. They chose her life, and they sent her on this incredible journey.”
Open adoptions — when birth parents, adopted parents, and the child remain in touch — have largely become the norm. These days, 67% of private adoptions agree on at least a semi-open adoption; those that do not are at the request of the birth mother. And it’s no wonder that adoptions are veering more and more towards openness; the transparency, communication and support that an open adoption can provide are beneficial to all parties involved in forming healthy, stable relationships.
One birth mother who chose open adoption for her son wrote about the decision for SheKnows:
I knew I was making the right call even before I signed the paperwork. I could tell from the minute I met them that John and Peter were the right parents for my child. From the day I met them to the afternoon my son went home with them, I never once had any hesitations about them as parents or as people. And I still don’t.
My son — our son — is amazing. He’s curious, silly and kind. He’s one of the most well-behaved children I’ve ever met, but that doesn’t keep him from asking for what he wants — which is usually ice cream. And he’s being raised with an overflowing network of love. Who could ask for anything more?
And it sounds like that overflowing network of love is exactly what baby Magnolia Earl is growing up with. Kudos to Gerber for putting her in the spotlight so the world can see it, too.
These are our favorite children’s books starring girls of color like Magnolia; we hope she has a few on her shelf already!