After hearing bits and pieces about how Sia adopted two teenage boys as they were aging out of the foster care system, the singer and filmmaker decided to tell a more complete version of her journey to motherhood in this month’s InStyle magazine. It’s a wonderfully uplifting tale that makes us wish there were more Sias in the world — until, that is, we could get to a place were fewer children have to be in the foster system in the first place.
“I’ve wanted to be a mom my whole entire life,” the Australian-born singer begins her essay for the magazine. “For years I was basically walking around with my legs open like, ‘Impregnate me!’ But I never got pregnant in any of my relationships, even when I wasn’t exactly practicing safe sex. I just thought it wasn’t God’s will for me.”
Sia writes that she had gone through IVF and successfully made embryos with her then-husband, but a divorce, and some emotional wreckage that followed, put a halt to those plans. She had assumed her dream of motherhood was over until the day she watched a documentary about the foster-care system and was particularly drawn to a 16-year-old boy in the movie.
“Older children have a really hard time getting adopted, and when I saw him, I said to myself, ‘That’s my son.’ I knew I wanted to help him,” she said.
It took sometime to locate the boy, whom she does not name to maintain his privacy, but she did find him just as he turned 18. Since he was technically an adult, he could go live with Sia right away. There was a catch, however: The boy wanted his cousin Che to come along too.
“I had two spare bedrooms, so I said, ‘Sure!’ And even though I’d never met Che before, he also moved in with me that evening. Later I found out that they weren’t really cousins, just friends.”
By dinnertime, these two boys who had been through so much in their short lives were eating with a renowned pop star and her frequent collaborator, dancer Maggie Ziegler. But the fame of their new “mother” isn’t what astonished them, she said.
“Sitting at the table, my sons said, ‘We’re allowed to use knives here?’”
At this point, Sia’s story sounds just a little two fairy-tale-like to be true. How could this all go so well? But she does go into some of the bumps in the road.
“Sometimes I get frightened because my sons are young Black men, and statistically, given their histories, they could both end up in trouble or in jail,” she writes. “They have been systemically led in that direction. I’ve realized that there are certain things we aren’t compatible with too, and that is really hard. Most of their lives they’ve been conditioned to lie and manipulate, so the past year has been all about teaching them how to become rigorously honest and live in the moment without using any substances. There has been a lot of heartache. There has been a lot of lost trust and then a lot of regained trust. But I do trust them both. And I’m proud because they’ve come a very long way.”
Interestingly, she makes no mention of the fact that one of the boys also recently made her a grandmother, as she revealed to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in July.
Previously, Sia had spoken about how her sons have given her a very eye-opening perspective about systemic racism as the Black Lives Matter movement has taken hold in the country.
“I’m embarrassed that it took me to adopt two Black sons to really understand what they go through on a daily basis,” she told Lowe.
In her InStyle piece, Sia also discusses some other things she’s learned in this crash course on motherhood.
“I’ve learned how to be patient and compassionate,” she writes. “I’ve learned how to set strong boundaries. I’ve learned that as a single parent I need a great support system so I can ask questions about what’s normal and what’s not. I’ve learned what it means to unconditionally love another person.”
She has also learned that her adopted children are her children, and that love is so rewarding, she may even add to her family again one day.
Here are more (famous) parents who are committed to combatting racism.