On March 10, 2002, Jolie adopted her first child, Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt (originally Maddox Chivan Thornton Jolie). He was born on August 5, 2001 as Rath Vibol in Cambodia and he initially lived in a local orphanage in Battambang. Jolie decided to apply for adoption after she had visited Cambodia twice, while filming Tomb Raider and on a UNHCR field trip in 2001. After her divorce from her second husband, Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie received sole custody of Maddox.
Maddox’s name is Celtic in origin, usually translated as “beneficent”. Jolie developed several nicknames for him, normally she calls him “Mad”. Maddox, like Jolie’s two other children, has gained a considerable celebrity and appears regularly in the tabloid media; he was named the “cutest celebrity kid”, and he is known for this Mohawk hairstyle.
On July 6, 2005, Jolie adopted a six-month-old girl from Ethiopia, Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (originally Zahara Marley Jolie), who was orphaned by AIDS. Zahara was born on January 8, 2005 as Tena Adam. Jolie picked her up at a Wide Horizons For Children orphanage in Addis Ababa. Shortly after they returned to the United States Zahara had to spend time in a hospital for dehydration and malnutrition. Jolie stated that “she was six months and not nine pounds. Her skin, you could squeeze it, it stuck together.” Zahara’s name means “flower” in Swahili, the second name “Marley” comes from late Jamaican reggae superstar Bob Marley. Zahara’s nickname is “Zee”.
In the months following Zahara’s adoption news reports emerged in which several women either claimed to be her birth mother or her grandmother. While making an appearance on CNN’s The Situation Room Jolie stated that her daughter is an “AIDS orphan.” By that she means her birth mother died from AIDS, but her daughter does not have the disease. The birth father of Zahara is not known. Her statement made it clear that the birth mother is indeed dead. In late October 2005, an Ethiopian judge ruled that there is no evidence to suggest that Jolie would have to file for re-adoption of her daughter. The judge also ruled that a woman claiming to be her mother is not the birth mother.
Brad Pitt was reportedly present when Jolie signed the adoption papers and collected her daughter; later Jolie indicated that she and Pitt made the decision to adopt Zahara together. In December 2005 it was confirmed that Pitt was seeking to legally adopt Jolie’s two children. In support of this bid (and as part of legal requirements), Jolie took out classified advertisements in the Los Angeles paper Daily Commerce announcing the name change request, and on January 19, 2006, a judge in California approved this request. The children’s legal surnames were formally changed to “Jolie-Pitt”.
On May 27, 2006, Jolie gave birth to a daughter named Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, at night at the Cottage Medi-Clinic Hospital in Swakopmund, Namibia. Shiloh was born by a scheduled caesarean section, due to breech presentation, and Pitt was there to cut her umbilical cord. The couple’s Los Angeles obstetrician was assisted by local staff. Shiloh, according to a long-standing translation from the Bible, has come to mean “the peaceful one.”
Pitt confirmed that their newly-born daughter will have a Namibian passport while speaking to local journalists. Jolie decided to offer the first pictures of Shiloh through the distributor Getty Images herself, rather than allowing paparazzi to make these extremely valuable snapshots. People paid more than $4.1 million for the North American rights, while British magazine Hello! obtained the international rights for roughly $3.5 million; the total rights sale earned up to $10 million worldwide – the most expensive celebrity image of all time. All profits were donated to an undisclosed charity by Jolie and Pitt. On July 26, 2006 Madame Tussauds in New York unveiled a wax figure of two-month-old Shiloh; it is the first infant re-created in wax by Madame Tussauds. In August 2006, 41 percent of all 18- to 24-year-old American adults knew Shiloh’s correct first name according to an Ad Council survey.