One thing Angelina Jolie has realized since becoming a mom to Maddox, 4, and Zahara, 9 months is that she wants to adopt again.
“I’m planning on it,” Jolie told PEOPLE at the first annual Worldwide Orphans Foundation benefit Oct. 24 in Manhattan.
“Most of the night I just thought about how quickly I want to adopt again. It’s a very special thing. There’s something about making a choice, waking up and traveling somewhere and finding your family.”
So what corner of the globe will Jolie adopt from next? “There are so many wonderful places. There are many parts of Asia, Africa, South America, so sooner or later I’ll end up everywhere, I’m sure.”
At the gala event, which Jolie attended with brother James Haven (beau Brad Pitt was in Winnipeg filming), the actress announced she is partnering with Dr. Jane Aronson, the foundation’s founder, to build a pediatric AIDS center in Ethiopia, where Zahara was born.
“I personally am not willing to wait any longer for action by the United States or any government while children are suffering and dying,” she told the crowd.
Jolie has also helped create a UN Millennium Village in Cambodia. Earlier this year, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, who has worked extensively with the actress, traveled to Maddox’s homeland to help set up the village, which will serve 5,000 people in the area.
Tears welled up in the star’s eyes when she told PEOPLE how her daughter survived in an Ethiopian orphanage when others did not. “I know some of the kids that were next to my daughter; two of them passed away, with symptoms very similar to hers. I really do believe that if I didn’t get her out at that time, that she wouldn’t be here. She was days away.”
Jolie also credits Aronson, her children’s pediatrician, with saving her daughter’s life. “It was really tough. You need this wonderful, calm doctor who tells you everything is going to be okay,” she said.
In fact, Jolie and Aronson, who has two children from Vietnam and Ethiopia, have struck up a close relationship.
“I am incredibly lucky to have such a good friend,” Aronson said. “She’s fun. She’s sweet. She’s interested. She’s sincere. We had a lot of playdates this summer. We just sent a whole parcel of artwork to Maddox from the kids because the kids miss him.”
Is Maddox old enough to understand what adoption is all about? “We’ve always addressed it,” Jolie says. “I say, ‘You’re from Asia, you’re from Cambodia. Asia is not Mommy’s continent, it’s your continent.’ He jokes about how his continent is bigger. . . . He knows where Zahara came from. It’s pretty amazing.”