By Michelle Tauber Jennifer Wulff
July 18, 2005 12:00 PM

For weeks rumors have been flying that Angelina Jolie is pregnant, Brad Pitt is the dad-to-be, and the overjoyed couple—along with Jolie’s 3-year-old son Maddox—are this close to setting up house as one great big happy family. As it turns out, the talk wasn’t all bunk: Once again Jolie is with child, having confirmed to People that she is finalizing her second adoption. As of July 6, the actress and United Nations activist was expected to have officially signed papers and obtained a passport stamp for a relatively newborn Ethiopian girl who was orphaned by AIDS. “Her name is Zahara,” Jolie told People exclusively. The actress is keeping mum about many of the details concerning her new baby daughter—whose full name is Zahara Marley Jolie—but notes that she and Zahara’s big brother are thrilled. “Maddox and I,” she says, “are very happy to have a new addition to our family.”

The news came as little surprise to Jolie’s close friends, with whom she has frequently shared her desire to adopt again following Maddox’s arrival from Cambodia in 2002. “Angie’s over the moon,” says a source close to Jolie, who was spotted shopping in the newborn department at London’s Harrods department store just a few hours after returning to England from Ethiopia on June 30. “It’s a dream come true. She’s always wanted to extend her family.” And Maddox? “He’s excited to have a new sister,” says the source.

As for the other fella in Jolie’s life, he was by her side during the actress’s most recent trip to Ethiopia on June 28. But if Pitt was clearly playing the role of supportive partner, don’t call him Dad just yet. The adoption “has nothing to do with [Jolie’s] relationship with Brad Pitt,” says the insider. “People are going to try to say it’s about their relationship. It’s not. Angelina’s adopting as a single mother, and she wants that emphasized.”

Still, arriving with Maddox in tow in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Jolie, 30, and Pitt, 41, “looked like a family who had come here on holiday,” says a source at the Sheraton in Addis Ababa, where the group stayed during their two-day trip. On June 30, the couple visited impoverished areas of the city with Family Health International’s Francesca Stuer, who observes that this trip was notably lower profile than Pitt’s prior visit to Ethiopia with the charity group DATA in April. “I think this was very much a private, personal visit for them,” she says.

Both stars have expressed a personal connection to the region, with Jolie long championing the plight of African refugees through her U.N. work “Somebody told me if you are going to adopt an orphan, you should adopt them from a country you love because that’s the only history you are going to be able to share with them—that’s their past,” Jolie told People in 2003. The actress, who first visited Ethiopia early this year, was especially moved by the situation of the estimated 4 million children orphaned in that country as a result of AIDS, famine and disease.

During two subsequent trips to Ethiopia, which included visits to an orphanage, she began the process of adopting Zahara. Jolie “has a hunger about the world and helping people,” says a source. “The whole world is important to Angie, but she’s very attached to Africa as a continent. Africa is a country of survivors. She identifies.”

Although she starts filming The Good Shepherd with Matt Damon in August, Jolie—who jetted to France on July 4 with Pitt—will likely bring Zahara to the set, where someone who’s an old hand at hanging out on film sets will likely look over her. No, not Brad—”Mad,” as his mom calls him, who is almost as excited as Jolie about his new baby sister. “He’ll have someone to love and play with and protect,” says the source. “It’s great news.”

Michelle Tauber and Jennifer Wulff. Todd Gold in Los Angeles, Anthony Mitchell in Addis Ababa, and Fernanda Santos in New York City