Jean Smart Says Adoption 'Took a Lot Longer' Than Expected

Life might be a “big joy fest” for Jean Smart and family now, but the source of their joy — newly adopted 18-month-old daughter Bonnie Kathleen — was a long time in coming.

Speaking to Celebrity Baby Blog at last Wednesday’s Hollywood premiere of Youth in Revolt, the actress revealed that she and husband Richard Gilliland have been discussing adoption for “over ten years.” She explains,

“When we finally started the process, it actually took a lot longer than we expected. We thought my son [Connor] was going to be about 15 when we got the baby and he’s just turned 20.”

Fortunately, baby girl has proven to be worth the wait. “[Bonnie] is the smartest, funniest, most darling gift,” Jean raves. “And she sleeps all night!”

“She just started walking … at Christmas. She’s quite tickled with herself. She’s been saying ‘daddy’ a lot. I don’t get ‘mama’ very much yet. But daddy is just like, ‘Daddy!'”

Named after Jean’s sister-in-law and mom, respectively, Bonnie has fans everywhere! “My son is smitten with her, my husband is absolutely besotted with her,” Jean, 58, notes. “[Even] she and the dog love each other.”

There were anxious moments while they were waiting to be matched with a child, however. “The day we got the big envelope with the picture was very exciting and very nerve-wracking,” she says. “Then you have 24 hours or something to say yes or no.”

Jean, Richard and Connor huddled together on the front porch, to open the envelope together as a family. “[We] said, ‘Okay, here it goes!'” she recalls. “And we went, ‘Oh my God! She’s so beautiful!'”

Six weeks later, they made the trip to China and eight weeks later Bonnie came home — although she didn’t stay home for long! Jean says that baby girl has been to Seattle to visit with Jean’s family, as well as to Texas at Thanksgiving.

“The poor little thing has traveled a lot since we got her, and she’s a trooper. She just loves traveling. She adapts to everything, big crowds. She’d be fine right here [at the premiere]. She’d be absolutely fine.”

— Missy with reporting by Jessica Wedemeyer

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