Actor Daniel Durant has recently finished his time on “Dancing With the Stars.” The Deaf actor, known for his performance in Academy Award-winning film “CODA,” had an incredible run on the dancing competition series, moving judges and viewers to tears. The 32-year-old has also opened up about his upbringing, which began with adoption.
Before his rise to fame, starring in films and performing on stage, Daniel Durant was adopted as a baby and raised by his two moms in Duluth, Minnesota. His birth mother, who was also Deaf, struggled with drug abuse. His birth father struggled with alcohol addiction. According to Daniel, his birth mother left him at a friend’s house as a baby and never returned. His paternal aunt, Lori Durant, adopted him when he was just 18 months old. She later married Mary Engels, and the three became a family.
Daniel Durant opened up about his adoption story during one of the rehearsal sessions of “Dancing with the Stars.” He shared the story of finally meeting his birth mother after he graduated from high school. Just a few short years after they finally reconnected, she died of cancer.
Daniel has struggled with the loss and has expressed regret over not having spent more time with his birth mother, stating, “It messes me up to this day.”
Daniel became emotional as he explained this struggle to his dance partner, Britt Stewart. As much as he wished he “could save her or do something,” Daniel went on to explain that he has come to accept it. He also feels grateful to have met his birth mother before her death.
Lessons in Adoption from Daniel Durant
Daniel Durant’s adoption story can serve as an inspiration – and a powerful lesson – for those within the adoption community. His regrets capture what adopted children might feel if their adoption is a closed one. Open adoption is a more common practice today.
Open adoption can look different for every family, but the common circumstance is that there is an ongoing relationship between birth and adoptive families. This has been proven to be a positive choice for all involved in the adoption triad. An estimated 95 percent of adopted children report having positive feelings about their open adoption arrangement. In general, open adoption allows the child to know more about their identity and background, as well as have the opportunity to know both families.
There are also many benefits for birth parents who choose open adoption. With open adoption, the finalization of adoption does not mean “goodbye forever.” It is, in fact, only the beginning of the next chapter. This gives many expectant/birth parents peace of mind. With an open adoption, birth mothers know that they may contact their child’s adoptive family as needed.
For adoptive parents, an open or semi-open adoption helps keep them connected with their child’s background. This offers a guide regarding culture, ethnicity, race, and medical history. Knowledge is power, and an open or semi-open adoption can give adoptive parents the tools they need as they raise their child.
Daniel Durant’s Life of Success
Despite his short amount of time with his birth mother, Daniel Durant has led a life full of love and opportunity—much of which, came with the help of his loving adoptive parents. He has had a successful career in Hollywood, despite his disability. This is telling of his upbringing. His adoptive family provided him with a safe and loving environment, which undoubtedly helped foster his talents as an actor and performer.
During the “Tamron Hall Show,” Daniel took a moment to show appreciation for his adoptive moms.
“I’m so thankful to them, they adopted me…I got to escape the situation and I’m so thankful to my mom,” he explained using American Sign Language (ASL).
In return, the show aired a pre-recorded clip from his moms, who said to their son:
“Daniel, know that we continue to be amazed at your passion and your courage to show the world that being Deaf does not define who you are or limit what you can accomplish.”
Daniel’s work in “CODA” has been a game changer for the Deaf community. With a story based in Gloucester, Massachusetts, “CODA” is known as the first motion picture starring a predominantly Deaf cast to win at the Oscars. The film won several awards, including Best Picture.
Daniel attended the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 94th Academy Awards with his adoptive moms, Lori and Mary. It is clear the three share an unbreakable bond, and Daniel’s moms have true, unconditional love for their son.
If you would like to learn more about adoption, contact Adoptions With Love today. Whether you are looking to grow your family or considering placing your child for adoption, we can help guide you. Call us at 800-722-7731 or contact us online.