Kristin Chenoweth, Adopted as a Child, Urges Others to Adopt in U.S.

Kristin Chenoweth has built her career on hitting high notes and making people laugh, but now the 41-year-old is using her star-studded status to bring awareness to a cause very near and dear to her heart: adoption.

And while many entertainment types adopt children from overseas (we're talking about you Brangelina), Chenoweth, an adoptee herself, is dedicated to reminding everyone that there is an overwhelming number of American children that are also in need desperate need of a loving home.

“The average age of a child waiting for adoption is nine, and this is in America. While I appreciate so many people going abroad and adopting, and I understand – it’s like wanting a new puppy – there are so many children here that just need the unconditional love and support of a parent,” Chenoweth, who recently partnered with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to help raise awareness on the issue, told Pop Tarts. “Here in America, we still have a lot of work to do. It's alright to go abroad, but in this country, we have people that need to be fed, people that need to be clothed, and people that need to be loved. And that means a lot.”

In Hollywood circles at least, it seems most adoptive parents adopt children from birth or a very young age – but Chenoweth says this doesn’t always have to be the case.

“There’s a misconception that you must adopt a child at birth, but there are kids that are 17 that just need some love and self-esteem,” she said.

Speaking of which, the stage and screen starlet, fresh from her kissing, er, hosting duties during last Sunday’s Tony awards, took time out on Monday to bring a little extra love into the lives of several foster kids at her Broadway theater in Manhattan,  where she also launched the Foundation’s annual marquee program – Father’s Day Frosty Weekend.

Chenoweth is encouraging everyone to support the campaign this Father’s Day weekend by treating themselves (and escaping the summer wrath!) with a Frosty from Wendy’s, or cyber-surfing to and sending a personalized e-card. Fifty cents from each Frosty or e-card purchased will be donated to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, to be put toward finding a home for over 123,000 young Americans awaiting adoption.

“I was in shock when I heard that there are 123,000 kids that are in the foster care system in our country.  I really want to drive the point home that even if you don’t think that you have tons of money, and all these other ‘things’ to give a child, all a child really needs is love, care and a mentor. Someone to listen to them and to be there,” Chenoweth said. “You don’t have to be a wealthy person – you can be wealthy in your spirit.  These kids just want to be loved, and that’s what really touches my heart.”

Chenoweth speaks from experience, and credits two special people for her ongoing success.

“It always goes back to my parents who adopted me, who gave me unconditional love and self-esteem,” Chenoweth said. “I don’t think I’d be where I am without them.”