With news that Charlize Theron has adopted a child despite having been single for several years, the spotlight has been thrown onto the adoption process and the changes in the system over recent years, reports Reuters.

The Oscar-winning actress' spokesperson announced the news on Wednesday (March 14, 2012), saying, "Charlize Theron has adopted a child. She is the proud mom of a healthy baby boy named Jackson" and the actress has previously spoken of her desire to have a child without having to tie the knot. Though a millionaire actress, Theron raising her child as a single parent would not have been possible even as recently as in the 1970's, when it was illegal in several states in the U.S. Nowadays, around 5 per cent of adoptions are to single parents. Numerous high profile celebrities, including Madonna and Angelina Jolie have gone down the route of international adoption, with is a private legal matter between the prospective parent and a foreign court. Though no further details of Charlize's adoption have become available - other than the child is a boy named Jackson - speculation has suggested he is African American.

Back in April 2010, Theron's fellow Hollywood star Sandra Bullock adopted Louis Bardo from New Orleans while she was divorcing Jesse James - now raising the child as a single mother.