When Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness adopted a baby boy from a rural American family – who was born almost 20 years ago to the day amid tragic circumstances – they knew they faced a lifelong, incredibly emotional journey.
And none more so than the past two years, after their son Oscar turned 18 and chose to reunite with his birth family.
Woman's Day has exclusively uncovered a heart-melting picture of the moment Oscar was introduced to his biological sisters Olivia and Nyomi Lanham, who have been raised by their birth mother Amber Lanham's sister Rochelle in the US midwestern town of Vinton, Iowa.
In a caption accompanying an Instagram post of the foursome's first family photo in February 2018, Oscar touchingly penned a tribute to his aunt and sisters.
"Today has undoubtedly been the most important day of my life," he wrote.
"I finally got to meet my biological family. Although I was only in Iowa for half a day, I felt that I got to know each of you personally.
"You are some of the kindest people I've ever met, and I promise I'm not just saying that."
Olivia responded, "I feel like I've known you my whole life. Love you forever and always little brother."
Her message also appeared to confirm that Hugh, 51, Deborra-lee, 64, and Oscar's younger sister Ava, 14, were also there for the special occasion.
"You and your family are very kind and accepting humans that I hope to get to know better," she wrote.
Oscar's mum Amber gave birth to him in California in 2000.
She didn't introduce him to her family before he was adopted, nor reveal the infant's birth father.
Amber, 28, died by suicide in 2005, one year after speaking out to an American magazine.
"The only time I see my son is when he's photographed with Hugh in magazines," she said.
In 2016, Oscar's grandfather Thomas Lanham lamented to the National Enquirer that he "didn't get to see Oscar as a baby. I would still love to see him before it's too late for me... I'm an old man, I'm 78. I'm worn out."
Sadly, Thomas passed away after a short illness just before Christmas in 2018 without fulfilling his dying wish to see his grandson, despite Oscar visiting his sisters just 11 months before.
Oscar revealed his pain over losing the grandfather he never met in an emotional Instagram post, accompanied by an image of his newspaper obituary, saying, "My biological grandfather who passed away last Saturday I just want to say that I'm sorry I never got to meet you. I know I was never on your list of people to meet but nonetheless, I love you. Rest in peace."
His sister Nyomi responded in the comments, "Grandpa would have loved to meet you Oscar. You're part of the family no matter what!"
According to an insider close to Hugh and Deb, they couldn't be prouder of their eldest child, who graduated the prestigious New York Ross School last year and has since begun university.
"He's growing into a young man who has courage in his convictions and has faced and overcome emotional situations that most people couldn't even imagine," says a source.
"And for that, they are very grateful. He's a happy and passionate young adult who despite being adopted and growing up as celebrity offspring is kind, popular with his friends, and well adjusted. It's everything Hugh and Deb had ever hoped for Oscar."
With Oscar hitting adulthood and exploring the world, sources say Hugh has become even closer with his teenage daughter Ava, who was also adopted as a baby in 2005.
"They're in lockdown together in New York and it's making their father-daughter bond even tighter," says a source.
"Hugh has been doing a lot of the home schooling, and Ava has followed in his footsteps and has that dramatic edge to her. They spend hours making up dances and singing together.
"Hugh and Deb are making the most of being thrown together in these circumstances with their daughter because like any mum and dad, they know it won't be long until she becomes independent like Oscar."
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