After a long battle with brain cancer, Senator John McCain passed away on August 25, 2018, leaving behind a large family of 7 children. Just one day prior to his death, on August 24, 2018, McCain revealed that he decided to no longer be treated for the disease and just live out his final days in peace, according to The NY Times. With this announcement, his family released the following statement to the press, “Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: He had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”
McCain was first diagnosed with the disease in July 2017. His family reportedly gathered at his Arizona ranch, to spend some of McCain’s last days together. According to CNN, Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, commented that the McCain family has been an amazing support system for the patriarch through his journey. Prior to McCain’s death, Graham said that the “love provided by Meghan and the McCain children to their father has been comforting to witness.” One of the children who had been at McCain’s side is youngest daughter, Bridget. Get to know more about Bridget and her family life below.
1. The McCains Adopted Bridget From Bangladesh
Cindy McCain and husband John adopted young Bridget from an orphanage in Bangladesh. According to Telegraph, Bridget was adopted from the Sisters of Charity of Mother Teresa Children’s Home, where nuns and foreign workers care for the children. On the walls, murals are painted with Christian themes.
As for why many of the kids at Sisters of Charity of Mother Teresa Children’s Home end up there, Telegraph listed a couple of the reasons. It’s possible that the child’s parents are not married or that they are ashamed of their baby, as many of the children at the home are handicapped. If the children at the home are not adopted by the age of four, they are sent to live at other orphanages.
When it came to the decision to adopt Bridget, John McCain told Dad Mag that it was really his wife, Cindy, who made the decision. He explained, “It was primarily my wife’s Cindy’s idea. She was in Bangladesh and she and some of the medical personnel visited Mother Theresa’s orphanage to try and help the children there. There were two little baby girls there. One had a heart problem the other a severe cleft palate. Cindy was very concerned about their ability to survive and their need for medical treatment, so she decided to bring them here for medical treatment. She fell in love with both of them. We decided to adopt Bridget. Two close friends of ours, adopted Mickey, the other child.” John said he had no idea about the adoption until Cindy arrived with his new daughter.
2. John McCain Battled Racism Against His Daughter Over the Years
As a man in the public eye, John McCain’s family was scrutinized and he had several bouts with racism over his adopted daughter, which he battled. During his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination, issues about Bridget were brought up in South Carolina, according to Dad Mag. John McCain revealed that, “There were some pretty vile and hurtful things said during the South Carolina primary. It’s a really nasty side of politics. We tried to ignore it and I think we shielded her from it. It’s just unfortunate that that sort of thing still exists As you know she’s Bengali, and very dark skinned. A lot of phone calls were made by people who said we should be very ashamed about her, about the color of her skin.”
According to The Nation, George W. Bush strategist, Karl Rove, actually asked voters, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain … if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?”
Senator John McCain told Dad Mag, “Thousands and thousands of calls from people to voters saying “You know the McCains have a black baby” I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those … Getting angry doesn’t serve any useful purpose. But the calls increased my zeal for winning.”
3. Bridget Was on the Presidential Campaign Trail With Her Dad in 2000
When John McCain was on his presidential campaign trail in 2000, along with his wife, Bridget joined them on the trail. But, in an interview with Scholastic, Bridget said that she missed her friends a great deal when she was traveling with her parents for the campaign. She also said that, “I didn’t understand as well what was going on because I was only in the second grade.”
During a later campaign, Bridget was a teenager and opted to stay back at the family’s home, attending private school in Phoenix, Arizona. There, she played basketball and volleyball. She also hung out with her friends a lot.
Though Bridget did not join her father for some of his campaigning, she said she remained very supportive. When he was running for President, she told Scholastic, “My Dad has proven himself to be capable to be the president. If he wins, he will be great at it!”
4. Bridget Said Her Dad Always Put His Family First
Bridget McCain has said that her father always put his family first and she has always enjoyed spending time with her family as well. In an interview with Scholastic, Bridget said, “My Dad’s best achievement is being a dad and also running for president at the same time. He always puts family first!” When asked about his daughter, Bridget, according to Dad Mag, John McCain gushed that, “She has enriched our lives. She’s a wonderful child, a complete part of our family and we love her.”
McCain has seven children total and several are from his first marriage, to Carol Shepp. When talking about how close he is with all his kids, McCain said that, “I had three children by a previous marriage. My first wife had two children from a previous marriage and I adopted them. We had a child together, a girl. The two boys are married and have children. We’re all very close. We get together once a year at least.”
And, though McCain greatly enjoyed campaigning for office, he said that he only had one regret. He admitted to Dad Mag that, “My one regret about the Presidential campaign was that it took me away from my children. That was the only regret I had.”
5. When Bridget Was Born She Had a Cleft Palette
Sister Shuporna was the nun who looked after Bridget McCain when she was born with a cleft palette. Bridget was jut 10 weeks old when she was discovered by Mom, Cindy McCain.
According to The Huffington Post, in 1999, Cindy McCain talked about when she first came to meet her daughter, Bridget. She relayed the beginning of the adoption as this: “I was working in Dhaka, and a friend of mine from Arizona had said to me, Look, while you’re there, do me a favor. Mother Teresa has an orphanage in Dhaka. Would you mind seeing if they need any help? And I said, Sure. We finally found the orphanage, and we saw 150 newborns on one floor. And a lot of them were sick. And the nuns said, [This little girl with a cleft palate]—can’t you take her and get her medical help? And I thought, well, sure I can, I can do that.” Fortunately for Bridget, the McCains were able to take her in as their family and get her the medical attention she needed.
In addition to having a cleft palette, Bridget had other medical issues as well. Cindy McCain told The Sunday Mail that when she first saw her daughter, “She had a terrible cleft palate. She had problems with her feet. She had problems with her hands. She had all kinds of problems.”