Tracey Neale, Set for the Long Haul of Motherhood

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Any day now, Tracey Neale is going to briefly disappear from the airwaves, and now we know why: WUSA's nightly anchor is adopting two children from Ethiopia.

"I'm waiting for the phone call," Neale told us. "I've been wanting to do this since I was 5 years old. It's a dream of mine."

After more than a year working with a private adoption agency, Neale went public with her plan Sunday night at the Rammys, the annual awards for local chefs and restaurants (check out the winners in tomorrow's Food section). Neale, glam in black feathers, was introduced by WTTG (Channel 5) meteorologist Sue Palka, who proudly told 1,600 guests that her close friend is about to bring home two kids.

Neale first tried to adopt an African child six years ago, after reporting about the AIDS crisis on the continent. The baby died, and Neale founded Veronica's Story -- a foundation to help orphans and children with the disease -- and quietly continued to research adoption. Now, as a 40-year-old single mom-to-be, she's requested young siblings (ideally a brother and sister, who might otherwise be separated) and says she's as nervous as "any expectant mother."

Plans for maternity leave are up in the air, and she's still trying to decide if she'll bring a WUSA crew to Ethiopia when she picks up her kids. One thing she knows for sure. As a first-time mom, she's going to need an experienced nanny. "I'm already looking," she said.

Starbucks Foe Brews Up a Controversy

Performance artist-activist Reverend Billy delivered a shocker on the final night of AFI's Silverdocs when he proclaimed from the stage that Starbucks had yanked its sponsorship of the film festival because of his involvement. The anti-consumerism provocateur (real name: Bill Talen) has lashed out at the chain's labor and purchasing practices (sample lyric: "Don't take slavery in my coffee / We like Fair Trade, it's so tasty"), and he declared Sunday that Silverdocs had bravely chosen his new documentary ("What Would Jesus Buy?") over Starbucks's bucks.

Really? Not quite, festival reps told us. Instead, when the chain learned Silverdocs would be showcasing Talen (who has staged stunt exorcisms in its stores), it simply asked to have its logos removed from the festival -- "but they gave us our sponsorship money," about $5,000.


· Born: Henry Daniel Moder to actress Julia Roberts, 39, and husband Danny Moder, 38, yesterday in Los Angeles. Henry joins the couple's 2-year-old twins, Hazel and Phinnaeus.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Sen. John Cornyn and his wife, Sandy, loading up on Amstel Light and wine at the Pentagon City Costco Friday afternoon, the Texas Republican wearing -- whoo hoo! -- a Hawaiian print shirt. What was the occasion? Just a rare summer weekend in D.C., said his rep.

· Lynda Bird Johnson Robb and one of her daughters laughing through the ribald "The Witches of Eastwick" at Signature Theatre in Arlington Sunday afternoon. The former Va. first lady wore a very classic white sweater and is apparently a series subscriber.

· Former WH press secretary Scott McClellan squeezing into one of those Southwest seats on a BWI-St. Louis flight yesterday. Must be a drag after the years on Air Force One.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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