You would have to be living with your head in the sand not to know that Madonna and her three children Lourdes, Rocco and David Banda are touring Malawi this week, with the hope of adopting a second child, Mercy James.
Appearing in court yesterday in the capital Lilongwe, Madonna is apparently applying for an 18-month ‘interim adoption’ of the orphaned girl, who she first met in the Kodanani Children’s village in 2006, the year she adopted David Banda. The judge will announce his decision on Friday.
Unsurprisingly, the star’s decision to adopt another child from the impoverished former war-zone has seen an explosion of debate and controversy. A non-governmental coalition in Malawi met on Monday to condemn the singer’s actions as ‘behaving like a bully’ – suggesting that Madonna has manipulated the Malawian authorities with her status and wealth. They appealed to Madonna that she use her power and influence to assist Mercy in Malawi, rather than take her to the States.
Dominic Nutt, of Save The Children UK has also spoken out, arguing that ‘ the best place for a child is in his or her family, in their home community. Most children in orphanages have one parent still living or have an extended family’. He urged celebrities intent on cross-country adoption to follow the internationally agreed procedures which are designed to protect the child.
Yet others have praised Madonna’s effort – with 143 million orphans in the world, many believe Madonna is both saving children from a life of deprivation and hardship, and in turn encouraging others to consider adoption. She herself has refused to comment – apart from to say that ‘it’s none of their business’.
The Madonna camp will probably be very relieved to learn then that Angelina Jolie has this week revealed her plans to adopt her seventh child, from India. Following an hour long visit to an orphanage in the city of Pune with actor Brad Pitt in 2006, Angelina said she plans to adopt an Indian orphan ’soon’.
Irrespective of the ‘right’s and ‘wrongs’ of cross-country adoption, both Angelina and Madonna have put the issue of adoption firmly back on the agenda – people are calling for more stringent guidelines and regulations in international adoption cases, as well as an overhaul of the ‘outdated’ British system. Whether or not adoption is in the children’s best interest, both women are raising awareness of the impact poverty, war and political instability has on the lives of children.
What do you think about Madonna and Angelina’s plans to adopt children from overseas – do you think they would be better off lending their support to the nation as a whole, or are they providing children with opportunities and privileges they would otherwise never have had?