Friday, April 3, 2009

Madonna Shunned in Malawi

Madonna and Angelina Jolie didn't invent international adoption, but they have made the trend very popular. Yesterday, Madonna was stopped by a judge from adopting a little girl from an orphanage in Malawi. If she were allowed to adopt the little girl this would have been the second African child for Madonna. The judge denied Madonna's request because there was no direct proof that the child did not have a good quality of life in Malawi. The argument was if the child's life was endangered or threatened, then there would be a reason to approve the adoption which wasn't the case. Further, she was denied based on residency issues because the law requires that adoptive parents should have lived in Malawi for at least 18 months.

Long before the trend became popular, I also fancied the idea and wanted to adopt a little girl from Brazil. Although I have always advocated for adoption, I found it worthwhile to actually step back and reveiw my motive. If I was interested in giving a child the best quality of life, then why did it matter where the child came from? I might as well adopt from the neighborhood orphanage or take a drive down to Memphis or Mississippi. There simply is no reason to go south of the continent in search of that special child from Brazil whose life I could improve. But we all know that Gisele Bundchen is from Brazil.

Importing children from different countries to give them a good quality of life is quite humble and definitely praise-worthy. But when the number of children in the United States foster care system wiating for stable homes is considered, then the international adoption shindig loses its flavor. More so, when it's celebrities in the picture, the motives become even more questionable because the lines between humane effort and publicity stunt become blurred. Sure, some African and Asian children do need to be adopted but shouldn't charity begin at home?

Photograph courtesy of The New York Times

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