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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 10/13/2006

Madonna Not Doing Adoption Process Any Favors

By Liz Kelly

Madonna visits an orphanage in Malawi. (AP Photo/Shavawn Rissman)

As reported in the Morning Mix, Madonna has gained custody of a one-year-old Malawi boy who she plans to adopt. Admittedly, it is a noble thing she's done: Madge is potentially giving this child a far better life than he could have lived had she not intervened and she's raising awareness about international adoptions. Right?

I'm not so sure.

First there is the argument that Madonna's sudden trip to Africa and adoption is not much more than a publicity stunt in a world that has increasingly come to expect stars to pose as humanitarians. I'd like to dismiss this right now. No matter the motivation, Madonna donated $3 million to Malawian charities and her presence there has given the large number of orphans (approximately 800,000) some much-needed attention.

What does distress me is that Madonna was able to leave this country with a child after only a week. In addition, Malawi law prohibits non-residents from adopting children. From the U.S. State Department Web site:

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Adoptive parents must be resident in Malawi to adopt.

TIME FRAME: Malawian law requires a lengthy pre-adoption foster care period (at least two years).

Both of the above regulations, however, were bent for Madonna. So her African adoption may have raised awareness, but will only serve as a false hope to other adoptive parents who will be frustrated in their own attempt to explore adoption in Malawi and will eventually face the more typical, stressful, touch-and-go year or so process more common to international adoption.

Finally, this child's father is still very much alive (the mother died in childbirth) and, according to news reports, only surrendered his child to the care of an orphanage because of extreme poverty. In such a case, is adoption the best course? Or could Madonna have perhaps made it possible for this man to regain custody of his own son?

Am I off the mark here? What do you think?

By Liz Kelly  | October 13, 2006; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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I agree, if the father is still alive, Madonna should have made is possible for the father to regain custody - set up a trust fund or something. She could have adopted a child whose parents were both deceased. It just doesn't seem right.

Posted by: PLS | October 13, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

ick...i feel all ookey inside from this stunt. you are right. it wouldn't even have cost madonna all that much to support this man and his son. throw a couple thousand dollars his way, and the man gets to raise his own child! how dare she take the boy away! how self-serving does she have to be? yuck!

Posted by: wats | October 13, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

There used to be another name for rich white Americans who bought people from Africa...

Posted by: byoolin | October 13, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

PLS said "I agree, if the father is still alive, Madonna should have made is possible for the father to regain custody - set up a trust fund or something. She could have adopted a child whose parents were both deceased. It just doesn't seem right."

Agreed. While the intentions were good, the end result is heartbreaking. Too often money is thrown at a problem. Truly examining any complicated situation is difficult, but not without its rewards. In Madonna's defense, I believe(and hope) she will offer visitation rights to the father.

Posted by: Zamora | October 13, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

i completely agree. given all the details we've heard--that the cash she gave came with a Kabbalah string attached, that she could have supported the child in other ways, that the rules were broken for yet another celebrity--it reeks of another publicity stunt for the egotistical singer. poor kid, a few thousand dollars for the next several years would have been nothing to her but would have kept the family together. i'm sure this father was fed all sorts of baloney and made to believe this was the only option.

Posted by: gp | October 13, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

This action of M reeks. Completely. First, this 'adoption' seems much too quick, and I have the feeling it was not thought through-- and CERTAINLY not considering the child's best interest. Picking a child from a list? Getting national laws waived? Knowing the child's father is still living and in extreme poverty??
Secondly, and for myself, the more important questions-- What's up with M and this so-called "kabbalah?" Her actions are so far from Jewish thought and traditions-- tzdekah (righteous giving) in *any* stream of Judaism, is done *without* strings attached, and best done humbly, privately. M likes to study kabbalah, fine. But she should study the basics first, and if she has done that, it certainly doesn't show in her actions.
She needs to be *herself* for awhile first before trying to become A. Jolie. I don't think she has any sort of anchor in her life right now.

Posted by: dahozho | October 13, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the rules should not be broken for a celebrity, and that Madonna should not have adopted this baby knowing that his father is still alive, but to suggest she should support the father to raise his son is a bit naive. Is she going to support every baby in an orphanage who's parents are living in poverty? In many countries, babies are given up by parents because they can't support them, not because the parents are deceased.

Posted by: JBP | October 13, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Above all else, this is about a child. The father made a decision, and no one should fault it or question it. It's his call.

Speaking as an adoptive parent, I applaud Madonna's decision -- it is not an easy one. Since she is already a parent, I would hope she didn't make it lightly.

While I could object to the process being skirted for her, ultimately if the child and his new family wins, who are we to judge? Would you prefer that this particular child starve while waiting for his new and better life to begin?

Adoption is not "buying" children, and I would encourage anyone who thinks so to investigate the adoption process further.

Lots of kids need homes -- perhaps yours?

Posted by: Tim | October 13, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I am shocked the US law would allow an adoption of a child whose parent is still very much alive. It seems there must be a legal barrier unless extensive papers have been signed, though perhaps through sending the child to the orphanage those barriers were released. Regardless--it's sad to think someone like M who already has everything anyone could want would do something so selfish disguised as something humanitarian.

Posted by: esd | October 13, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

So glad M is giving money where it's needed, nothing bad to say about that.

But rule-bending is horrendous and leads to all sorts of abuses - did she even have a basic home study? People who get dogs from the pound have to have more scrutiny.

I've thought a lot about this as my daughter will grow up with some similar quetsions, but my answers will be much better than Madonna's ... this child will end up being a typical American kid (or English, I guess since she lives there now) albeit rich as Midas. So there will be a terrible period where he examines his own history and asks - why didn't my parents want me? And when the answer is - they did, your father couldn't afford you - and he's living with complete luxury everywhere he looks and can't find his birth father or learns he died of starvation... well, that is going to be one messed up child. It's just not fair to him.

Yes, many people could be in this situation but to me it's a different story when she *could* easily support that family for the rest of their lives. Sure she can't help everyone, but that is going to be a hard sell to the child growing up without his dad and hearing that story.

Posted by: adoptive mom | October 13, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

One would have to presume that the father and the son want more than anything to be together, and to seperate under those circumstances was agonizing. She could have easily helped both of them by first helping them to reunite. I for one would rather live in relative poverty with my father than in luxury with a stranger.

Posted by: Rob | October 13, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

This deal stinks of ego. I don't think it's right that the rules were bent for her, a celeb. I don't like the idea that she adopted a baby who's dad is still alive. If, for some reason, she was attracted to this one particular baby, I do think she could have helped him in another way. Allowing him to be raised with his father. I am sure his father loves him very much- so much that he's happy that the baby is going to have a better life.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

i think it's horrible that anyone is even questionning madonna's motives or adoption procedures. what matters is that this child now has a great shot and loving new mother. plus, the father was thrilled that his son was selected.
and why fault madonna for not helping the father regain custody of his son? that's not her job. she did/is doing her part and she's now forever linked to that country. great stuff in my book.

Posted by: christine | October 13, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Madonna and Guy are to be commended for stepping up and trying to help others. Granted, it may give some good publicity as well, but the act itself is still good.

If she wants to give money and include a kabbalah string, that is entirely her right. There have and are plenty of orphanages around the world with a religious string attached, this would be no different.

Also, the father of the boy has been quoted as saying that he is extremely pleased with the adoption, and glad to know his child will have a better life. Don't know if these quotes are coerced or not, I choose to take them on face value. I have also seen an article about this (I believe an AP story) that said that M and G plan to make sure this boy knows where he is from, including taking him back to visit from time to time. I hope that these visits also will include trips to see his birth father. This is more than most kids get after they've been adopted to foreign parents.

Posted by: Tiff | October 13, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it amazes me that the Malawi govt. would make special allowances for Madonna.
What a shocker! The little boy she adopted hit the lottery - whatever life he has as Madonna's adopted child will be far better than the one he had. Hey, he even may write a "Mommy Dearest" book 20 years from now. More power to him, and to Madonna for walking the walk.

Posted by: Diahni | October 13, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't think she should have supported the child and his father.

Maybe set up a foundation to assist the poor with education and industry, work with groups to show the level of poverty, get the IMF to forgive the death the country owes something along those lines because ultimately it is up to the Malawi government and the people to get out of poverty and build an economy. Being able to back them up in this pursuit would be doing your part as a human being.

Not the adoption of this child. I don't think this adoption, which happened in the blink of an eye helps. What happens to the other orphans? One little baby got out of poverty. Is the boy going to grow up, get educated and return to Malawi to bring about a change? Is she going to teach him about Malawi culture or is he British from here on out? How does this adoption bring about a change for the Malawi economy because there are other parents who want the same for their kids and if every child is adopted out what happens to the country?

She may think she's helping but this hurts Malawi and I hope it's something she's put a great amount of thought into prior to making this move.

Posted by: petal | October 13, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

This is going to make trouble for all of us "regular" people out there trying to go through the international adoption process the normal way!

It's bad enough as it is, having to justify to people why I want to parent a child from another country instead of a child from the U.S.

Posted by: in the process | October 13, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Re: Comment about lack of home visits. According to E-Online, the adoption is not final. It is an interim step:

"Madonna and the husband"--nice--"filed their papers for an interim order this morning at Lilongwe High Court, and the judge gave the ruling at 2 p.m. this afternoon," deputy registrar Thomson Ligowe told Reuters.

Per Ligowe, the interim order means that while the new parental units are free to take the boy back to Britain with them, they will be required to attend a subsequent court hearing to determine whether the adoption will be allowed to take place. The judge's ultimate ruling will be based on a report on the family by Malawi social workers.

"[Madonna] has been put on observer status to see how she will relate to the child, and people from social welfare will have to observe that," Ligowe explained. "The court will depend upon their observations to make a final decision."

According to Malawian law, the hearing must take place within two years.

Back to me: I agree that, while she is attempting to do a good thing and this boy will have an infinitely better life now (scary spoiled rotten), it is ridiculous that she was allowed to bypass the local laws. Every effort should have been made to keep the father and son together.

About the comment about supporting every baby in the orphanage, obviously no. But what about creating programs to help these families get on their collective financial feet so they can raise their children (and the orphans) within their own villages? Help those who help themselves.

Posted by: lf | October 13, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

While it is difficult to chastise anyone who reaches out to help another who is less fortunate, I feel agree with most of the posters here that say that bending the rules for a celebrity is wrong. I hope that this child has a wonderful life, but wouldn't it be great to see these rich as midas celebrities give money to start schools? I belive it is only with education that the cycle of poverty can begin to break.

Posted by: Sara | October 13, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I know a couple who were waiting to adopt a child for ten years. They now have a beautiful little boy and they adore him. I think that they are just as good parents as anyone else out there, and it sickens me that people like Madonna (and Brangelina) can adopt children so quickly and publicly. Its really sad...there are so many great parents out there...

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Criticizing Madonna for adopting a child who's father is still alive is ridiculous, in my opinion. If the child was taken away from his father because he had a drug addiction, or in prison for a violent crime, would you still be telling Madonna to support the family so we don't infringe on his parental rights? I don't think so.

A celebrity getting special treatment by the Malawi government, or any government for that matter, is entirely reprehensible. Just because she's an international celebrity doesn't mean she can get what she wants simply by showing up with photographers and papparazzi in tow.

Posted by: JK | October 13, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I think it's dreadful. The whole thing is just wrong. What's the old saying -- the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Yet another example of rich celebrities not having to abide by the rules. What the heck does Madonna know in ONE WEEK about a child from Malawi whose mother died in childbirth and whose father is alive and well? This poor child may have an affluent and comfortable lifestyle with Madonna et al, but what about his happiness -- being torn from his country, his culture, his heritage, his community, and his father to go live with a spoiled, self-centered cult member with a fake English accent and a dubious marriage and lifestyle? Why didn't Madonna, if she "cared" so much, give the father and child money so they could have a better lifestyle -- together?

Plus, I agree with the comment about what rich white Americans who bought Africans used to be called ... and the same applies to child-collector Angelina Jolie. They both need some serious therapy into why they're so needy and want to buy children that have no one else.

I think it's just wrong. There are plenty of children who really do need homes, that don't require a huge uprooting and breaking the law.

Posted by: C.A. | October 13, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Regarding adopting a child whose biological parents are still alive: that's completely normal and very common. Just look at kids adopted from the DC foster care system. Most of those kids are not orphans in the true sense because their parents are still living. They may not be able to parent, but they are living.

That said, I find the rule-bending in celebrity adoptions to be disgusting. I wonder how Madonna's home study went? How long she had to wait for immigration approvals? And to be able to adopt from a country otherwise closed to international adoption? Oy.

Posted by: Ruta | October 13, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the rule bending is awful. But, here's a new twist, and this goes to all the foriegn adoptees of celebs (maddox, etc.) Are these kids, who clearly came from (by our standards) extreme poverty going to turn into the nicole, paris, and nikki of the next generation? It's sad when it's nicole, paris, and nikki...but how much sadder will it be when it's maddox and his sister and now madonna's kid given what and where they came from. I guess I'm too cynical to believe that hollywood won't turn them into all the things I so hate about nicole, paris, and nikki.

Posted by: BB | October 13, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Normally, adopting a child (either domestic or international) takes a lot of time, extensive home studies, forms and training. Dealing with children who have experienced trauma (and this one will have) requires a major commitment, sensitivity, and again, training. All of this preparation forces the prospective parents to engage in "soul searching" in which they consider all second thoughts, third thoughts, and so on.

I have no idea how much of this Madonna and her husband have gone through, but I wonder how prepared they are for dealing with their child's trauma and for any problems down the road. Of course, they have more resources than the average adoptive parents, but they should be going into this with eyes wide open.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

You're totally on the mark. When I found out the father was alive I became disgusted with Madonna. She has the resources to see that this father and son are reunited. She'd get better press if she did that, anyway. While well-intentioned, Madonna has made a major mistake and she should correct it ASAP.

Posted by: Glen | October 13, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone is making too big of a deal out of this. Yes, the adoption was done quickly and rules probably shouldn't be broken just because someone is a celebrity, but do we really think it would have been better for this little boy to be left in the orphanage for a year just so the paperwork could go through. The longer children are in these kinds of situations, the more problems they have later in life. I would rather have the adoption go a little quicker and have him in a home where he could actually have a shot of turning out like a decent human being then in a place where he will never learn love or trust.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The impression that I have is that Madonna decided to go shopping for a child, and decided that Malawi was the most "shabby chic" place on the market. She spent a week looking around and decided that little David was the cutest one -- all she had to to was point, smile, nod and sign (the check, that is). Whatever her motivations are, which may be just fine at the personal level, the idea that famous people deserve special treatment in the legal sense, and the assumption that rich (white) people who live in Europe are better parents than poor (black) ones who live in Africa just don't sit well with me at all.

Posted by: Mary | October 13, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

It may have been with good intentions, but it still smells of a publicity stunt. Which makes me a bit sick to my stomach. AND, I totally believe she should have made it possible for the father to keep the child. She could have adopted an orphan instead.

Posted by: Dreams52 | October 13, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

WWhy did Madonna donated money to orphanage so there children will have access to education and healthcare? The orphanage becomes a boarding school for children who parents are too poor to care for or who have no parents.

She would have brought attention to the issue of extreme poverty and parents who give up their children because of poverty.

I am sure Madonna means well, but she had looked at alternatives.

Posted by: Lisa | October 13, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I am the father of a daughter adopted from another country. She is from China and her mother and I are caucasian. So this is a cross cultural, transracial adoption as well. I applaud people interested in adoption -- for the right reasons. Adoption is yet another way to form a loving family -- nothing more and certainly nothing less. It is not a social welfare policy or transfer of wealth approach to poor families/nations. It is unfortunate in this case. Those laws and regulations are almost always there to help and protect everyone involved. I don't question whether an individual can severe their parental rights (and responsibilities).

Perhaps others may see this story and wonder about whether they might be interested in being a loving, committed family with a child who needs one.

Posted by: Tom Fox | October 13, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks for the cash! Here, take this child as a token of our appreciation!"

Madonna should have had to follow whatever rules there are in Malawi for adoption, if nothing else, so her financial contribution did not look like a bribe! This sets a very bad example of what adoption is supposed to be about--finding a good home for a child that is based on knowledge of the family to which the child is going. Just because a person is rich doesn't mean he or she will be a good parent.

Posted by: KC | October 13, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

In the U.S. mothers that are still living often put there own babies up for adoption. They too often realize they are not capable to take care of the child for whatever reasons. So I do not see a problem if the father has chosen to do the same in another country. I would *assume* Madonna looked at the entire picture rather than just trying to "get that kid". Surely she knew there would be intense media scrutiny. Hopefully she will comment on the matter publicly. I do agree it would have been an even better story if she offered to help this poor father to take care of the child himself. Surely, she is in a position to do something like that better than anybody else.

Posted by: Vinny | October 13, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Right, I agree. Madonna should not be allowed to buy children to push her career. If she had wished to do something truly charitable she could have provided the child's father with the material support to raise his child. Of course, that would be less dramatic and wouldn't provide any ongoing publicity. For shame!

Posted by: duncan | October 13, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The sentiment is (probably) wonderful -- I won't pretend to know Madonna's mind -- but, like Angelina Jolie, she needs to think about the effect that her actions could have on hundreds or thousands of other orphans and prospective adoptive parents. After Jolie went shopping for a child in Russia, the courts there reacted by delaying all pending adoptions. Her selfishness and self-righteousness, expressed as a desire to cut through the red tape, produced a backlash against foreign adoptions in Russia. She helped one child at the expense of many others.

Posted by: Geoff | October 13, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Liz, that is exactly what I thought when I first read about the potential adoption. She has the ability to put that family together and to help another child, too. So sad.

Posted by: Kelli | October 13, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

At first I completely agreed with the author but after reading some of these postings I'm not so sure. I think America's love/hate relationship with celebrities has gone too far if we're now judging Madge for adopting an African child and hinting that she's a slave master. I will be adopting a child someday and I think it is so commendable that she's opening her heart and home to a child who otherwise would not have had a future. Shame on many of you who choose to question her motives and gripe and moan that the rules have been bent for her. She's a celebrity! The rules are bent for them all the time. Deal with it!! And to you same people poo-pooing all over Madge's decision, when you adopt a child in this, or any other country, or make humanitarian efforts in this or any other country, then you can open your mouth and complain. Until then, shut your mouth and feel blessed you dont live in an orphanage!!!!

Posted by: Flyygirl | October 13, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm concerned about this growing trend/celebrity fad where the latest fashion accessory on your hip is not a Prada bag, but an African child. For me, it has imperialist undertones while seemingly well intentioned. To suspend all regulations and adoption rules for the rich and famous taints the international adoption process. I applaud anyone who wants to change the world, but I'm not sure the best way to solve the world's problems is out of one's own checkbook. I'm thinking that the better way to help this child would have been to adopt the family and keep it intact. Hey Madonna, why not employ the child's father, set him up an a decent house so that he can raise all his children together?
As for those who think that this is the "opportunity of a lifetime" for the child, I'm also not so sure. Of course, his life will improve by the sheer fact that he will not be living in an orphanage, but celebrity lifestyles are not that great-ask some of the kids adopted by Phil Ramone, Joan Crawford, and Josephine Baker.

Posted by: silver sprung | October 13, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

A child is not better off with a complete stranger compared to a loving father that only wanted what was best for his child. This actually does sound like a blast from the past rich Euro's buying poor peeoples children. This is a stunt pure and simple nothing more. The only victim of this whole thing will be the child. I suspect in 20 years he will be in rehab and of course in trouble with the law that his sick monmy can buy him out off. Then we will become the victim of another rich twisted individual that thinks he can do anything to anyone just because of who his mommy is. The woman in this story is not stable and never was. She should have gone through the system to make sure she was fit to be a mother. Most entertainers in my opinion are not fit foster or adoptive parents. They do not raise their own children a paid and bought for nanny does. Just another victim of the Hollywood bile.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

EVERYTHING with Madonna is a publicity stunt. The "Like a virgin" crap of the 80s, then the "like a prayer" crap of the 90s. From no gap in her teeth to very noticeable gap and then back to no gap. Then, GAP jeans with a rapper half her age. Michigan accent, no accent, and then fake British accent. Singer, tramp, actress, mother, wife. Ah, the eternal pursuit of youth and attention. Personally, I could care less about her publicity chase, but buying a child, which is essentially what she did, is apalling. I guess she was trying to keep up with that Angelina Jolie flake. I fear after she's squeezed all the press she can out of this adoption, this child will be cast to the side to be raised by nannies. Or, maybe he'll be quietly shipped back to Malawi if he gives her any problems. He's just a innocent little pawn in the game of Madonna, Inc. He's a toy to be played with for a while and then stored with the others. Most people don't know that celebrities don't just live differently than we do. They THINK differently than we do. When millions tell you that they love you, you start to think that whatever you do -- no matter how selfish or rediculous -- is fantastic and perfect. Celebrities at their apex of fame start to think of themselves on par with God, and that's dangerous when the lives and happiness of little angels are in play.

Posted by: Bryan | October 13, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I can understand the disgust of other people when they find that the childs father is still alive. But you know what, jounalism does not always tell the whole truth, even at it's best. Why is it that other celebs aren't getting busted on for doing the exact same thing. Money can just about buy them anything, whenever and however quickly they want. Don't overlook the other celebs or even average Americans when you are making the point that money bought this child into Modonna's life.

Not only that, but these stories are being writing based on information obtained from the courts and adoptive systems of that country. Who's to say if the father wants to have the child back. I know that's a horrible thought, but it needs to be considered. It is possible that Modonna has spoken with the childs father. Maybe this dad wants better for his child then what he might give him, even if Mondonna choose to pay for a better lifestyle.

Posted by: M- | October 13, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

A couple points: First, is he actually legally adopted? Maybe Madonna was able to "adopt" this child BECAUSE the father is still alive and could give consent. Second, some of you are romanticizing (or westernizing) the father-son connection. Just because the child won't be in his custody doesn't mean the he and dad are worse off. Loaning his kid to Madonna might be dad's greatest hope of truly escaping poverty when junior comes home with a harvard degree and a bunch of cash. Besides, if it is purely a stunt (and not just partially), donna has a great safety net - dad is still alive and the kid can be returned with his vaccines up to date and a nice trust fund. the harm, in the end, is minimal.

Posted by: Ryan | October 13, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I applaud Madonna's hobby of getting one child from each continent. All she has left before her collection is complete is Asia, Australia, and North America (good luck with Antarctica, Madge!).

Posted by: Cynic | October 13, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

There are so many things that are wrong with this situation. Why not adopt a child whose parents are both dead. Why take a child away when his father is alive? It shows how selfish Madonna is. Personally, I think it is a publicity stunt.

Posted by: Alisa | October 13, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Here is my question in this -- wouldn't the father be happy his kid got a new life and oen that is likely better than the one he could have given him? Wasn't that kind of the point of putting him up for adoption? Or am I reading something wrong here?

Would we be so disgusted were it anyone else adopting this kid in the same circumstances?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Agreed that this smells of a publicity stunt. Assuming the adoption was done with the best intentions, I can only hope that this was a family decision - with input from her husband and her two kids - who are old enough to have an opinion about adding another child to the family and what that would do to the family dynamic. Of course I cannot even comprehend what their family life must be like!

Posted by: rww | October 13, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Adoption is not about being "noble" or "giving a child a far better life." Those the wrong reasons to adopt. You adopt because you want children. Period. My adopted children don't want pity. They want unconditional love. And that's what they get.

Whatever motivated Madonna to want to adopt, I know that she cares deeply about children and I accept her motivation at face value.

Posted by: Mike | October 13, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Would love to adopt a child. To help raise part of the next generation, to see a child, whether biological or adopted, grow up to become a good person, creative, and contributing to the goodness of this earth.
But, while I am a professional in a job I love, I make less than half the median income in this area. I *don't* have the resources or the time out of my working day that it takes to be approved to adopt a child. Especially because I have worked with disturbed children, and know that, me personally, I cannot deal with such a child on a 24/7 basis. And US child 'welfare' systems spend too much time attempting to 'reunite' children with birth families-- doing the most damage in the important formative years. Foreign adoption? All this plus dealing with more layers of bureacracy.
That said, I still question strings attached to money for such immediate needs as the Malawi situation. I still question why someone with money and some sort of international reputation, who puts her daughter's clothes in a bag and doesn't let her have them just for not picking them up (lourdes is all of what, 9 now?), is allowed to spirit a child out of country while many good people with open homes & hearts.... ah well.

Posted by: dahozho | October 13, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

With so many AMERICAN children in foster care, why couldn't she adopt here? IThere are black kids in the American foster care system. This just makes me sick. No one thinks that that child or Angelia's children will grow up and look around and say "why am I th eonly different one in this house." These people collect kids like pets. It is not a wonderful thing to pluck these kids up when kids in this country are just starving for a mother and father. I am one of the ones that gets angry when I see a white couple with a Chinese baby. Were there no white kids in the foster care system?
I am an adoptive mother and I can't stand this.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Why is this newsworthy? An over 40 year old women who can only prop up her career by pulling stunts. Thanks for helping her with the publicity... Not....

Posted by: Who Cares | October 13, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Madonna's stunt makes me sad. If she cares about this child, can't she find another way to help him?

Perhaps the child's father feels he can't, in good conscience, resist this offer for his child, knowing he will never have comparable means to provide for his son.

Posted by: Leigh | October 13, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

to all of those posters above who said things like "if the dad was a drug addict or in prison then no one would question it..."


Posted by: just askin | October 13, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Forgive me if someone has already said this, but I can't help but wonder if the speed of the adoption and the fact that the father is still living are connected. It's possible that there was some sort of arrangement in which he signed his parental rights over to her.

It still stinks to high heaven.

Posted by: Kate | October 13, 2006 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Pretty interesting that in 2006 people of substance can still buy other people. We don't call it slavery anymore; we call it "adoption."

Step right up: just donate a few million $$ and get yourself a kid, not to mention lots o' publicity worth far more than the value of the cash donation.

The twist? This adoption will make a great deal of difference in the life of that one child, and that matters.

(Besides, lots of people get away with breaking various laws all the time, and get by just on their good looks or checkbook, or whatever. Madge is no different.)

Posted by: Lane | October 13, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse

OK americans wake up and smell the coffee. This is Africa not America we are talking about. You cannot give someone money and expect them to raise their own baby in Africa, it just doesnt' work like that. Malawi is the poorest country in the world, the country doesn't offer opportunities or a decent infrastructure. People are ridden with diseases and utter poverty and famine. Money cannot get rid of country wide poverty. Once you're born into the lower social class, you stay there and there are very little opportunties for you to grow or succeed. The father was blessed that someone offered to give his child a better enriching life, to him it was like winning a lottery, a father couldn't ask for more. He'll definitely have the riches and opportunity to succeed.

Posted by: Misha | October 13, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Most of you are so wrong.

She's given this kid a chance at a decent life. She didn't do anything horrible to do it. She got it done.

I dislike madonna intensely, but I can find no fault with helping a child.

Posted by: Bunkley | October 13, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I can understand why the government will bend the rules for celebrity adoptions. As Madonna's child, this boy already has access to more than the yearly gross national product of all of Malawi. In the future, should he wish to assist his country of origin, he will be in an extremely unique position to do so.

Posted by: Lori | October 13, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

We adopted two little girls from Russia and had to go thru an extensive process that called for home studies, verification of income, police check, medical checks, etc. The current process also involves a psychological examination. I wonder how Madonna would do by the way on a psychological examination? At any rate, there is a good side to what Madonna has done. She did give some money. And, when you see these countries and how people live, yes, money needs to be given, even thrown at them if necessary. Most people in America have no understanding of the dire poverty and desperation in these countries. As a consequence, I would support adoption for the child and understand why the father would want it. As for Madonna being the one to adopt, one for whom many rules were bent or waived (money talks), I think it is questionable how fit a mother she is likely to be.

Posted by: Joseph | October 13, 2006 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I wish Madonna would adopt me.

Posted by: Bill | October 13, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

This is a complicated issue made more complicated by Madonna's fame. When visiting Africa, you can't help notice the kids, because they are so adorable and come up to you and hold your hand. It really breaks your heart. So I understand that she wants to help. On the other hand, after you've lived there awhile (which I have) and meet people from the Red Cross, Peace Corps etc., you realize that care must be taken to do good where it is needed. Charity isn't just to make YOURSELF feel good. Old timers down there know that the root of the problem is deeper than just adopting one child. Adopting the child and removing him from his culture isn't going to do any long-term good. Sure, you have a cute cuddly little one to love, and that is a great goal to have, but it isn't enough to solve Africa's problems (if that is what Madonna is planning on doing). I would hope that Madonna would continue to support Malawi, in ways she sees fit. As for "no strings attached" charity, there is no such thing. If Kabbalah is her string, than fine. You can't just scatter money, or it falls into the hands of the wrong people.
Personally, if I had the money and fame, I'd donate it to medical services for prenatal care to prevent death in childbirth, and also give money for family planning and AIDs prevention. That said, it takes a lot of planning and research to get the money going where it is supposed to go.

Posted by: Barb | October 15, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm will never be amazed at the "white knight" coming to save all the poor little black children. It's disgusting.

Posted by: L CeeCee | October 16, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

This is totally wrong. If Madonna really cared about this child or any other child with a living parent(s), all she should have done was to support the capable parent(s) in raising the child; not take the child away.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

If Madonna really wanted to help this child then she should give the father money so he can raise his own son. Then the child will not grow up feeling abandoned by only surviving parent and the father will not be wondering what happened to his son.

He is not a dog. He is a human being.

Posted by: Shelley | October 16, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

ESD, you are totally wrong, I would actually venture to guess that in terms of US law, MOST of the kids adopted have one or more parents that are very much alive. And this isn't about US law, it's about Malawi law. The father gave the child up for adoption. He surrendered his rights, the same way that if a US parent put up a child for adoption and then the child was adopted by Angelina Jolie, the parent does not have a right to the child. I'd imagine that the kid's father is thrilled that he will have a chance at a successful life, since the big reason the father turned him over to the orphanage was because he couldn't provide that. And now, imagine if this child wasn't adopted because of this outcry. This child will grow up knowing he almost had a shot at a life beyond his imagination, but will be in Malawi, probably still living in poverty. While circumventing laws is not cool, if she wants to provide a safe and comfortable life for someone that needs it and doesn't legally doesn't have a parent, I'm okay with that.

Posted by: ML | October 16, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

As an adoptive parent myself, I believe Cheri Register, the Author of 'Are Those Kids Yours?': American Families With Children Adopted from Other Countries got it right when she said the following: "Yet, if we are to advocate for international adoption, we need to be careful how we portray it. It is not an absolute good to be pursued for its own sake, nor is it a baby market. It is a temporary and very limited solution to two concurrent problems: homelessness among children and infertility.
Of those two problems the welfare of the children takes precedence. Children are entitled, as a birthright, to a loving, family, adequate food and shelter, sound health, a safe environment, and education and training to allow self-sufficiency in adulthood. If the lack of a loving family puts the other rights in jeopardy, then adoption into another family is a worthy solution. But if the child already has a loving family, then the best we can do is to help secure the other rights so the family can stay together.
By no means are we entitled to claim the children of those who, by our own cultural measures, seem less fortunate: Wealth does not entitle us to the children of the poor. Higher education does not entitle us to the children of the illiterate. Marriage does not entitle us to the children of the unwed. Technological advancement does not entitle us to the children of "underdeveloped" nations. Religious faith does not entitle us to the children of parents who believe differently than we do.
International adoption is an undeserved benefit that has fallen to North Americans, Western Europeans and Australians, largely because of the inequitable socioeconomic circumstances in which we live. IN THE LONG RUN WE OUGHT TO BE CHANGING THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES. Adoption is paradoxical through and through, a mix of grievous losses and joyous gains, tragic separation and firm belonging. We who live with the paradox day by day can manage yet another one: To be advocates for international adoption while simultaneously working to make it unnecessary."

Posted by: Lisa | October 16, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't Madonna go get the kid herself like those other celebrities???? At least jolie and ryan went and got their kids, so she need someone to fetch the kid for her. It looks like the kid got snatch...ugh!

Posted by: Me | October 17, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Madonna adoption of African child is a publicity stunt. Oprah fell for Madonna publicity stunt.

Posted by: Rome | October 26, 2006 11:42 PM | Report abuse

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