Why Madonna Should Be Allowed to Adopt
You may not agree (and in a poll taken here last Monday 60 percent of you disagreed) but I think Madonna should be allowed to adopt four-year-old Malawian orphan Chifundo "Mercy" James. At least based on all the available facts we have at this point.
On Friday, a Malawian judge denied the pop star's request to add another Malawian child to her family, saying she didn't meet an 18-month residency requirement. A devastated Madonna (and allegedly equally upset daughter Lourdes) returned to the U.K. Sunday, but not without filing an appeal.
Critics of the adoption cited her recent divorce from Guy Ritchie, her tabloid-ready lifestyle and an assumption of "celebrity entitlement" as reasons why the 50-year-old mother of three should not add another kid to her jet-setting household.
But now that Madonna's adoption prospects have moved from the realm of celebrity fast-tracking to a probably long legal battle over a very real child, has your opinion changed?
Beth Nonte Russell, writing in the L.A. Times, says Madonna's case is a high profile warning bell, alerting us to the increasingly difficult international adoption process. Children, Russell argues, kept in their home countries for well-intentioned nationalistic reasons often suffer long-term effects from being institutionalized for much of their young lives.
The questions that should be asked -- "Does a viable alternative to the orphanage exist for this little girl in Malawi, and does it exist now? Is there someone there who is willing and able to give her the love and care that is needed by all children?" -- are subsumed by ridiculous snarking about clothes and statements about what Madonna "should" do instead of adopting this child.
No matter the reasons that led Mercy James's family to turn their child over to an orphanage, the fact remains that she is living -- even in that orphanage -- at or below poverty level. Add to that the fact that her family knew there was a possibility that Mercy would be adopted into another home and that the adoption process has been in the works for 19 months. Why is Mercy James's grandmother, who accused Madonna of trying to "steal" her granddaughter, only speaking out now?
And, if this report from the U.K.'s Sun is to be believed, the four-year-old has already spent a significant amount of time bonding with Madonna and her other three children, leaving her confused and upset by their departure.
Save the Children's Sarah Jacobs argued against Madonna's adoption bid last week. High profile cases, like Madonna's and Angelina Jolie's, have helped to make international adoption a big business in some countries, she says. The solution, she insists, lies in getting communities, and whole countries, above the poverty level so families won't be forced to give children up to orphanages:
Families in the affluent world wanting to make a real difference to the lives of orphans can support aid agencies, such as Save the Children, that are working on the ground to get children out of institutions and support their families so they can live safely and well at home.
But with an estimated 150 million orphaned children worldwide, are donations -- or even policies -- enough to swiftly change the lives of these kids and, specifically, the life of Mercy James?
Has your opinion changed? I'm asking you to re-take last Monday's poll below.
Celeb for a Day: The Winning Entries
On Friday, I asked: "If you had the ability to inhabit the body of one celebrity for one day, who would it be and why? What would you do with your day?" The entries below stood out as noteworthy.
1. Most Creative: I think that I would probably be Kurt Cobain. Because, you know, popping back up out of the ground and being a zombie and stuff would really freak people out. They'd be like "Oh my god, it's Kurt Cobain and he's a zombie" and I'd be like "Yes! I am dead and I must have brussel sprouts! Bring me your brussel sprouts!" Then everyone would be like "Wait, don't you mean 'brains?'" and I'd be like "No! The undead draw their dark powers from brussel sprouts! Muahahahaha!" People would totally freak out and burn all the brussel sprouts since that's what the undead eat. Which would be awesome, because I hate brussel sprouts. (karmadrome)
2. The Forciest: I would be George Lucas, and I would apologize. (northgs)
3. Scatalogical-est: Could I be Paris Hilton's dog, Tinkerbell, so I could take a dump in her purse? (Sasquatchbigfoot)
4. Anti-Corgy-est: I'd like to be Queen Elizabeth for a day so I could smack Prince Philip around for all his stupid comments. Then I'd visit an animal shelter and get a nice big dog. (memphis1)
5. Most Practical: I would be Demi Moore. Who would then have lunch with Jennifer Aniston and would teach her how to keep quiet about her celebrity divorce. (Chasmosaur1)
| April 6, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
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