On:air: Are children always better off in their own community?

Madonna’s bid to adopt a second child from Malawi has been rejected Was the court right?

It’s reported that the judge ruled against Madonna because she doesn’t live in Malawi, and because of fears that adoption can promote child trafficking. Some believed children who are adopted to parents abroad lose their connection with their country, their surviving relatives, and their language. And that they may face racism and isolation in their new land. Are children/orphans always better off staying in their own community?

84 Responses to “On:air: Are children always better off in their own community?”

  1. April 3, 2009 at 13:52

    The idea that Madonna can save the world is disengenuous to say the least. Mothers want children, its a basic human activity. Denying her motherhood is not going to help Malawi, not going to help the child, not going to change the way things are done. Meanwhile your guest bleats on about “Aid” and “charity” while the child grows up staring at the ceiling.

    These are two different things. Aid to third world countries, adoption. And your guest flippantly says intercountry adoption counts for a tiny percentage of children being helped, well it doesn’t count for the children involved! Their lives are transformed, hopefully for the better, and at the very least they grow up with three meals a day.

    There is a weird strain in the social work community where mothers wanting children is somehow suspect and should be regulated, well beyond normal criminal background checks.

    I think Madonna, god bless her, is being victimized because of her celebrity. Would that judge have been so strict if the whole world had not been watching?

    And finally, how on earth is she supposed to control the crazy journalists and paparazzi who follow her around every moment of her life?

    I hope she gets the kid.

  2. 2 Roy, Washington DC
    April 3, 2009 at 14:04

    The world is an ethnically diverse place. Teaching children this at an early age can’t hurt, as it will teach them to be more accepting. They will learn that it’s okay to be different, they will learn that it’s okay to socialize with others who aren’t like you…and they will learn the less fortunate facts of life as well, such as the fact that not everyone will be as tolerant.

  3. 3 Mike
    April 3, 2009 at 14:26

    It is noble for a privileged western citizen to adopt a bonafide homeless child from a less privileged background.. I see no problem. The BBC grasps this issue either to try and solicit additional development aid for underdeveloped countries or simply to drum up anti Americanism by using Madonna.

  4. 4 Steve
    April 3, 2009 at 14:29

    So is it then bad to have immigration given people leave their communities to go to a new one where they face similar potential risks and differences?

  5. April 3, 2009 at 14:31

    Only better off in their community when it meets their needs, but we still know that children are young to tell the best, or a mind to do proper comparison.

    Whether in their own community or not, they should be where the best is attained.

    * Now a journalist in Kenya…

  6. 6 Steve
    April 3, 2009 at 14:37

    You have a type on the blog story, “fat” instead of “fact”

  7. 7 Mark Sandell
    April 3, 2009 at 14:41

    Mike, you’re good. Only you saw through our attempt to discuss children’s welfare as a vehicle to have a go at America.
    We’ll have to get a lot cleverer…

  8. 8 Dennis Okumu
    April 3, 2009 at 14:43

    Madonna should be clear on what her agenda is.
    When people tend to be very good, usually for me the first reaction is ask why? and the same i do ask Madonna.

    Pardon me, but i think, she is going over board. she got the first kid, that was oky, but going for the second one is alittle suspicious.

    If Madonna REALLY wants to adopt a kid,
    Must it be a black kid, don’t we have kids ready for adoption in europe, Further more, why does she want it so quickly know? is it that she has suddenly developed a passion for black kids?
    Madonna isn’t any young, why the sudden passion for especially Black kids.

    am not being hard on her,
    but in my country we’ve had lots of cases of people pretending to help our brothers and sisters only to turn out to be the direct rude opposite. when they change their nationality.

    i fear for this little kids, when they change their nationality, and they are tide hands and feet, with no one to listen, love or even encourage. only God knows what awaits them then.

    Madonna should be resonable.
    with her age, she doesnt have much time to properlly bring this kids to upright maturity, and she should know best that it isn’t that easy to tie three totally different families as one, especially when she won’t be their when things start falling apart.

    if Madonna is sincere and wants to help the ‘Black child’, why not pick a children’s hope and fund it to her best. that way she will still have a much bigger family.
    won’t she?

    Dennis in Kenya

  9. 9 Steve
    April 3, 2009 at 14:45

    @ Mike

    Is Madonna even really American anymore? Does she live here? She uses a fake English accent when she talks anyways.

  10. April 3, 2009 at 14:51

    Let it be cleared that Madonna is just used as a case study not necessarily to drum up anti-Americanism. If adoption is a legal act, then why should an individual be denied. once the legality surrounding adoption can’t be flexible, traffickers will continue to make money from child trafficking. if we allow adoption to be as legal as the world LEGAL itself, then people will not buy into trafficking children when they know that they don’t need a third party to unlawfully get children.

  11. 11 Lamii Kpargoi
    April 3, 2009 at 14:52

    That judge was way off her mark to rule on the basis that children are better served growing up in the hell holes that a lot of have in Africa. Forget about cultural and racial identity, any child living in squalor deserves better. Is it not obvious that Madonna can give that child better care than any of its relatives would every be able to. We have to be more realistic and practical here.

    Guess the best way to protect children in poor countries is to ensure that the world regulates how they are born in the first place. That way only people who are able to provide the minimum best care for a child would be allowed to have one; thus making it unnecessary for a misguided judge to rule in such sentimental ways as there would be very minimum reasons for adoption.

    I am from Liberia but I currently in the little town of Ede in the Netherlands for a few weeks.

  12. 12 VictorK
    April 3, 2009 at 15:00

    @Mike: topics on WHYS are often diverted into anti-American and anti-Western rants, usually through no fault of the BBC’s. Some people are just like that.

    Steve beat me to the point: the objections raised (usually with a political, and leftist, sub-text) to children coming into a Western environment apply with almost equal force to adults. But the same leftists who rave against Madonna are generally for open-borders adult immigration into the West. Odd.

    In the UK we regularly have unaccompanied children arriving in the country from sub-Saharan Africa, sent by desperate parents hoping – actually, knowing – they will have the opportunity of an infinitely better life. If your community is impoverished, diseased, ill-governed and perhaps also war-torn, and if it shows no sign of being able to resurrect itself, then of course you’d be better off elsewhere. Societies and ways of life are unequal. Some are simply better than others. People are literally dying to get into the West. Madonna should be commended on her humanitarianism. The government and people of Malawi need to ask themselves some hard questions about their country.

  13. 13 lydia nayo
    April 3, 2009 at 15:04

    Madonna didn’t make her case very persuasively, if her only reason to adopt this child is to save her from Malawi. That just begs the obvious answer of using her resources and her influence to improve conditions for children in Malawi.

    As for victimizing Madonna, that’s close to impossible to do. The woman is insulated by money and priveledge, living in a bubble that not one of us posting can imagine. In part, this adoption looks like another of her ‘look at me!’ posturing moments, designed to deflect criticism about her lifestyle choices and ill-informed romantic liasons.

    I’m left wondering if any child, natural or adopted, thrives inside that bubble.

  14. 14 David
    April 3, 2009 at 15:21

    Don’t we know why peole dopt children. Is this the first time a child hs been adopted? Madona has the resources and the heart to raise the adopted children. She already keeps in touch with the parents of the first adopted child.

    I would be eager to know whether the judge has children of her own?

  15. April 3, 2009 at 15:31

    The case of Madonna failing to adopt a second child from Malawi shows that fame and money can’t buy everything. This contrasts with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt who have been successful in adopting children of different nationalities.

    Children are better off if they live in a normal environment. They should enjoy their childhood whether in their own community or outside it. As for racism, there are the children of immigrants who live in their own community and yet they are still subject to racist attitudes, at least from their peers at school or in the neighbourhood.

    What is wrong about child adoption is when it becomes a commercial activities with agents that facilitate adoption legally or illegally. There are cases of parents forced to sell their children because of poverty.

  16. 16 Steve
    April 3, 2009 at 15:32

    @ VictorK

    Children also immigrate with their families as well, so any argument about adopting and culture differences would have to apply to immigration, so perhaps people from malawi shouldn’t emigrate? My father has been there before , and it’s not exactly one of the nicest places on earth.

  17. 17 VictorK
    April 3, 2009 at 15:35

    Madonna does more for African children than those Africans privileged enough to already live in the West, more than most African governments, & more than the ordinary Africans who have left a country like Malawi with 1 million (!) orphans.

    Why pick on Madonna when thousands of African children are brought into the West by wealthy African families as ‘domestics’, a euphemism for ‘slaves’? When they are female it becomes a euphemism for ‘sexual slavery’, too. As refugees in other African countries children face much worse than mere ‘racism’

    Why should anyone have a problem with Madonna offering a child a secure, luxurious life, with opportunities that most Westerners can only dream of? I could understand a Klansman being enraged at her, but who else? African complainants: get your priorities right & stop condemning your friends & benefactors. Leftist complainants: one rich pop star has done more good for humanity than your combined self-righteousness multiplied a thousand-fold.

  18. 18 Assiya
    April 3, 2009 at 15:37

    Simply put, she must not get special treatment (too harsh or too slack) just becasue she is a celebrity. She must obey the law and follow the correct procedure to adopt a child in Malawi as if she where anybody else. My only question is: Why does it have to be Malawi?

  19. 19 patti in cape coral florida
    April 3, 2009 at 15:41

    To answer your question, no, orphans are not always better off in their own community. I speak from personal experience, it depends on the child, his needs, and the community.

    There is no way I can tell what Madonna’s “real” motives may be, so I will just take it as true that she would like a sibling for the child she already adopted. There is no way I can tell what the judges “real” motives may be, so I will just assume that he is following the law that requires prospective parents to live in Malawi for a year and a half before adopting. If this is all the case, what is preventing her from following the law and living there for 18 months? It isn’t like she is a person with a regular job and financial worries. If a person as financially solvent as she is does not want to do this, maybe she doesn’t want the child badly enough…

    I agree though, that with all the attention given to this case, it made it very difficult for the judge’s decision not to be politicized, so it was no longer about what was better for the child in the end.

  20. 20 Jim Newman
    April 3, 2009 at 15:42

    Hello again
    Poor Maddona. Being dragged into a brawl between lefties and righties. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody found something terroristic in her wanting to adopt a child. Of course everything is linked but try to let humans be human. I’ve always liked Maddona and I hope that her happiness will make people around her happy adopted or not.

  21. 21 Jennifer
    April 3, 2009 at 15:50

    I think the court was right with their decision. Children are very resilient and are capable of adjusting to new environments, but they aren’t something that can be purchased at the supermarket for someone’s entertainment or whims; even if the child comes from a poverty filled land.

    I think Madonna was just looking for another baby to add to her collection. Maybe she wanted the type of hero worship many bestow on Angelina Jolie….

  22. 22 Roberto
    April 3, 2009 at 15:53

    RE “” Is Madonna even really American anymore? Does she live here? She uses a fake English accent when she talks anyways. “”

    ——– Pretty much what Jack Johnson, the turn of the century heavyweight boxer did once he won his title.

    Adopted English mannerisms and accents, mostly abandoning black girlfriends, black friends, and black ring opposition in favor of white wives, girlfriends, friends, and title challengers.

    Some folks have always had a quest to be more than they really are. One of the best friends I made at college turned out to have made up a whole ‘nother personna in his quest to become more than his humble past.

  23. 23 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    April 3, 2009 at 15:56

    American friends of mine wanted to adopt a child but were put off by the lengthy waiting period. They found they could quickly and easily adopt a daughter in either India and China (virtually all babies available for foreign adoption in both countries are female.) It cost $10,000 to adopt a daughter in either place. As the Chinese adoption included a trip to China to pick up the baby, they opted for that.

    This girl baby was unwanted by her birth parents. My friends’ adopting her allowed her birth parents to try to have the boy child they wanted in the first place, under the one-family/one child policy in China. My friends were overjoyed to be parents of a beautiful little Chinese girl. The girl is now a teenager, is happy, healthy and well-adjusted.

    Sometimes, foreign adoptions can be win-win-win situations.

  24. 24 Andrew in Australia
    April 3, 2009 at 16:05

    Not necessarily. It depends who is wanting these children, what they can offer them and whether their new location will serve them well as they will be cut off from their own background.

    Although those like Madonna, and whatever their reasons for these adoptions I am sure they have it all justified in their minds, perhaps are not the ones with the child’s best interests at heart. Sure the child wil have access to resources they could never have had, but when you see that they are either treated as some kind of trophy or feel good substitute (or dare I say publicity item) and that they are always in the care of nannies.

    Why bother adopting a child when you wont even be there for them and simpy delegate that responsibility to a paid employee. That just seems selfish and hypocritical. The whole point of an arrangement like that is for the emotional aspects that exist in a parent-child relationship.

    But in other cases such intercultural adoptions do work out well, but there are the inherent dangers none the less. But you have to wonder, why are they doing it?

  25. April 3, 2009 at 16:12

    for madonna this adoption technique is a marketing way of selling her albums .if she is more concerned about malawian society why not help by her means the community in which the to be adopted child is living and make his immediete living environment joyful rather than plucking this malawian child from its bloodrelations ?

  26. April 3, 2009 at 16:18

    Children need to go out of their born country and learn new ideas so that they can be open to the World as it becomes modernized day-by-day. As we say in our Liberian vanercular “Born here, Mined here, Die here” is the sole responsibility of our backwardness today. We Liberians always boast of being Africa’s Oldest country but we are far behind in development because our brothers and sisters were manipulated by war mongers for their own selfish aims. If they had travelled out at the early days of their life, they would not have been manipulated. So, its good for a child to travel out of home to learn new and modernized experiences.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  27. 27 viola
    April 3, 2009 at 16:20

    Not enough known here. Is Madonna trying to adopt an orphaned child who will otherwise grow up parentless? If she is, and the Malawi government is not denying the adoption on the basis of Madonna’s poor morals or poor parenting skills or financial instability, then shame on the Malawi gov’t for not acting in the child’s best interests.

  28. April 3, 2009 at 16:30

    While adoption one should obey the law of territory and nation. Nation has own rules and regulation regarding child adoption. I can’t say,Madonna is right and Court is wrong. Sometime, it helps in child trafficking too.

    And if you think by an eye of humanity, then Child can be adopted if he/she’s condition is worse. Humanity comes first, so forget the rest.

  29. 29 Zita
    April 3, 2009 at 16:45

    I think what a child needs is home love and care. Wherever he or she can get that and whoever is able to give that, that’s the person and the country the child wants if his or her present situation is minus both these. Why not let Madonna have this child?

  30. April 3, 2009 at 16:53

    A child should not be uprooted from his home. He/she should be free to live and blossom in a community. Here in Africa, a community raises a child and not the parents alone.

  31. 31 Nelson Isibor
    April 3, 2009 at 16:54

    Not really. For what its worth, the judge just denied that child and several others an opportunity for a better life. The issue about child trafficking does not hold water because with or without srigent measures, traffickers will have thier way. The judge made her ruling based on ego not commmon sense.

  32. 32 Luci Smith
    April 3, 2009 at 16:55

    Madonna is not Josephine Baker!

    I am the same age as Madonna and I think that she could easily find children in the U.S.A., if she wants to adopt of foster more. Personally, if I was the authorities, I would respect somebody like Oprah Winfey, who gives money to a school in Africa for girls instead of a paparazzi-flypaper like Madonna, who seems to have enough going on in her divorce and dating of young guys, career and nanny-hiring to not need another long-distance adoption right now.

    If I had the money, I would build some libraries and give money to schools. Everybody can’t become famous by going naked and singing pop songs.

    And by the way – in the Queen vs Berlusconi, I definitely vote for the Queen, who won out over Boris Jeltsin and now over Berlusconi. As a citizen of Denmark, I am respectful of Real Queens. During the Bush years, I kept saying, “I’d rather have a smart Queen than a stupid president.” I think that a lot of Italians agree with me!

  33. April 3, 2009 at 17:10

    I am impressed by the individual care and the promotion of identity that the orphanages in Malawi are able to provide the children in their care. That the children in their orphanages are better off than to permit their adoption to a single caregiver/ family, whether within the national borders or without, is unique in all of the world.

    Malawi also has the most polite child traffickers on the planet. In other countries, children are stolen by nationals and foreigners alike, with no care for the laws of the nation from whence that child was stolen.

    I think the Malawian people have to dig deep and admit what motivation is really at the roots of their child adoption law. Whether it is racism, nationalism, or simply the chance to demonstrate that they can say “no” to a wealthy woman… the truth is something other than their impassioned defense of their law implies.

  34. 34 Luci Smith
    April 3, 2009 at 17:10

    I would like to make a point in this discussion. You do not have to be anti-American because you think that Madonna’s household is not the best place for a child.

    I have seen a lot of children who are adopted cross-culturally and it does not always work. On the other hand, I have a close friend who is American and who adopted 3 children from Africa and South America who are now almost grown up. then to take the other side, I remember reading about orphans from Romania who were adopted to England with disasterous results because the homes they came from and the state of Romania under Chauchesco were so horrible.

    There is no pat answer. Some people would want to go back and find out about their birth culture and some do not feel the need. Just like some paretns can love an adopted child and some are unable to give the extra that that child needs. I think that the best solution is not to create a market for children but to attept to help out where there is a need locally. When you are an adult, you can decide to emigrate or try to live in another country. There is no need to rip up the fabric of families in areas when celebrities could choose to volunteer and start projects and help out the UN and other providers of needed development in those places.

  35. 35 Dan
    April 3, 2009 at 17:12

    @Luci Smith

    Right On!!! I loved your description “paparazzi-flypaper” although I do not know what kind of fame I would engender if I “went naked singing pop songs”.

    I think Madonna should have donated her money to raise the standard of living in village rather than feed her own ego.

  36. 36 cyn
    April 3, 2009 at 17:13

    If Madonna is serious about acting in Mercy’s interest she could move to Malawi for 18 months, couldn’t she?

  37. 37 Dave in Florida
    April 3, 2009 at 17:19

    I see no problem with Madonna adopting another African child. However, at the moment it seems to be the flavor-of-the-month with the “beautiful people” to adopt African children. What happens to the children when the “beautiful crowd” becomes bored and moves on to another “hip action?”

    By the way, what is wrong with her white son that she has with Guy Ritchie?

  38. April 3, 2009 at 17:20

    I just don’t understand why a child’s country should have anything to do with deciding whether he or she can grow up in a normal household or not. International adoptions provide homes for children who cannot find homes in their own country; and who grow up in a system rather than in a family… isn’t a family preferable to a system?

    No matter where a child ends up in the world, as long as they are provided an opportunity to have what other children have; a normal, happy, loving family–then nothing else should matter. The adoptive parents have a responsibility to respect the child’s original culture, and teach their child of who they are and where they came from… but it’s ridiculous that nationality should be the deciding factor whether a child should have a happier life.

  39. 39 Travis Zly
    April 3, 2009 at 17:24

    I think Madonna is manipulated by her publicists and by the Media. They see her as a money-making machine. I see a very lonely person who has missed out on a deep relationship. I know nothing about her parents, but she was probably an unloved child. I think she is looking to be loved in a genuine way, and children provide that. (Ditto Angelina Jolie, who “divorced” her father John Voight a number of years ago). The actions of these people exhibit a deep insecurity. They cover this up, but lead a double-life – this is why they learn to be such good actresses. I think we need to examine the need of people to have children to provide meaning in their lives – this is the burden that is placed on so many poor young unfortunates. It is easy to have a relationship with a little Human as they are so giving and trusting. But they become big Humans who have their own needs and stop loving you unconditionally. So you need to have a new little Human, and the cycle repeats itself endlessly. Let us hope that Madonna learns to love herself – little Humans have a limited shelf-life.

  40. 40 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    April 3, 2009 at 17:26

    Male-female ratiios are skewed in India, China and other countries due to the abortion of female fetuses, and to female infanticide.

    Why shouldn’t female babies that are unwanted in their own countries be adopted by foreigners??

  41. 41 Dennis Okumu
    April 3, 2009 at 17:27

    Adoption should be out of good will.
    Both the parties involved in the process of adoption should be in concious agreement for the safety of the child, if Madonna is insisting on the adotion then she misses the point.
    this is not her child,
    if she had visited Angola or Nigeria Or Kenya, am possitive she would find a different child she would be fond of. if she is denied the little kid, she may try elsewhere. it doesn’t have to be aparticular one does it?

  42. 42 Ann Pedersen
    April 3, 2009 at 17:27

    For Americans, why don’t we adopt from the care system here???!!! The bravest person I know is a single man who adopted two boys, both of them with some problems but most of those problems were overcome by stability, respect and love. There are thousands — maybe millions — of children in foster care who need loving homes. Why not adopt here????

  43. 43 Jacob
    April 3, 2009 at 17:30

    While I agree that any child living in a desperate situation should have the opportunity to live a fulfilled life, the recent throng of celebrity adoptions begs the question what’s the real motive. I have to agree with Mohamed about a possible publicity stunt by Madonna as the underlying motive. The history of “white man’s burden” where the “advanced Westerners” have the duty to save those poor souls in the developing world. Bottom line, the lives of these pseudo celebrity children adopted by Madonna or Angelina Jolie may be full of material wealth and comfort but they will undoubtedly be beset by the unreal world of paparazzi and entitlement that in my honest opinion is a fate worse than remaining in Liberia.

  44. April 3, 2009 at 17:30

    Has anyone considered what the child would want? If it were me, I would be pretty angry that I came so close to being adopted by a millionaire, only to be sent back to my hovel at the whim of some judge.

  45. 45 MIGUEL (from CALIFORNIA)
    April 3, 2009 at 17:32

    This judge has fail to protect the best interest of the child, which are to grow up in a safe environment and have all the basic needs cover like education, food and the opportunity to have a grate life. Instead the judge has decided to live that child with no parents and an uncertain future of a third wold country like Malawi where poverty is high and lack of education prevent this kids of been successful in life.

  46. 46 JP in Oregon
    April 3, 2009 at 17:35

    In my opinion, Madonna’s intent is self-serving and not in the best interests of any child she attempts to adopt. Simply because she has money and fame does not make her the savior of children in 3rd world countries. She is unmarried, has a career that causes her to travel constantly, and generally unstable.

    Are children always best served in their own communities? Probably not, but are we going to move everyone in The DRC or Malawi? The best choice would be a local adoption to a family able to support the child and offer them an environment that is part of their heritage.

  47. 47 Elizabeth
    April 3, 2009 at 17:35

    Children everywhere deserve the right to a loving home, where their needs are met. If adopting these children would result in a better life for them and their communities in the future, then so be it. These adopted children will end up helping their communities, instead of staying and wasting away with everyone else in poverty.

  48. 48 Sharon
    April 3, 2009 at 17:37

    To the gentlemen who faults Madonna for spending lavishly to effect this adoption instead of saving the village itself. How? Throw money at it every month? Bring in a western development company and start with water, electric, then factories, farming…what exactly would throwing money at the village accomplish? You can’t create a rich town out of a poor town by dumping money on it. You have to start at the very core and work out. Corruption issues? Oh my word. Your comments make no sense to me… how would her money help the village? How?

  49. 49 Dave in Florida
    April 3, 2009 at 17:41

    RE: Ann

    Because here in the U.S. we spend more time and effort disecting potential parents, and finding minor defects that disqualify them from adoption. It is a long and painful process here.

  50. 50 Kyrstin Brennan
    April 3, 2009 at 17:45

    I suspect that, generally speaking, children probably are better off staying in their home countries; however I wonder if every country has a sufficient number of appropriate adoptive families within their borders?
    My great grandfather was sent from Ireland to the U.S. when he was a child as a result of the famines. He, and a number of other children, was “adopted” by a family who’s only interest in them was as cheap farm labor. It was a very difficult life, but I doubt there were enough families in Ireland in a position to provide good homes, this may also be the case in some of the countries you are discussing.

  51. 51 Steve
    April 3, 2009 at 17:48

    Mike actually has been vindicated. The caller from Canada, who had a closed adoption caused a response from the guest who said the “american system of closed adoption is abhorrent” despite her being Canadian and adopted in Canada.

  52. 52 Natalie Koprowski
    April 3, 2009 at 17:49

    We’ve adopted two girls from Viet Nam, and let me say this. — no matter what romantic notions you may have about being raised in their own culture, these kids have a wonderful life here in America, and have infinitely more possibilities for their futures. Chances were high that they would have ended up in the sex trade had we left them in the squalid orphanage where we found them. We don’t know how they got there, but if a crime had been committed it was committed long before my wife and I entered the picture.

  53. 53 JOSEPH
    April 3, 2009 at 17:50


  54. 54 Rhoda
    April 3, 2009 at 17:51

    I think this Judge is right. There are laws in place for a reason. The Judge who saw over the first adoption case bent the rules for Madonna just because she is Madonna and I think that is worng. I think Madonnas heart is in the right place but she needs to understand that our laws do not ring true for other countries and she does not have to like other countries laws but she does have to respect them.

  55. 55 gary crum
    April 3, 2009 at 17:51

    cross cultural or inter-national adoption is not a simple “right or wrong” issue. Any one of us could make convincing arguments both pro and con. May I offer a “pro” statement.

    First, we are the grandparents of two adopted “cross racial” grandchildren. Our daughter and her husband are absolutely amazing parents and I don’t hesitate to “judge” that their young children are, in fact, better off than they would have been had they not been adopted.

    Our daughter is also currently the president of a local adoptive parents’ support group and I have met adoptive parents with adopted children from nations in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South and Central America. The parents are wonderful parents and the children are health, thriving happy children.

    In 1993 my wife and I spent a month in Kenya, visiting Nairobi, Mombasa with two weeks on photo safari. In both Nairobi and Mombasa we saw hundreds (and I mean that quite literally) of homeless young children living on the streets…begging, stealing, and selling themselves to exist. Many, if not most, of them spent their days running various “games” on tourists and their nights sniffing glue and sleeping in doorways or cardboard boxes. These children are destined to lives of dispair and pain…..unless there is some radical intervention in those lives. Adoption, preferably at a young age before years of damage, is one of the most meaningful interventions possible.

    You can make the argument that everyone “should” live in his/her own culture, village and family. Sure, that’s easy and, frankly, a bit pompous, to say. You can also cite examples of “horrible” adoptive experiences and, I’m sure there are such experiences. However, with proper screening of both child and parents, it’s probable that the lives of both the children and the parents can be enriched.

    The next time you speak out against such adoptions, take a week of and visit the urban centers of some third world nations, personally experience the lives of those homeless children, then try to convince yourself that they should be denied the chance to live in a loving home.

  56. 56 Samuel in Florida
    April 3, 2009 at 17:55

    to the gentleman who claimed that most africans were dissatisfied with their lives in Africa. you couldn’t be more wrong. i am a student studying in the US and i can’t tell you how much i long to go back to africa. nothing can replace the feeling of belonging one feels when he/she is amongst his/her own.

  57. 57 Hazel
    April 3, 2009 at 17:57

    To the woman who was having hysterics about not being able to find her biological family: Why don’t you respect the preferences of your biological parents to put a painful chapter of their life behind them? They were assured of their anonymity when they gave you up. They did it because they believed it was in your interest. And finally, what do you really expect to get from meeting your biological parents? They won’t be an instant family. They won’t make up for all the wrongs you think your adoptive parents did by you. Many sites will allow you to register that you are willing to be contacted if your biological relatives are looking for you – have you considered allowing some mutual consent to this relationship? And before you get huffy, I am also an adopted child. Cope.

  58. 58 steven
    April 3, 2009 at 17:57

    I am a Malawian living in Tampa Bay Florida US. I have to agree with the malawian govt for enforcing the law.

    On the other hand most of this debate indicates a malawian old saying “human never appreciate” Madona is trying to help the helpless and everyone is trying to dictate what and how she should do it. This kid is 3yrs where were all the human rights and where will they be if Madona should decide to leave. Aa a native Malawian who understand the culture Madona decide to take care of Mercy and the entire village. This child will only get a small fraction to none.

  59. 59 Christian
    April 3, 2009 at 17:59

    It is amazing to me how short sighted people can be do you really belive that Madonna could not find easier ways to pull off a publicity stunt. No money does not mean happiness but her kids look pretty happy to me and are living a great life. I am not a fan of hers but it seems funny to me how these judges in countries that have these adoption rings say they are better off in there country why not crack down on the rings instead of the people who want to give the kids a better life.

  60. 60 Luci Smith
    April 3, 2009 at 18:03

    I think that some of the listeners are confusing money with love. Like the Beatles sing, “Money can’t buy me love”.
    I think that the Judge has tried to make a fair descision.
    I grew up in a disfunctional family where my father died when I was a few months old and my mother got a nanny to look after me and my big brother. She was a lovely person but it was not the same as my mother and the stepfather who later came into the picture really screwed things up in a matter of years.
    I think that when the judge looks at Madonna’s family life and how she earns her money, he has to choose whether it is a good environment for a child. Hey, if I lived down the street, I would let he kids play with mine, but I wouldn’t let my kids sleep over at her house or Michael Jackson’s if I had kids. Get real!

    In a time when child abuse is rampant and it is an real issue with all of these people who are not the parents of children, I am not saying that the abovementioned persons are or have been abusing children or have that potential, but just that children have no defenses and are helpless and that it is the job of judges – in Malawi or anywhere else – to look at the whole picture as regards to the welfare of the child.
    Adoption and therapy are completely different processes but being brought up by strangers is going to create issues for most children, despite the good intentions of foster parents (who might have been ripe for therapy themselves!). If you look at people with mental heath issues, many of them stem from not having known their real parents.

  61. April 3, 2009 at 18:12

    I would like to counter the ‘charges’ from the caller in Liberia who said that most people in Africa are unhappy anyway and also went ahead to insinuate they would gladly jump at the opportunity to be adopted.
    My sympathies rest with him, bearing in mind what he and his country have been through. True, not many in Africa would match Madonna’s cashpot but the caller missed the point.
    I frankly feel he is a loser in life who imagines a paradise existing in the West, hence his inability to dissect the facts on the table and deal with relevances.

  62. April 3, 2009 at 18:16

    In her life style, the court is right. It would mke more sense she collects pets like dogs or cats and not children For their future stability they need love and friends not someone to adop them for their sake of adoption.

  63. 63 Ottilie
    April 3, 2009 at 18:36

    To Hazel,

    Every adopted person has the absolute right to know who their birth parents are. And birth parents never have the right to anonymity. I’m not surprised at your very negative reaction to my comments. It only demonstrates, as does the comment of Gary Crum, that the fact that EVERY adoption, whether open or closed, carries a certain amount of trauma for both birth parent and adoptee, is something most people don’t want to hear. They ignore that truth, however, at their own peril. If an adoptee feels they don’t want to search, there is nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, adoptees who are not happy about having been adopted, who are justifiably angry at the persuasive fraud both in international and inland adoptions, certainly do not deserve condemnation.

    For those who are truly open and interested in reading about the subject, I highly recommend Lost and Found, by B. J. Lifton. She is one of the very few researchers who has really probed the psychological effects of adoption, particularly closed adoption, on all three members of the triangle.

    I do think that adoptive parents who are practicing open adoption, staying in touch with the birth parents, being very involved with the children’s birth cultures, are definitely doing the right thing. They should, however, realise that their children still may face some very difficult issues. The more open and understanding they can be, the more they will help their children, and their children will be grateful to them.

    It can be a terrible burden to grow up when your parents are constantly reminding you, either consciously or unconsciously, of how “lucky you are” to be saved from the slums or the orphanage. This can actually be an enormous source of psychological damage. No one denies that any deprived child deserves a loving home, food to eat, all the necessities of life, and a good education. The question is how best to provide this.

  64. 64 cynicalbloke
    April 3, 2009 at 18:40

    One point that everyone has missed in this debate. Growing up in a Third World slum or orphanage is unquestionably a terrible experience, yet there still remains a chance – however slim – of emerging from it psychologically and physically intact.

    Growing up in the household of an obscenely rich pathological narcissist continually courting the paparrazi, however, is an absolutely certain recipe for creating a psychological basket case. In fact, I feel more sorry for these kids if they do get taken up by this bloated ego and third-rate singer. They’re all too likely to choke on their shoeboxes of cocaine before reaching US drinking age.

  65. 65 Ottilie
    April 3, 2009 at 18:42

    Note to Hazel: I forgot to mention I am in touch with some members of my birth family. These are some of the most wonderful, fulfilling relationships I have had in my life. Some of my birth relatives were not happy for me to get in touch with them, and I left them alone. Others were delighted, and the experience has been beyond words.

  66. 66 archibald in Oregon
    April 3, 2009 at 20:26

    The fact that anyone is still having children is ridiculous. Children are born everyday into the poverty filled regions of this country alone without a thought in the world, other than adding another child to the collection and affording more welfare benefits per child. If someone wants to adopt one more, of the millions of children who are without family, why not. Why do so many people care what celebrities do, there are so many organizations that adopt children into terrible environments under the auspices of doing good. It’s not like Madonna is recruiting a child army so she can overthrow the Grammys.
    Adoption is not a bad thing, unnecessary pregnancies and orphan children are. It seems there is too much money in adoption to establish regional abortion and planned parenthood clinics worldwide, because, if people were truly concerned they would stop population growth, adoption is only solving half of the problem.

  67. 67 Delphic Oracle of Oz
    April 4, 2009 at 00:27

    The answer to so many unwanted children in Africa or any other country and so, adoption, is condoms and birth control for women so they can have a lower birth rate and keep and enjoy their children. As an adoptee, I was a square peg in a round hole although other people may have had a luckier time. All of life is a lottery but let’s make the odds a little better for Africa.

  68. April 4, 2009 at 01:19

    I do not believe the court was right in denying Madonna the second chance to adopt the SECOND child from Malawi. At first, even though Madonna does NOT live in Malawi, she met the criterias to adopt the first child and she followed same to adopt the second. I just think these judges in Malawi are playing politics instead and forgetting about who this child could grow up to be in the short-run with the help of Madonna. As per child trafficking, Madonna is in fact promoting the legal process, by trying to adopt. Others like Madonna with money do not need such a headache to get a child, the go the other way around.

    For those who believed that children who are adopted to parents abroad lose their connection with their country, their surviving relatives, and their language, I would like say that this is not a theory at all. Let me tell you a little about self even though I was never adopted. I have and continued to live on my own without my parents as the result of the war in my country. At first, I lived as a child in Guinea, West Africa, now I am in Japan studying International Relations. I have never forgotten my local language LORMA at all and in fact currently I do speak more other local languages and 3 International Languages: English, French and Japanese respectively. With the education I have now, I am able to connect to any body around the world including my country through the INTERNET. With this view, I strongly believe that one day, I will return to my home of origin not has an unaccompanied child like before, but as a productive citizen who will not only contribute to the development of my country but also promote sustainable peace in the world at large.

    Following this, I like to propose that children/orphans are not always better off staying in their own community. In fact most of these children have their own dreams to accomplish if and only if they would be given the opportunity or rights as other children in the world. Let’s help children in such situation so that they can grow and join the fight against those issues like poverty and illnesses, which made them to become orphans.

    To Madonna, please do not be discourage by this. Could you go to my country Liberia and adopt some children? There are many children whose parent were killed by rebels in Liberia and they are looking out for people like Madonna to help them become self-reliant and have their say on issues concerning their well-being. So I encourage you to look out for children in these situations.

  69. April 4, 2009 at 06:48

    i do not believe that children who grow in their own community are better off than those who don’t. the problem that the local Malawian NGO are mentioning of lack of laws to deal with children adoption beyond the nation’s borders is not new and they have been idle for a very long time yet i see misery in the villages when them are driving expensive posh cars some funded by foreign governments even our own GOM. the question is do these people really have the heart to assist these children? no!!!!! big time. they have not even adopted a child but they are busy enriching themselves and blocking Madonna. Madonna does not have to leave in MAlawi to show that she cares for the children she adopts in fact it is easy to find her if she wants to steal the babies besides media is always monitoring her. i think MAdonna should be allpwed to adopt the girl, Mercy. look at David, he might have been in the pictures of malnutrition by now i guess if Madonna had not adopted him. these kids will grow and enjoy the first class life that we are all dreaming of and allowing MAdonna have them is giving them the right and best chance.

  70. 70 Janet
    April 4, 2009 at 07:27

    There are many American little girls and boys stuck in the foster home system. I have no doubt anyone of them would like to stop being passed around and have a stable home, if that isn’t a misnomer.

    Adoption in this country is long and painful, as I have two sisters which have went through the emotional roller coaster of trying to adopt ,only to give up. As for Madonna, I’m sure any American judge would cut through the red tape for her to adopt an American child due to her stardom. The courts seem to do it anyway for any indescretion a Hollywood star is caught doing.

    As for Americans adopting children from other countries, if you meet the qualifications (married, not single and under 40) and you are rich enough, you are qualified for an international adoption. My sister tried and was ruled out due to her age being in her 40s in most countries and the countries that would accept her age were extremely high price for adoption.

  71. April 4, 2009 at 09:29

    I volunteer for an orphanage in Bangladesh where foreign adoption is banned – the thing is that is not not culturally ‘normal’ for Bangladeshi families to adopt. I have been going there for 8 years and have seen only a handful of kids get adopted (out of over 150). There are still tons of children wandering around the streets there homeless and starving and if some of the kids at the orphanage were adopted to foreign families, the orphanage could help more children get off the streets (funds are limited so we can only take in so many kids). And as to the issue of trafficking, no child trafficker is going to go through a complicated legal process for adoption when in many of these countries they can just pick up a street child and bribe an official to get them out of the country! The whole thing is ridiculous and if Madonna wants to adopt and help a child who will otherwise grow up in poverty and unloved then let her!

  72. 72 Joe Polly
    April 4, 2009 at 13:20

    It takes a village to raise a child.(old African adage)

  73. 73 Dennis Okumu
    April 4, 2009 at 16:24

    Re: Sharon,
    i don’t at all agree with you, Sharon. first, yes, ‘you can’t build a rich town from a poor one’, true. but as sure as the heavens, you can make the poor town a rich one, can’t you? just ponder,

    We are not saying that Madonna should go full swing into rescuing some community in Africa, the point is, use ‘your’ or is it, ‘Her Money’ wiselly and with respect. not in a manner to intimmidate others. and especially the less fortunate.

    Funding a children’s home, starting alittle self help group or perhaps an community based organisation sounds to me like a brilliantly reasonabal idea, what do you think?

  74. 74 A.R.Shams
    April 4, 2009 at 17:28

    Yes, the children have been found grow better in their own community than they do in the stranger one.

    In the context, a wise say goes thus, “Jungle creatures look beautiful in the jungles and children in their mothers’ lap.”

  75. April 5, 2009 at 04:10

    The court probably had reasons to order refusal which are not readily disclosed. why all the publicity about it all? Would there have been so much ado if the request had come from Mrs Anybody from Mauritius for instance?
    If the “pop star” had been discrete could the course of events been different?

  76. 76 Marge
    April 5, 2009 at 07:45

    Of course children are not always better off in their own communities, what an absurd notion. Time to take a reality check you idealists. I know if I was that Malawi child I would prefer to brought up in the comfort and privilege that Modonna offers.

    Its just her “music” I would not care for. Imagine that all day long!

  77. 77 MaraMara
    April 5, 2009 at 16:42

    I am glad the adoption was rejected. The residency laws regarding adoption is there for a reason and in Madonnas case it was an opportunity learn about where this child comes from a first hand point of view (since she did not do it the first time around). But what wound up happening was Madge appeared to have picked the kid out from a catalog and flew in for the red tape paper work and left when the outcome was not in her favor. If it were me I would have stayed and done whatever the law asked of me to get my child. But in Madges defense we are two different types of parents with different priorities.

  78. 78 globalcomedy
    April 6, 2009 at 02:57

    If she does lots of positve things for kids there (and the country as well), all the better. And while I’ve never met Madonna, the current Malawi law says that prospective parents have to be residents there for at least 18 months.

    This leaves a few options:
    Continue trying to adopt. And respect and work within the Malawi legal system to do this.
    Stop your attorney from making arrogant statements like “there’s no court that would dare to turn HER down” (if they really did that say that).
    Also, what about the devestating effects of divorce on kids? She adopted a boy from Malawi, and then got divorced. How has the this affected him? How come nobody in the MSM ever talks about this? Is it because it’s boring and doesn’t sell newspapers?

    Look at all the aspects of this case (if you really want to draw attention in a good way) to adoption. Not the usual Madonna Hype rubbish.

  79. 79 Will, British Columbia
    April 6, 2009 at 09:04

    Listened to the podcast at work today, what strikes me with the addoption issue here is that within our own countries, I speak of canada and England is that there are lots of kids who need homes and families, lots of kids with physical or mental disabilities who perhaps aren’t the easiest of children to raise, but nonetheless, need shelter, support and love. Maybe those people who are seeking to adopt need to start looking closer to home before going abroad.

  80. 80 stephen short
    April 6, 2009 at 13:54

    to all the people who say children are better off left in their own envoiroment and should not be cut off from their culture is a posh way of saying leave them in poverty.

  81. 81 Helen
    April 7, 2009 at 09:33

    Madonna, you just go on, I believe that what is right will never become wrong by force from the world. Wish you and the lovely kid a happy ending.

  82. 82 Larissa
    April 7, 2009 at 19:12

    Celebrities and their money: it is (and will always be) a point of discussion. The Beckham’s buying clothes for thousands of dollars, Michael Jackson hires a whole mall to be able to shop ‘quietly’,… Numerous examples can be found in the media. But when it comes to buy and sell human beings, meanings are divided. While some argue that the child in question gets the opportunity to leave poverty, others think the child loses its bond with their country of origin.

    Objectively spoken, one could argue that adoption includes a number of advantages for the child. But not only the child benefits from the adoption, the star as well profits of the attention. First of all it can be seen that the child gets a chance for a better life, away from misery and poverty and into wealth and luxury. Secondly it can be seen that the celebrities put adoption back on the public agenda. Media report on the issue, which leads to the fact that people start debating on the issue. By thinking about adoption, some people might get convinced to adopt a child themselves.

    When talking about the issue, people list a couple of disadvantages for the child. Firstly the child could get isolated from its hometown when the celebrity doesn’t take her adopted child on holiday to its hometown. In this case it is the celebrity’s responsibility to make the child feel connected with its roots. In the Madonna case it could be argued that the star had selected the Malawian child on beauty only. In that case it would not be acceptable for the court to approve the adoption. The celebrity should give concrete arguments why she has chosen a child instead of just picking a child from a list. Finally one could argue that celebrities us their status as a means to bypass the law.

    When taking all together, it can be seen that celebrity’s adoption has its advantages and disadvantages. But when the adoption takes place for the right reasons and under the right circumstances, why shouldn’t they be allowed to adopt a child, just like all other people?

  83. 83 Dennis Junior
    April 10, 2009 at 04:32

    On:air: Are children always better off in their own community?
    Depending on many criteria….Yes they are better off in their own community….

    The court in the Madonna case was not accurated regarding this…case!

    ~Dennis Junior~

  84. 84 Melody
    April 21, 2009 at 22:45

    Depending on where and with who the child ends up, can be determined whether it is better off with its new family or in its own community. Also nowadays the level of racism is quite low in most developed countries and the greater part of the population is rather open minded when it comes to other cultures. It just all depends on the circumstances, which are the critical factor.

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