Madonna and (another) child

madonna's familyMadonna’s won her appeal to adopt a second child from Malawi.

This morning i was reading this piece by Jacques Peretti who tracked down the family of 3 year old Mercy James :

“When I use Madonna’s name out loud in one village, I am told to hush. Using Madonna’s name in vain could frighten her (and her cash) away forever. Given all of the above, how could anyone in the west disagree with what Madonna’s doing? ”

But as Mr Peretti points out :

“The fact is that we do. Madonna is portrayed as a baby-grabbing gorgon, lambasted by everyone from Saturday Night Live to Graham Norton.”


So, do you think she’s done right by Mercy ? Should people who can give a better life to a child, do so ? Even if it means they will be taken away from their family, friends and country ?

The development agency Plan has said it couldn’t condone “whisking a single child off to a fairytale lifestyle in Hollywood”

Should she – and anyone else- help impoverished Malawian children by donating to charities, setting up children’s homes and putting pressure on their own governments to do the same ?

Anna Feuchtwang, from the charity Everychild has previously said the focus should be on helping vulnerable families..

“This may be less glamorous than international adoption by pop stars but it is the only viable solution to provide safe and secure homes for all of Africa’s children.”

Finally, here’s a debate about the issue.

13 Responses to “Madonna and (another) child”

  1. 1 Jennifer
    June 12, 2009 at 12:59

    Re: So, do you think she’s done right by Mercy ? Should people who can give a better life to a child, do so ? Even if it means they will be taken away from their family, friends and country?

    I guess it depends on how one defines “better” life. Stars make adopting children internationally seem like a fashion statement. Madonna, in my opinion, has done exactly that. If these individuals are so keen to have a child, why do they never adopt an American child?

  2. 2 Katy, Cleveland
    June 12, 2009 at 13:11

    The thing about Madonna is that she continues to adopt in a country that has rules regarding the residency of the adopter. To me, she’s showing that she does not care anything about Malawi aside from its willingness to give her children, despite the money she has left their in her fund. Money is all well and good and something needed, but so is a respect for laws and culture. If she cares that little about the laws of the land, how much is she going to care about her new daughter’s history, culture, religion? I’d say it would be a tough call because Mercy will now have incredible opportunities but it may be at the cost of her life as she now knows it.

    • June 12, 2009 at 14:25

      Kathy, the laws are made for citizens, not citizens for the law. It is wrong for Malawi to have laws discriminating against the recidency of the adopter without providing local avenues for the children to achieve their potentials.
      Besides, Madonna’s success upon appeal shows that the laws are not strictly against such foreigner-adoptions.
      Madonna alone cannot help all of Africa’s children, she has to start somewhere and will one day stop somewhere too… I see no reasons why Malawi should not fall somewhere in between.
      The child will care more about her future under Madonna in the USA than a culture in Africa which is by the way being fed by Hollywood, makes no difference.

  3. 4 deryck/trinidad
    June 12, 2009 at 13:15

    If the child truly has better life then that’s great but we don’t really know. Giving to charity for the devlopment of homes is a problem especially in third world countries as there is little transparency and accountability and billions of dollars disappear into an abyss.

  4. 5 Babbage
    June 12, 2009 at 13:38

    “Given all of the above, how could anyone in the west disagree with what Madonna’s doing? “

    I don’t . If she needs a child to match her latest accessories – so what?

    She makes more cash then a small country and should have a place to herself at the U.N.

  5. 6 Ann
    June 12, 2009 at 13:40

    While on a holiday in France recently I saw a white couple who had obviously adopted black African twins. Yet no one was pointing the finger and asking them what their motives were, how they managed it, or did they think they had ‘bought’ these children.

    I think there are some very serious ethical issues to be considered in situations like this, none the least of which is the child’s sense of identity, but
    I do wonder to what extent Madonna is being judged because she is white, rich, famous and divorced?

    Adoption is a huge emotional, psychological and financial ‘investment’. But just like giving birth to one’s own child and raising that child, adoption is not a completely altruistic act – there are elements of fulfilling one’s own needs. But should Madonna be judged differently that any other would be adoptive parent or any would be parent for that matter?

  6. June 12, 2009 at 14:17

    Hi WHYS,
    What is a ‘family’ to a child if it cannot provide food, clothing, shelter, and a meaningful education? All those criticizing Madonna, what is your idea of a family? 15 hungry children sleeping on straw mats in a single room?
    As an African, my heart desire is for African children to grow up in Africa and be the best they can… but seeing that I cannot help lots of African children do that, I have to thank those who can, and are doing that like Madonna even if it means taking them out of Africa. It is better for Mercy to go to the US and have a decent education than to be left in Africa hawking peanuts.
    Those Africans, complaining are only begrudging Madonna for doing what they should be doing. The way I see it, Mercy may enjoy playing, and eating good food in Malawi, but she won’t mind (and may prefer) having same in America.
    Our politicians should stop stockpiling our national wealth in Swiss vaults, our leaders should stop fighting over who gets to be minister and our businessmen and women should stop fighting over who gets to be in Forbes top 20… until then, those who can and want to help the African child should do so (whoever they maybe, wherever they may be from, and in whatever way they can help), those who can’t should support those who are helping out while everyone else should keep quite. There is so much talk of what should and what should not be done for children in Africa that very little gets done.
    Hey Madonna, if they give you so much trouble in Malawi, come to my village!

  7. 8 Jessica in NYC
    June 12, 2009 at 14:38

    “Should people who can give a better life to a child, do so ? Even if it means they will be taken away from their family, friends and country ?”

    The answer is not “black and white”. Simply having the financial means does not equal a better life and being “taken away” implies that the adoptive child’s family wanted and could afford to keep the child. Family who are put up a child for adoption for whatever reason give up their legal right to the child.

    Parents cannot dictate where or how a child will live, they gave up their parental right to have a say. Adoption agencies and governments have the obligation to safe guard foster care children and ensure the adoptive parent is in fact able to offer the child quality of better life.

  8. 9 patti in cape coral
    June 12, 2009 at 17:53

    Having seen bare-foot 6 year-olds in a third world country running in the streets between buses to get on them to sell candies their mothers made, I don’t think it is such a horrible thing to take them to a place where they can be clothed, fed, educated, and hopefully cherished and loved. I’m not saying these kid’s parents don’t love them, but when you are struggling just to survive, it doesn’t leave time and energy for much else. I would bet most of these parents would give up their children if they thought they could have a better future elsewhere.

  9. 10 WorldCitizen
    June 12, 2009 at 21:44

    For me, the issue isn’t who is adopting. The issue is that this child is not a true orphan in a sea of many many true orphans. Why must this woman adopt from a country lacking the regulatory oversight and paths for international adoption when there are several countries open to adoption for US citizens? Why must this woman chose a child with a family who has spent three years resisting this adoption when there are children surrounding her with no families at all?

    Perhaps courts would have determined it was still in this child’s best interest to be raised in a foreign country by a traveling single pop star. It isn’t for us to say. But without even giving the grandmother and supposed biological father a seat at the table, the courts rejected all available information and couldn’t possibly make a true decision on the best interest of the child.

  10. June 13, 2009 at 12:43

    There is nothing wrong with anybody adopting children. In fact in many countries, the laws are so rigorous regarding who is to adopt children that it is clear that adoption is actively not encouraged by authorities. This is done regardless of the fact that the world is clearly producing children in families that are collapsing due to various kinds of societal exigencies. It’s typical of the brain-dead nature of the “celebrity” culture that the media hypes adoption up when it should be discussed as a natural debating issue.

  11. 12 globalcomedy
    June 15, 2009 at 05:18

    It’s a you-can-never-win situation. She has two biological kids and one adopted. Now, another one. If they have a loving parent and better opportunities,. that’s one thing.

    Another example: Bradgelina. They have 3 adopted kids and 3 biological. They refuse to marry (for whatever reason). What effects does that have on the kids?

    Which one is a better situation? I don’t know.

  12. 13 T
    June 22, 2009 at 04:08

    As well intentioned as she may be, Madonna can’t get away from the appearance of “buying” her adopted kids.

    If you’re a poor family in Malwai and the rich foreigner comes along, what do you do? She donates lots of money for schools, etc. She gets tons of global press on this. Does this entitle her to get anything that she wants?

    I’d say no. Then again, if you’re in Malawi and someone provides these needed things for you, how do you stand up that hype?

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