Madonna-Style Adoption

Fashion Frill

The rash of international "Madonna Style" adoptions has come under scrutiny since a study by University of Liverpool researchers found the practice has led to a burgeoning of the numbers of children in EU orphanages. But this may not be the only concern related to celebrity inter-country adoptions. The media hype surrounding these happy events has a tendency to turn the adopted child into a kind of fashion frill, no matter how sincere the celebrities' mien appears to be.

Raising Malawi

Madonna's stated mission behind her adoption of a Zambian child was to, "raise Malawi." Brangelina say that by raising a "rainbow family" they are saving the world. There is something unsavory about adoption with ulterior motives, no matter how good these motives may appear.

Some experts, such as child psychologist Kevin Browne, suggest that these moral missions of the celebrities don't take into account the rights of the child and he is pressing for better adherence to the UN Convention of Rights of the Child which condones international adoption except in the case where all other means of placing the child in his home country have been exhausted.

Others feel that this moral stance may not be a good overview of the total picture of international adoption. For while there is something obscene about international adoption viewed as a tool to save the world, or fight poverty, it doesn't seem fair to deprive an orphan a better home if he can get one in a country other than the one in which he was born. His rights should include the betterment of his station.

There is another consideration: interracial, international adoption can help to form bonds between people of differing ethnicities when this is done without false-intentioned flaunting.

Some people find the "Madonna effect" to be patronizing to the Third World as a kind of damsel in distress requiring rescue by white and western celebrities. Madonna ignored laws that forbade non-residents to adopt Malawi children as if her sensibilities were more worthy of respect than the laws of a third world country. There is something repugnant in her skirting the laws of a sovereign country as if she knows better than the residents what is good for them.

International adoption should be found on mutual respect between varying ethnicities, cultures, and religions. Otherwise, how can society ensure that the adopted child will be seen as a valid member of western society? There is a fear that the child will be the victim of unconscious patronization.

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