Thursday, October 19, 2006

Madonna Baby Father Excoriates Critics

I've avoided the Madonna baby adoption story because that's not really my thing. But I was sturck by this BBC interview with the father of the boy that was adopted. His anger at the people who want to try and stop the adoption -- which the government insists was perfectly legal -- is very understandable. The man had already made the ultimate sacrifice of giving up his son and seeing the boy placed in an orphanage. I'm gonna go out on a limb and imagine an orphanage in Malawi that's accessible to a dirt-broke farmer probably isn't a lot of fun. Now his son has basically won the lottery by being adopted by a wealthy person in the UK and while the father may regret not being able to raise the boy himself, that bridge was crossed long ago. You can make fun all you want about celebrities getting a "set" of kids the way other people buy tchotkes. But the truth is that Madonna and Angelina Jolie and any other celebrity who adopts a kid has absolutely no need to do so and we can and should assume they are doing it out of kindness and love. Why else would they bother when they know they're going to be attacked and humiliated for it? (It happened to Jolie, why wouldn't it happen to Madonna?) And yet they do it anyway, even though they're capable of giving birth themselves. There's a worldwide glut of unwanted children -- especially non-white children and if everyone thinking of having two kids would adopt just one, millions of lives would be improved tremendously -- and not just the lives of the kids. The father said,
"Where were these people when David was struggling in the orphanage?" Yohane Banda told the AP news agency.... "These so-called human rights groups should leave my baby alone," he added. "I was alone with a baby, I had no money. I couldn't buy him milk. That's why I surrendered him to the orphanage," he said. "Orphanage life is no good. We leave kids there because we can't look after them properly ourselves. Now my son has been taken by a kind-hearted woman, these people want to bring him back to the orphanage," he added. The child's grandmother, Asianati Mwale, 56, backed Mr Banda. "Where were they when I and my son were trying to get someone to look after this child? Do they even know what we have had to go through to save the life of David?," she said. "We trust that Madonna will look after our child well and he will have a better life," she added.


Ed Sikov said...

"Madonna and Angelina Jolie and any other celebrity who adopts a kid has absolutely no need to do so and we can and should assume they are doing it out of kindness and love...."

Tina? Tina, daaaarling?!

"Maybe I did it for a little pub-lic-i-ty...."

Michael in New York said...

Yes :) But really, the last thing either of them needs is publicity -- and Madonna especially is smart enough to know she would be mocked and belittled for doing this.

I am not Star Jones said...

I do hope that David is raised in an environment full of love and security. I do hope that Madonna and Guy provide an incredible family to call his own.

But you have to admit that there are many children in Appalachia or Newo Orleans that are orphans and poor that Angelina, Madonna, Bono could also adopt.

This eagerness by celebrities to fetishize the suffering of Africa yet bypass the reasons why why Africa is and remains so f**ked up (nice to meet you colonialism, imperialism and corrupt dictators) is what makes their actions and choices suspect.

on a completely different topic, have you heard that Denzel, Kanya and Will are adopting Britney's two children? They didn't want the little boys to grow up in that environment.

Michael in New York said...

That Britney adoption joke is funny. There are many children desperate for homes here in the US, yes and not just in Appalachia or New Orleans. Every state has kids who will never get adopted, especially non-white kids over two years old. In a philosophical sense, your analysis is right and could make one feel squeamish. (Though I do think Bono has devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to rather effectively and realistically tackle the endemic problems of Third World debt and now AIDS in Africa. And he hasn't adopted a kid, has he?) But since Madonna and Jolie don't have to adopt any kids from anywhere in the world and I just have to presume they're not doing it as a "hobby" or just to "accesiorize," then I have to see it as a net positive. Surely anything that makes adoption mainstream or cool is good? Or am I just ignoring the icky aspects of this?