Friday, October 13, 2006

Malawian Eye of the Child Advocates Protest Madonna's Adoption attempt

Well, there we go. It made the BBC headlines. It's apparently true that she's trying to adopt, and there are are other people bothered by it. There are many layers of irony in this case, but I do not have the time to try to pick it all apart right now. Let the link suffice.


Texter said...

Hey, even Oprah is dedicating (or dedicated) a show to the Madonna affair.

Talatu-Carmen said...

Yes, I continue to follow the affair, although with slightly less enthusiasm now. From the beginning I realized it was a very complex affair, and I read the articles about the father telling the human rights groups that it is none of their business. I understand why he would feel like that. This is a chance that I know many other African parents (whether pc or not) would feel obligated to accept. But, it is also telling what he said (and these are all sound bites, so who knows what's really going on) that he never intended to give up his son forever and say he was completely Madonna's child--no, he has ceded him over for them to raise and educate--which is a model that is, from what I've seen in Nigeria, at least, fairly common. Of course children go to live with aunts or uncles or friends, and it is no big deal, but there is no severing of name or of background. You still know who your family is. So, if Madonna is willing to understand and accept that model, and take David back to see his family and let him stay for summers to hang out with his dad and his aunts and uncles and grandparents and learn Chichewa etc., then maybe it will still end up being a beneficial contact for the family. But I imagine that my ideal scenario is very over-simplifying and that it will likely not happen like that.

So, I still think it would have been more ethical for her to sponsor the family to give them the opportunity to raise the child than to run off with the baby. But, the further it goes, the more complex it becomes and the more entwined the baby becomes in both places. There are no easy answers. I'm not AGAINST adoption in general, or international adoptions. I just think that particularly in this case, and in celebrity cases, with the kind of language that is used, and the (probably unconscious) patronization that goes on.... it's very problematic. I'm glad I'm not a policy maker who has to make these decisions, but I do think that policy-makers should be aware of the layers of irony and of ideology that go into these decisions.