Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Madonna Controversy

Many people have been crying foul as Madonna goes to Malawi to adopt her second child. Several agencies have suggested her daughter-to-be would be better off in her home environment, as would any child. She faced similar criticisms when she adopted her son David Banda from Malawi a year and a half or so ago.

Here's my take - obviously in a perfect world, children would never be taken out of their homes. Their parents would love them and raise them, no one would have more children than they could handle, or be unable to have children they want so very much. Everyone would be able to have just the family they want - nothing more and nothing less. But that is not the case, unfortunately, and the same fates which left Ari and I unable to have 'children of our own' (I hate that expression), leaves parents with children they cannot raise, and children without parents.

In both David's case, and new baby girl's case, as far as Madonna goes, they were in orphanages in a very poor African country. The former had a widowed father who could not take care of him; to my understanding, the latter is actually an orphan. Madonna is many things I dislike, but compared to many other celebrities she has raised her children well - we know of them, she does not hide them or make them unnecessarily afraid of the spotlight she lives in, but she also doesn't exploit them to it. She provides a good home environment with rules we all should live by in terms of TV watching, junk food, etc. Yes she is at this point a single mother, having divorced ex-husband Guy Ritchie, but they seem to at least have an amicable co-parenting arrangement. To be raised by a very wealthy, yet down to earth (as far as child-rearing is concerned) woman as opposed to dirt poor and effectively parentless in Malawi, is far preferable.

Is it important children know their roots and their culture? Yes - and Madonna provides that. She took David Banda back to Malawi with her this trip and introduced him to his biological father - a man who I have no doubt loves David, and wishes he could parent him. I admire his willingness, despite, I'm sure, missing his son deeply, to provide as good a life for him as he could. I'm sure he wishes he could have made a different decision, but he felt he couldn't - no one took the child away from him, he gave him up. I fail to see where staying in an orphanage, or being adopted to other, poor parents within Malawi, would be a better life for David or his soon-to-be-sister than the one they have been and are about to be provided.

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