The debate continues over whether Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie should be permitted to finalize their adoption of a 13-month-old boy who was in an orphanage in Malawi.
As a mother whose daughter was adopted internationally, I say, unless you’ve actually added to your family through adoption, you don’t have a right to be critical of her or anyone who has adopted a child, regardless of whether celebrity or commoner.
Can anyone really think that somebody would add a child to a family as a publicity stunt? From what I’ve been reading in the papers and on the blogosphere, apparently the answer is ‘yes.’ But, in my book, that’s some serious, over-the-top cynicism.
Please, feel free to criticize Madonna about a lot of other things, but you can bet that any family that has decided to go down the adoption road has not made that decision lightly. I have a hard time envisioning this conversation:
Madonna: Oh, Guy, I’m so bored, what with my international career, raising two children and writing books. Plus, I haven’t been in People magazine for weeks — I KNOW, let’s fly to Africa for the afternoon and adopt a baby!
Guy: Uh-OK, Madge. I’ll just reschedule my tee time.
There is no question that there are important issues that need to be addressed for any adoption, like making sure all the procedures were followed to ensure that a child is placed in a safe and loving home and preparing the parents for the ultimate issues that can and will arise for adoptees, such as keeping a transracially adopted child connected with their birth culture, addressing any attachment issues that can arise and answering their children’s questions about adoption as openly and honestly as possible.
No one ever accused Madonna (or any other person on the face of the planet other than maybe Michael Jackson) for having a bio child as a publicity stunt. You can bet if, at 48, she had turned up pregnant with her third child, the media would be celebrating her condition. So why excoriate her when the child is adopted?
Whether she should have chosen a child who had a living bio parent is a separate question in my book. The widowed father placed his son in an orphanage because he had two other children to care for, and was struggling to do that. Given the realities of life in Malawi, odds are he wasn’t coming back for his son anytime soon. But Madonna could have saved herself and her family a lot of media grief if she had chosen another child.
If Madonna can provide a loving home for this child, everyone should back off.
No parenting situation is perfect, bio or adoptive. But no matter what the ultimate issues are that arise for transracially adopted children, isn’t it better to be raised in a home with caring and loving parents rather than in an orphanage?
Do I have to answer that question?