A lot of folks are up in arms over this whole Madonna adoption thing. If you haven't been keeping up on it, here's the scoop: Madonna intended to adopt a 1 year old boy from Malawi. The hitch? The country allegedly expedited the adoption - waiving requirements like a period of local residency - supposedly due to Madonna's notoriety. The result? Many adoptive families are angered and have publicly expressed their outrage over their perception that Madonna "cut" in line.
Frustrated by lengthening waits to adopt, the backlash from international adoptive families has grown, escalating day by day as families find a way to come to terms with this slight of celebrity. The ironic thing is that there really wasn't a "line" to cut in - adoptions from Malawi are rarity, with only three visas granted to Malawian orphans last year.
I have mixed feelings about the fervor over Madonna's decision to adopt. In fact, I'm not really sure what all the commotion is about. Is it the fact that she may have circumvented the system that's the issue? Or is it simply an objection to celebrities toting adoptive babies like handbags that have people squirming? She's a woman who wants to provide a home to a baby who needs one. If she gets her baby sooner than I do, do I have the right to judge whether that child stays in an orphanage or joins a family sooner due to superstar connections? I'm still grappling with that one...
Now the child's father says he didn't really know what the word "adoption" meant. Articles around the world reported today that the father intended for Madonna to raise the child on his behalf until he reached adulthood, but not as "her own". As heartbreaking as this misunderstanding is for all parties involved, there is some good coming out of it. It's about time that media sources acknowledge the fact that adoptive children are a family's "own" children just as if they'd birthed them. And if takes Madonna, the father, and a child halfway around the world to get the nation talking about the crazy wonderful lifetime commitment it takes to become an adoptive parent, then I have some thanking to do to the Material Girl.