Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Even adoption is sometimes viewed as repugnant

Sometimes even the adoption of a child strikes some people as a repugnant transaction that should be prevented. The recent case of the singer Madonna, in Malawi to adopt a second child, is an example. But the same point of view surfaces sometimes in the U.S.

The Ethicist column in the NY Times describes the issue: Madonna and Child "There is a creepy evocation of colonialism when a rich American or European swoops into a poor African nation and grabs a child, as if the country were a baby plantation. Critics charge that the adoptive parents benefit from the persistence of poverty. They do, but in much the same way as Lenny Bruce described the modus operandi of Jonas Salk, J. Edgar Hoover and himself: “These men thrive upon the continuance of disease, segregation and violence.” That is, they respond to but do not promote human misery. (O.K., except for Hoover.) "

In the end, a court approved the adoption, reversing a lower court.
Malawi court approves Madonna's adoption of Mercy

"Madonna has succeeded in her attempt to adopt a second child from Malawi after an appeal court overrode residency demands and ruled that “every child has the right to love”.
The decision by the African state’s highest court means the singer could take four-year-old Chifundo “Mercy” James to New York within days.
But it will do nothing to silence complaints that Madonna has used her wealth and celebrity to bypass the country’s laws."
...
"Madonna’s application to adopt Chifundo was initially rejected by a lower court in April because the singer is not resident in Malawi, and because a judge decided that the young girl would fare perfectly well in the orphanage where she has lived. " (emphasis added)
...
"But at Malawi’s Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday a panel of three judges said that the singer’s commitment to helping disadvantaged children should have been taken into account. Madonna has founded a charity, Raising Malawi, for orphans there.
They also argued that the residency disqualification was a narrow interpretation of largely outdated laws.
...
"The Human Rights Consultative Committee said it fears that the ruling has opened up the country’s vulnerable children to trafficking. "

Notice that the initial Malawi judge found the adoption so repugnant that he preferred to leave the child in an orphanage. (I doubt that even in Malawi the judge thought the child would be better off in the orphanage than in a family; rather his feeling must have been that something about the adoption was so repugnant that Malawians should be willing to have the child bear this cost.)

This kind of repugnance, with children bearing the cost, is found not only in the developing world. In the US, the National Association of Black Social Workers is also well known for its opposition to transracial adoption. Until relatively recently, this opposition led to adoption practices in the U.S. that discouraged interracial adoption, and often prevented minority children from finding permanent adoptive families. This began to change only with legislation in the 1990's: see
A Guide to The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 As Amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996
"The Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) was enacted in 1994 amid spirited and sometimes contentious debate about transracial adoption and same-race placement policies. At the heart of this debate is a desire to promote the best interests of children by ensuring that they have permanent, safe, stable, and loving homes that will meet their individual needs. This desire is thwarted by the persistent increases in the number of children within the child protective system waiting for, but often not being placed in, adoptive families. Of particular concern are the African American and other minority children who are dramatically over-represented at all stages of this system, wait far longer than Caucasian children for adoption, and are at far greater risk of never experiencing a permanent home. Among the many factors that contribute to placement delays and denials, Congress found that the most salient are racial and ethnic matching policies and the practices of public agencies which have historically discouraged individuals from minority communities from becoming foster or adoptive parents. MEPA addressed these concerns by prohibiting the use of a child's or a prospective parent's race, color, or national origin to delay or deny the child's placement and by requiring diligent efforts to expand the number of racially and ethnically diverse foster and adoptive parents."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The charity 'Raising Malawi' (PR firm) founded by Madonna AND TWO OTHERS over three years ago held fund raisers for over two years before finally getting registered as a non-profit. In other words, Madonna and the others were free to squander the lion's share of that funding any way they saw fit for those first two years. She also pleaded with her fans worldwide for donations along the way. In the meantime, she toured the world to promote her latest CD and raked in another $280,000,000 gross in just over 12 months. To date, the basic financial info for 'Rasing Malawi' still hasn't been posted on the website or anywhere else. The 'progress' page only tells of the collective works by over 20 seperate charities. Each of which have their own sources of funding and may have recieved some sort of promotion or support from 'Raising Malawi' in order to be considered 'partners'. But no indication is made how much of their funding came from 'Raising Malawi' or how much of their progress if any could be directly attributed to 'Raising Malawi'. The fans/donors have no clue how many millions of dollars were raised in that first two years, no clue how much Madonna herself chipped in, and no clue how the money was spent before they finally registered as a non-profit. No clue what tiny little fraction of funding or works listed on that 'progress' page could be directly attributed to 'Raising Malawi'. Nothing to go on but the vague word of Madonna. The vague and very misleading word of Madonna. For example: She states in her latest promotional video that she will match any contributions made to her charity (PR firm) "dollar for dollar". However there is a disclaimer posted on the website for 'Raising Malawi' that Madonna's total contribution will not exceed $100,000. Thats not per donation. Thats a maximum of $100,000 TOTAL. Less than a single days pay for Madonna. Also much less then she will surely rake in by promoting her own CDs, DVDs, and 'for profit' merchandise through this massive worldwide publicity stunt. So I called the office of 'Raising Malawi' in an attempt to verify some sort of efficient financial operation (310) 867-2881 or (888) 72-DONOR). These details are ALWAYS made available by legitimate charities to their potential donors. But not in this case. I got nothing but recorded messages and hangups. So I did some research on my own. 'Rasing Malawi' still hasn't been given any kind of rating by ANY independent charity watchdog like Charitywatch.org. The vast overwhelming majority of 'celebrity' foundations never are. In general, they are inneficient and riddled with corruption. Like the promotion of CDs, world tours, commercial websites, entire lines of jewelry (not just the single piece from which proceeds are donated), and high end fashion retail flagship stores. Celebrity foundations are also notorious for squandering much of their funding on travel and super high end accomodations for their celebrity figure heads. Its legal even for a nonprofit but not noble or efficient by any stretch of the imagination. In general, 'celebrity' foundations are a twisted inefficient mutant of charity, self-promotion, and PR crap. They actually compete for funding with more efficient legitimate charities who do more work with less money. Its a sham. So if its not rated, then don't support it. Instead, support a top rated charity like any of those given high ratings at Charitywatch.org.