Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Human Rights Organizations Want a Say in Madonna Adoption

Poor Madonna! First her NBC concert special flopped big time (seriously, it was outperformed by Fox's airing of Cheaper by the Dozen), and now everyone and their brother wants a say in her adoption of David Banda. On Wednesday, a Malawian judge ruled in favor of a coalition of 67 Malawian human rights and child advocacy groups who want to be party to the assessment of her fitness as a mother.

Madonna stirred up some local controversy when she took Banda to England soon after filing for adoption, when Malawi regulations require that prospective parents undergo an 18- to 24-month assessment in the country.

"I must stress that all along we have not been against the adoption but we only wanted Malawi's adoption laws clarified and followed to the letter," said one of the petitioners, a Malawian lawyer and human rights activist. "Today's ruling gives us the opportunity to clear (up) some gray areas surrounding adoption laws in Malawi."

At first glance, the implication of this seems crazy: how could this kid possibly be better off in a Malawi orphanage than living as Madonna's son? But the human rights activists want to protect the process of adoption in their country; if these rules can be circumvented by Madonna, they reason, they can be circumvented by pedophiles and human traffickers. It's an argument that makes sense, and I'm siding with the human rights folks on this one.

I'm sure this is hell for Madonna, though. I once took my cat, Max, who I found as a stray, to the vet for a routine check-up. The vet found a little chip implanted in him that said he belonged to a different owner. She had to call the owner, and she told me my cat would have to be returned if his original owner wanted him. It took about 20 minutes to get ahold of the owner, who had lost the cat long ago and already replaced him, but I spent all 20 of those minutes crying and being generally inconsolable. It's a stupid example, I know, but I can't even imagine the hell it would be to have to go through this with a child. Especially since the government's first assessment of her fitness as a mother isn't scheduled until next May. Hopefully this will work out satisfactorily for all parties, and we can return our attention to more interesting matters, like where Britney Spears will next treat us all to a look at her hairless goodies.

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