Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Tell NYT readers what you think about Celebrity and International Adoptions
We’ve written about Madonna and Malawi Mercy before but it’s worth another pass.
Here’s a chance to let New York Times readers know what you think about international adoption. The Times “Room for Debate” column has invited readers to comment on Madonna’s attempted adoption of a three-year old Malawi girl, Mercy, and international adoptions in general.
The Times included articles from six well-known commentators; four spouted the usual drivel about how the need for children to grow up in stable families trumped the perceived need for children to stay with their families and in their country. Throwing a bone to culturalism, they mentioned culture camps and other adornments.
Two writers, journalist E.J. Graff and adoptive father and law professor David Smolin, wrote about the corruption in international adoption and pointed out that most of the children coming from third world countries are not true orphans but very young children of impoverished parents. True orphans are older, often handicapped, and not desired by those interested in adopting. We’ve written before about Graff’s excellent coverage of corruption in international adoption.
The vast majority of the 174 commentators as I write this Tuesday afternoon are persons who adopted children from abroad. They argue that Madonna is a loving mother who will provide a better home for Mercy than her poor father. They (like Tom Lehrer’s old dope peddler) contend that they did well by doing “good”. They met their need for a child -- and they rescued a child from a life of degradation in their native country and culture. They didn’t adopt an American child because few were available except for undesirable foster kids. Some of them sound amazingly smug and are amazed that anyone would oppose the adoption of any child from a Third World country.
I posted the following comment: "Marguerite Wright and other pro-adoption commentators note that 'Research shows that children do best when raised in a supportive, caring family. Mercy has a much better chance of thriving in a family environment with personal attention, educational opportunities and medical care than in an orphanage.'
Madonna is not offering Mercy a supportive, caring family. With Madonna’s commitments and career, Mercy will be raised by nannies and receive little personal attention from Madonna or anyone else. If Madonna were willing to put Mercy’s needs before her own desire for publicity and possession of a child, she would provide funds for Mercy’s family to give her educational opportunities and medical care while being raised in a supportive, caring family, her own.
There are millions of poor children in the world. We need to work on providing all children educational opportunities and medical care rather than snatching a few thousand each year from their loving but poor families to meet the emotional needs of wealthy Americans.”
Let’s add our voices to this debate. Post your comments here and then go to the Times site and add your voice there.