The current hot news story is Madonna adopting a Malawian half-orphan.

Actually I’m not sure if you can be a half-orphan or not: This little lad has lost his Mum, and his Dad can’t care for him, so Madonna’s adopted him. The main fuss seems to be that Madonna – because of wealth and celebrity – is said to have bypassed the normal adoption procedures, effectively just waltzing in as if she was in a pet shop and saying “I’ll have that one”, and breezing out again, leaving a bodyguard and a nanny to bring her new toy…sorry, I mean child…home.

She says that all she wants to do is make life better for a child, and on the face of it, that’s difficult to argue with.

  • Is it a good thing to make a child’s life better? Well, yes, of course it is
  • Is a child better brought up as a millionaire’s child in London, than a pauper in Malawi? Well, undoubtedly – at least in purely material terms

But I can’t help thinking that if Madonna and her husband just wanted to make someone’s life better, her money would have been better spent making it financially possible for the boy to grow up in comfort with his own family. For the financial commitment they’re accepting in bringing baby David to the UK, they could sponsor dozens of children growing up in their own home communities. Of course adopting a child isn’t only about money, it’s about love – although I have to wonder how much love is shown in leaving a child to be escorted to his new home by a bodyguard and a nanny?

I don’t want to appear judgemental – for all I know, Madonna may sponsor a hundred children through various charity agencies, and there’s absolutely no doubt that David will grow up a lot more comfortably for his adoption (assuming it’s confirmed of course – it’s only interim at the moment). But I can’t help being a bit uneasy that normal procedures appear to have been sidelined, and wondering why.

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