Adoption by celebrities and loss of roots

Adoption is not like selling property. It is about safeguarding the future of a human being who, because of his young age, cannot express any opinion. We can see its roots in the Biblical era. Aristotle, the great philosopher; and Moses, the Biblican leader, were adopted. Leo Tolstoy, writer; Edgar Allan Poe, poet; Jean Jacques Rousseau, philosopher; and many others were adopted.

Even though adoptive parents are many, now the trend is adoption by many personalities and celebrities from the field of film — Angelina Jolie, Brooke Adams, Meg Ryan, Nicole Kidman, Sharon Stone, Tom Cruise, Stephen Speilberg, President Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney to name a few adopters. The trend to adopt children is on the rise. Pop diva Madonna adopted a 13-month-old boy, from Malawi. But rather than praise, the entire episode fetched her criticism. Already a mother of two children, with daughter Lourdes and son Rocco, she adopted David Banda, from an orphanage in Malawi. She along with her husband, film maker Guy Ritchie, successfully got an interim adoption order from the Malawi High Court. The world described her action as the “worst kept secret” and termed it as not only “deplorable” but also as “deceitful.” Her action has set off a media storm worldwide.

Though Malawian Law prohibits adoption by non-residents, it does not completely restrict it. It has set guidelines for inter-country adoptions by which people wishing to adopt children are required to spend 18-months being evaluated by Malawian Child Welfare Workers. They will interview the prospective adopters about their relationship, living conditions and past relationships. Despite the set rules, Madonna was able to adopt a child in just two weeks and prove right what George Orwell has said: “All (animals) are equal, but some (animals) are more equal than others”! Everyone can easily know that she doesn’t fulfill the set guidelines. Madonna’s life of erotic and pornographic dancing is an open secret and no one can ever forget her numerous dates.

When Madonna went to Africa, she vehemently denied that she wanted to adopt a child from there. She said that her visit was at the request of “Eye of the Child”, a child rights group in Malawi, which wanted her to fund existing programmes in the country to help vulnerable children. But
contrary to this, she came out of the country with a cute black child. Madonna pledged $3 million to a Malawi charity, which aims to provide care and support for the country’s one million (out of a total population of 12 million) orphans. The generosity of the “Material Girl” is not that big a deal, for her fortune is estimated to be $460 million. Even though she says she will give it a better life, in reality she’s not doing a favour to the child. The child needs a family not a saviour in the form of a celebrity. The money spent on the adoption and the child himself could have been spent to help many other children in Malawi.

But the action of celebrities is just an example of the power of their rampant ego. Actress Mia Farrow has adopted 10 children from developing countries since 1970s. Then Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were also planning to adopt a child, and this time an Indian baby. The couple who are in India for filming Jolie’s latest movie, A Mighty Heart based on Daniel Pearl, journalist of Wall Street Journal, hoped to be able to return home with an adopted Indian child by Christmas. “Whichever they end up with, boy or girl, they’d like to name the child “India” to honour its homeland, reported US magazine Globe.

Jolie and Pitt had three children already — Maddox, adopted from a Cambodian orphanage in 2002, Zahara Marley Jolie, Ethiopian baby girl, adopted in 2005, and their biological daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, who was born in May, 2006. Jolie had quoted in the past, “I want to create a rainbow family, that’s children of different religions and cultures from different countries.”

Only Madonna could answer questions like why she did not adopt a child who was an orphan and why she didn’t pledge to personally support David’s father and other remaining family members to get David out of an orphanage so that he remained in Malawi. Madonna could spend a part of her fortune on poor and developing countries if she really wanted to help them. There is no second opinion that she could not do it. While everyone is concerned about adoption, has anyone thought about the emotional problems which it faces as it starts growing up? Jolie referred to the “Rainbow Family” of different cultures and colours. But at the end, they will be left with only with original complexion and not their original culture. All the adopted children will be brought up in a Western milieu and there will be no space for ethnicity or roots. They will become alien to both the countries and cultures. Jolie wants to have a family with different cultures but in reality, will it be possible to retain the original culture? If so, the children may fight over their complexion — dark versus light.

Family bonding is also different from that enjoyed in the developing and poor countries. The warmth and so-called affection found in a close knit family may become a hindrance in their growth and emotional set-up. A mother puts the needs of her child above the wants of her heart, but when asked in the television interview if Madonna would retire to focus on her children full time, she replied, “No. I love my job.”

When the celebrities are thronging the under developed countries to adopt children, Harvey Gallagher of the “British Association for Adopting and Fostering” said in an interview to CNN, “There are many children who have benefited from inter-country adoption, but we would like to remind people that there are also as many as 4,000 children across the UK right now who are waiting for permanent and loving homes.”

Let celebrities adopt and give a new life to children, but let them adopt from their own countries. If they really mean to help the poor orphans in the under-developed countries, let them part with a small portion of their fortune and help children to retain their roots in their own mother land.

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