Going To A Good Home

The most extraordinary of the stories reporting the row over Madonna‘s efforts to adopt a child in Malawi was the one in The Sunday Times that said the baby boy’s family wanted to come to the U.K. to make sure he wouldn’t be brought up in poverty.

It says Pofera Banda, the baby’s uncle, and other relatives want to pop over from Malawi from time to time to check on the child’s welfare and living conditions.

“We want to find out the benefit of the adoption to this family. We have seen other parents who have had their children adopted still living in poverty. They have not seen their children, all they see is pictures. We don’t want that to happen to this family,” he told the paper.

Yohane Banda, the boy’s father, has already given his permission for Madonna to take the child.

Her plan to adopt David Banda, who has been in a Malawi orphanage since his mother died giving birth to him in a mud hut 13 months ago, has come in for a lot of criticism and even the legality of the adoption has been questioned.

Eye Of The Child, Malawi’s main children’s rights group, is applying for an injunction to delay the adoption order. It’s illegal for foreign nationals to adopt a Malawian child, but Madonna has been granted an interim order and special waiver to help her circumvent the law.

Local authorities have reportedly shown such flexibility because Madonna is funding a £2 million orphanage in the country.

The top-selling diva reportedly intended to bring the baby straight back to the U.K. in her private jet, but officials from the poverty-stricken southeast African nation needed a couple of days to get him a passport.

The passport delay has given the U.K. media time to canvass the opinions of U.K. adoption agencies, with Daily Mirror quoting Yvette Gayford of Parents And Children Together – a group that advises those wanting to adopt foreign babies – saying, “This is wrong in every sense. Adoption must never be allowed on a whim.

“Quick decisions like this for celebrities do not help anyone. We oppose this very strongly.”

David Holmes, chief of the British Association For Adoption And Fostering, pointed out that Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie will still have to go through the rigorous interview procedures involved in determining if a couple are suitable to adopt children in the UK. “They are no different from any other couple,” he said.

The Mirror also had Maxine Caswell of the Overseas Adoption Support And Information Service saying, “This makes it look quick and easy – if you can swoop into a country and take any child.”

Madonna and Ritchie were granted an interim adoption order by a Malawian judge October 12th.

Eye Of The Child, which has submitted a legal appeal to the Ministry of Women and Child Development to delay the interim order, also has the backing of the Civil Liberties Committee, another of Malawi’s prominent human rights groups.

The country’s Bill Of Rights grants children’s groups the statutory power to advise the government, so Eye Of The Child and Civil Liberties Committee should be able to expect their words are given very serious consideration. Children themselves have no rights under Malawi law.

“Today it is a celebrity adopting a child. Tomorrow it may be a trafficker seeking to adopt,” Eye of the Child executive director Maxwell Madewere told The Times.

According to The Sun, Madonna has already been to Harrods and spent £5,000 on a rocking horse for her newly adopted son.

– John Gammon