Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Malawi divided over Madonna adoption failure

Madonna adoption failure has divided the country with common people accusing the courts and Non Governmental Organisations of sabotaging chances of good living for three year old Mercy Chifundo James, however the NGOs have put their foot down that they could not allow Madonna to bend the laws of the country.

Madonna left the country a day after Judge Esme Chombo threw out her application to adopt Mercy Chifundo James, she however instructed her lawyer Allan Chinula to appeal against the ruling. The court is yet to set the new date for the fresh hearing.

However ordinary Malawians believed that the courts could have used the ruling in 2006 that allowed Madonna to adopt another Malawian boy David Banda to facilitate the adoption of Mercy Chifundo James.

In 2006 Madonna controversially succeeded in adopting David Banda amid court fights and objects from NGOs over the adoption laws.

“Malawians would take advantage of Madonna’s generosity to allow her to adopt more orphans who would lead a good life elsewhere. We can not afford to take care of all these orphans,” said James Taulo, a concerned citizen.

In Malawi a foreigner is allowed to adopt a Malawian child after staying in the country for 18 months. However the laws were bent when the high court allowed Madonna to adopt David Banda before staying 18 months in the country.

Government then appointed personnel from Ministry of Gender, women and Children development to be monitoring Madonna for 18 months before the court made an adoption ruling which formally recognised Madonna as the mother to little David.

But Madonna second attempt to adopt another child in Malawi met resistance as NGOs accused Madonna of taking advantage of the laws of Malawi to whisk children out of the country. The NGOs called for orphans to be raised in their own communities.

Human Rights Conservative Committee (HRCC) described Madonna’s second attempt to adopt another child in the country as ‘kidnapping’.

Chairperson of HRCC Mabvuto Bamusi said adopting two children would not solve the orphan problems in the country.

“Children have to grow in the family set up. The country has over 2 million orphans. Will all of them going to be adopted? Let us be serious,” he said.

Plan International, a child development organisation, welcomed Judge Chombo for the landmark of declining Madonna’s adoption of a second African child saying the organisation endorses the keeping of children within their community.

A Plan spokesman said: “While Madonna’s intentions were no doubt well-meant and while we feel for her in this case, whisking a single child off to a ‘fairytale’ lifestyle in Hollywood is not something we condone. We endorse keeping children within their community wherever possible, where there is often extended family nearby.

“We believe a better way for her to help would be to act as a champion of change and use her celebrity status and profile to influence government and businesses to ensure a better life for the country’s children. That way all Malawi’s children would benefit and not just one or two.”

But government, through its spokesperson Patricia Kaliati, expressed sadness on the turn of events saying it was supporting Madonna’s efforts to adopt a second Malawi child.


Koan Zen said...

LETTER SEND TO UK and US Embassy in Malawi regarding the Adoption of Madonna3 April 2009

Dear Mr. Wildash,

Herewith United Adoptees International is asking your attention for the issue of Intercountry Adoption regarding Malawi.

United Adoptees International (UAI) is the first independent adoption organisation run and managed by Intercountry Adoptees based in the Netherlands. The UAI is representing the interest of Adoptees nationally and internationally in different fields of interests. The UAI policy exist foremost out of; creating (inter)national dialogues and participation in debates regarding adoption as a phenomena and is involved in political and societal field regarding policy developments and discussions about the consequences of (intercountry) adoption for adoptees and international consequences for the long term. The UAI is an acknowledged foundation in the Netherlands which has been consulted more than once by politicians, academics, media and researchers in the field of family life and adoption.

The UAI wants hereby express their concern regarding the development of the explorations of new adoption channels by western parties in new adoption countries. Most of the time non-western countries. Lately the influence and impact of so-called pop culture in the perspective of social views regarding adoption does concerns us very much.

As we assume, you are informed about the additional adoption plan of popstar Madonna in Malawi which has raised international concern. Something which is not been dealt with since her first appeal for adoption by adopting David Banda from this country.

Now ms. Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone seems not to have understood what kind of impact this has on international scale, the UAI wants to express their concern about the development of breaking international guidelines according to the Hague Convention on Adoption and the subsidiary rules regarding this issue.

Malawi, which till the adoption of ms. Ciccone, had no adoption policy, is been confronted with western NGO’s and adoption agencies since, creating safety breaches for the well being of the Children of Malawi. The Malawian Government seems not to understand that adoption should be a last resort and not a facility for western couples to adopt children from abroad nor a way to prevent implementation child welfare and child protection programs.

Especially when there are no safety measures like the implementation of child rights laws in such countries as Malawi, intercountry adoption cannot been disconnected from a lack of these essential laws preventing adoption as an easy escape route for countries and a facility for adopters. There is not a clear control on the process of parental consent of releasing their parental rights for the cause of adoption.

Even many parents who are handing over their children to the west expect them back one day, seeing adoption as a long term foster care. Many of them have no idea that intercountry adoption will be a permanent breach in lives of involved.

We know from resources within Malawi, that parents are not informed well enough and have most of the time no clue what adoption might cause to the child and the reality behind adoption.

By accepting such easy breaches of the well being of a generation young people, who are eligible to help their country to build a future, they are been immigrated against their will, to perhaps economically a better life, but without their own consent and understanding to which challenge they have to cope with. Economic wealth may never be the argument for international adoption. As all members of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption agreed on.

With accepting a popstar like Madonna breaking this international treaty and guidelines, we acknowledge that ethics ends by the fame of others. The UAI is highly concerned by seeing this happen decade after decade.

When does the interest of adoptees come first instead the wish of the rich and famous ? Child protection first and adoption as a last resort. Like we agreed on in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention on Adoption.

United Adoptees InternationalHilbrand W.S. Westra BSc MA

Chairman UAI

Koan Zen said...

- New concerns about international adoption.
‘Madonna-style’ inter-country adoptions are causing a rise in the number of children in orphanages, University of Liverpool psychologists concluded recently.
- Rise in institutionalised children linked to 'Madonna-style' adoption.Psychologists at the University of Liverpool say that 'Madonna-style' inter-country adoptions are causing a rise in the number of children in orphanages.
University of Liverpool.