African Adoption Without the Madonna Mess

Other countries with real need also have effective systems
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 6, 2009 2:56 PM CDT
Madonna visits Salaza village near Lilongwe, Malawi Friday, April, 3, 2009.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – Madonna’s second adoption made other adoptive parents cringe, Bess Rattray writes for Vogue—not because the adoption itself was a bad idea, but because the media circus and the lack of “an established, transparent adoption system,” in Malawi made it look like baby stealing. Oh, and the "$800 haircut and Parisian safari gear" worthy of "an outtake from Brüno" didn't help either. In fact, other African countries have well-orchestrated systems that avoid what she calls "the Madonna mess."

Ethiopia, where Rattray—not to mention Angelina Jolie—adopted, boasts “one of the most progressive adoption programs in the world.” Though Angelina’s adoption also made Ethiopia a trendy adoption spot, many likely choose the country because of its great need. Rattray’s adoption process involved government and adoption agency oversight. She files yearly progress reports. Her experience taught her that “international adoption is an ambiguous, ethically complex thing to do, but I truly believe my decision was unambiguously the right one.”