Madonna’s adoption process sounds accurate to reader

Posted: Monday, November 06, 2006

It’s tough to find accurate information about Madonna adopting a child from Malawi. Googling for information produces thousands of articles from the sensational press. Unfortunately, I have not found any comments from adoption agencies or adoption magazines. So the only information that seems to be above the fray is from Madonna herself.

On Oct. 25, Madonna was interviewed by Oprah on CBS. Madonna’s demeanor and her views were very credible. She talked about their social worker, their home study, their due adoption process, their wait time (“they” means that she and her husband went through the adoption process together).

She mentioned that her celebrity status and her wealth didn’t matter at all. She implied that they got the referral of their future son before they traveled to Malawi.

All this sounds very familiar as my wife and I also went through a similar adoption process when we adopted our son from South Korea. Madonna mentioned that her adoption agency had described the uniqueness of Malawi adoption law to them — that the law is made up as one goes along. She talked about the adoption in Malawi court, about the consent that the boy’s birth father gave in court, that nobody of the boy’s family had visited him in the orphanage since he was placed there shortly after his birth (the Child Rights Information and Documentation Center estimates there are 300,000 children orphaned due to their parents dying of AIDS, many of whom are cared for by their extended families) and that the court made an exception to a Malawi law that usually requires a 24-month residency for adoptive parents in the country. I know of no other country doing international adoptions that would have the same law; hence the U.S. Department of State has issued only seven immigrant visas in the past five years for children from Malawi.

I cannot attest to her description because our experience with Korean law was different. But I know from friends and our adoption agency and have read about how adoptions are handled in China, Russia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Romania, the U.S. and Germany, where each country’s adoption laws are different from the next. Hence her description of Malawi adoption law sounds plausible.

I believe Madonna and her husband followed all the guidelines and laws spelled out by their adoption agency and have thus rightful custody of their son.

Andy Veh


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