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March 30th, 2009
01:52 PM ET

Save the Children? The Madonna Question

CNN's Kiran Chetry talks to Dominic Nutt, spokesman for Save the Children UK, about Madonna's plans to adopt.
CNN's Kiran Chetry talks to Dominic Nutt, spokesman for Save the Children UK, about Madonna's plans to adopt.

Happy Monday!

Madonna is in Malawi today trying to adopt a second child from the African nation. Amid some controversy, she adopted a 13-month-old boy named David Banda back in 2006.

And things are no different this time around, with many opinions on whether or not this is the right thing for little 4-year-old Mercy James. According to our reporting, Mercy's mother died in childbirth and her father is also dead. She does have other relatives but lives in an orphanage.

Today I interviewed Dominic Nutt, the spokesman for Save the Children UK, who strongly feels the little girl would be better off staying in Malawi than living with the newly divorced Madonna and her three other children. Here's his take.

It should be noted that the 50-year-old pop icon is a big supporter of Malawi. She made a documentary, "I Am Because We Are," about the country's struggle with poverty, AIDS and disease.

Her nonprofit group, Raising Malawi, also donates money and time to help the country's children. And they need that help. According to UNICEF, for every 1,000 births, 120 children will die, the life expectancy in Malawi is only 44-years-old and most children over the age of 10 don't attend school.

Today when I posted the question "what do you think about Madonna wanting to adopt another child from Malawi?" to those following me on, we got a lot of great responses and many different opinions!

On a personal note, I can understand the tough choice that goes with deciding whether or not to send your child away in hopes of a better life somewhere else.

I was born in Kathmandu, Nepal to a native Nepali and an American Peace Corps volunteer. My father and his 4 siblings took very different paths in life. My dad and his youngest brother came to the U.S. to study and eventually live. His other brothers and sister didn't come here themselves, but scraped together every cent they could to make sure all of their children came to the United States for their educations. Nepal is quite a poor nation and my cousins' prospects for a better life were definitely improved by having an American education and access to healthcare. Now, it's not the same as giving up parental rights by any means, but my aunts and uncles sacrificed a lot in their decision to send their children away. They had to trust that they were cared for from afar and could only communicate with letters and the occasional phone call. That is why I understand why some of the relatives of children like David and Mercy decide to give their children away when faced with bleak circumstances at home.

In the case of Madonna and Malawi, the question of how to best help the other children left behind is an even harder one.


Filed under: Roundup
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. nancy

    @ chris ~~ how many are you going to adopt?

    March 31, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  2. chris

    i have so much respect for madonna when it comes to adoptions from africa..SAVE THE CHILDREN will rather take donations, yea right many celebs adopt kids ...? TO ALL THE CRITICS , back off and LEAVE MADONNA ALONE.. SHE IS DOING SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE FOR DEPRIVED CHILDREN..AM AFRICAN AND WOULD NOT EVEN COMPARE MALAWI TO MY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN

    March 31, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  3. Fred Robinson


    Adoption is an individual decision. The decison of your father to emigrate to the USA probably was made upon much thought and deliberation. Second guessing with repect to any decision is not good. In the end only time will tell if the decision was right or wrong. If it is thought out properly, it will turn out to be right.


    March 31, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  4. nancy

    @ Sal Voce ~~ I agree 100% with you on adopting an American child. But, her checkbook couldn't buy one here.

    @ Bhusan ~~ "In this global world, adoption has been a intelligent, descent human act. We can end the poverty if we all can come together."
    How many do you plan on adopting?

    March 31, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  5. Bhusan

    In this global world, adoption has been a intelligent, descent human act. We can end the poverty if we all can come together. Though it is impossible to adopt all but each effort counts when it comes to helping people. The biggest work anyone can do in his life is providing a new life to a poor and helpless person. I think people who adopt should consider orphanage from different society.

    March 30, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  6. Michael

    I don't think Dominic has a case at all. Sure, we need to help end the cycle of poverty/hunger/aids, but those of us who can adopt orphans from Malawi should, by all means. Is it me or was there a tinge of "those people" in his argument? We need to integrate economies to really help break the cycle of poverty, and we certainly can integrate some more Africans into our western societies.

    March 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  7. Sal Voce

    SO, why can't Madonna and all the rest adopt US children? One would think we have plenty of kids HERE that could use adopting!!!

    I think the press needs to quit giving them all the free publicity and let them start adopting at HOME FIRST!

    March 30, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  8. mASQUE

    I think the audacity of the spokesman for Save the Children is bordering on unintelligent babble! If i heard him correctly he said: Do not adopt unless you can save the thousands of children who are dyeing everyday!! I am mortified that CNN would even publish that video! As a Mother of TWO adopted children and two birth children, I feel he needs to rethink his Job description of Media spokesperson! There are THOUSANDS of children in need and if ONE of them could be given a loving home who is HE to challenge that! I do believe that we need to recognize the needs of the children, (which Madonna does! with her own CHarity for the kids), but i also feel It is not any organizations judgement call on how an INDIVIDUAL choses to do that! If a Loving family is approved to adopt a child, that child has already been thru the process of elimination (LITERALLY) of people or what Nutt loosely called family members. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY DISAGREE with his statement, and Truly hope it is not the opinion of Save the Children!

    March 30, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  9. Mitchel

    Tough subject. I see Mr. Nutt's point about the bigger picture, but I also see your side. Even though I'm a Christian, I believe God put us in an evolving world, in which the principles are Darwinistic... we must survive, adapt, evolve or die. Maybe Malawi will never make it as a country, or people, so adoptiong might be a good idea to save part of the people's heritage. I'm for adoption period. Because it usually means loving people wanting to love and raise a child. Plus, it can turn out to be a significant event. What if that adopted child finds medical cures, new energy, or any positive outcome ? I think both ways are correct, because they both show caring, and love for a nation and its' people.

    March 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm |