Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A student raises concerns about celebrity adoptions

Second Reaction Paper

After looking over the Appeal for Mercy blog about Madonna, I would say that I would agree with many of the statements.  Yes, the little girl Madonna was going to adopt would have a better life living in the United States, but she would be some little spoiled girl who wouldn’t understand the value of hard work.  If Madonna really wanted a black child, then she could have adopted within the United States, because there are plenty of children who are in the need of homes, but many celebrities choose to adopt from other countries.  Yes, orphans in other countries need homes too, but it would be easier and a lot cheaper to adopt in the States, plus there is no language barrier.  For example, adopting a child from Russia and then bringing them into an English-only speaking household and then expecting the child to pick up on the language right away is unfair.  

With Madonna’s first child, she adopted the boy already knowing that he had a father that I assume was willing to take care of him.  What kind of nonsense is that; that a major pop star can just take a child even if they have a living parent.  Because of that reason, I think Malawi was less willing for Madonna to adopt the girl.  Truly people need to learn to take care of there children no matter what economic situation they are in.  Those children are their flesh and blood, and yes it’s important to give your child a better life, but the child should be able to live with the biological parent as long as that child is receiving love and attention.  

Personally I feel as that celebrities make it a fashion trend to adopt children from other countries, like it is a trend to carry small dogs around in little purses.  Do they truly care about these children? Once they get them, they stick the children with nannies; what kind of caring parenting is that?  I know that celebrities have to go out and entertain their fans; but still, just dumping the child on another person after getting them is wrong.   Something that made me mad was when Angelia Jolie adopted a little boy from Taiwan and changed his name to “Pax” when she adopted him.  Seriously, she took away the name that connected him with his culture and changed it to something without any meaning. 

Not wanting to go on a big rant about adoption, I believe that this so called trend of adopting children from overseas just to have them as an accessory of some kind needs to end.

This is a reaction paper about child welfare.  You are concerned that some celebrities (you mention two: Madonna and Angelia Jolie) are adopting children without really caring about those children the way an adoptive parent should care.  You are suspicious that international adoptions in these cases may indicate a lack of interest (or love for) children in the United States who could be adopted. There are two values you are basing your argument upon here; one of these is that children should be loved for their own sake, and not used as accessories or elements in an attempt to remain fashionable. The other value is that children are generally better off growing up with biological parents, and adoptions are appropriate only when a biological parent is either unfit or unwilling or unable to care for their children. A biological parent who is very poor, and therefore unable to care for their child with the sort of material benefits that a wealthy celebrity could, should not be enticed to give up their child for adoption by a celebrity, especially if we look at non-material indicators of “fitness” as a parent, as such indicators might very well tell us that the celebrity is a less fit parent (this is the point you’re making when you complain of children being reared by nannies and servants rather than by their wealthy adoptive parents). 

Your argument is one that few could disagree with. We do not like the idea of people giving up their children or selling them to other families.  Most cultures do not have a tradition of biological parents giving up their children to others for rearing unless there are extreme circumstances (child adoption / marriages in late 19th century Taiwan being a notable exception). The point that fails to convince me is that Madonna and other celebrities are not really motivated by love. Your suggestion that celebrities who want to adopt children from other countries are only superficially interested in the children they adopt sounds plausible but unlikely, and I have no evidence in which to evaluate how likely this suggestion is to be true.  Also, you refer to “culture” as if it was something that people inherit in their blood, but isn’t culture entirely something we pick up in our families, our neighborhoods, and our societies?  A child from one ethnic heritage or culture who is adopted at a young age into a family with an entirely different ethnic heritage and culture will have the culture of the adoptive family, and the culture of such a child’s biological parents will not “belong” to that child at all. Yes, the racial phenotype of their biological parents may matter, and especially so within the culture of their adoptive parents, but this does not mean that they have any special claim on the culture or ethnic heritage of their biological ancestors and parents unless you accept a blood-inheritance of culture and ethnic heritage, which I do not.

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