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Madonna's Malawi adoption


Madonna’s adoption of a 13-month-old boy from Malawi last week has caused a storm of interest - and protest - from all corners of the globe.

The Queen of Pop has reportedly completed all the necessary paperwork to adopt the child, whose mother died in child birth and whose father has given his blessing to the adoption. However, human rights organisations in Malawi are claiming that the adoption is illegal, given that Madonna has not lived in the country, and are seeking a court injunction to prevent the child from travelling to the UK with Madonna and her film director husband, Guy Ritchie.

Inter-country adoption is not a new idea, although the recent flurry of celebrities that have chosen to travel overseas to find a child to adopt has dramatically increased media interest in the issue.

With the affects of HIV/AIDS beginning to impact severely on many developing country populations, providing long-term care to children who have been orphaned or lost the support of their parents and family is an important question facing governments and welfare agencies around the world.

Everyday life at SOS Children's Village Lilongwe, Malawi

In Malawi alone there are over 1 million orphaned children, half of which is as a result of HIV/AIDS. Adopting one of these children does little to improve the situation of the other thousands of children in need of care and support. Thanks to the help of our sponsors and donors worldwide, SOS Children currently cares for over 300 children in its villages and youth homes in Malawi and supports a total of 50,000 people with education and skills training, medical support and family strengthening programmes. By working with local communities and supporting them through even the most difficult of times, our aim is to keep as many children within their family or extended family network as possible.

For children who have lost the care of their parents, adoption is one option to ensure that a child can grow up with the love and security of a new family. However, in many countries, particularly in Africa, it is the extended family networks that have traditionally provided a safety net for children who have lost the care of one or both parents. Aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins will often take on the responsibility for caring for vulnerable young relatives, ensuring that children can continue to grow up in a familiar environment with friends and family nearby. This also means that the child is able to continue to practice and be part of any cultural, religious and ethnic traditions.

SOS Children cares for over 60,000 children in its villages and youth homes around the world and as far as possible, cares for these children in their local area, by mothers who respect their diverse cultural backgrounds. By keeping them close to their roots, children are able to maintain contact with any surviving family as well as with their community.

Make a difference

If you would like to do your bit and improve the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable children without resorting to adoption, you can help SOS Children to continue working to support orphans and needy children around the world by making a donation or sponsoring a child.

Relevant Countries: Malawi.

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