This article came to my attention today on our Agency's Yahoo group. I originally appeared on the CNN website. I have copied in it's entirety here, but if you prefer to go to the source, feel free to click away. Whatever your choice, please read it.
Madonna starts Africa baby mission
POSTED: 8:26 a.m. EDT, October 4, 2006
LILONGWE, Malawi (Reuters) -- Pop diva Madonna arrived in Malawi on Wednesday to adopt an African child and fund an orphan center for 1,000 children, many of whom lost parents to AIDS.
A fleet of cars and trucks specially flown in whisked the "Material Girl" and her entourage to an undisclosed location soon after their private plane landed at Lilongwe.
"She came straight from the plane, greeted the minister (of women and development) in the VIP lounge, then (went) straight to her car," said Adrina Michiela, a government spokeswoman.
Madonna's trip has stoked high expectations in Malawi, an impoverished nation of 13 million people who are dependent on tobacco exports. The country, like others in the region, has been decimated socially and economically by AIDS.
Madonna has said she plans to spend at least $3 million on programs to support orphans in Malawi and another $1 million to fund a documentary about the plight of children in the country.
She is scheduled to travel to Mphandula on Thursday, a village 20 km (12.5 miles) outside Lilongwe, where she is funding the construction of the Raising Malawi center to feed and educate orphans.
Madonna, who already has two children, is also making arrangements to adopt a child, according to the Malawi government, which is helping to locate a suitable candidate and planning to exempt her from a ban on non-resident adoptions.
Residents in Mphandula, which has no electricity, were busy on Wednesday rehearsing songs and making preparations.
"We will show her how we in Malawi welcome such visitors who are ready to help," the village chief said.
Critics have described the project as a publicity stunt that follows in the footsteps of other celebrities who have taken up causes on the world's poorest continent.
As part of their studies, orphans at the center will be taught a curriculum based on Spirituality for Kids linked to the Kabbalah school of mysticism to which Madonna adheres.
Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
I try to stay out of the fray of adoption controversy for the most part. I don't join in on the discussions about "proper" adoption terminology. I avoid conversing about keeping names vs. changing them. Don't even get me started on whether or not we should be allowed to mention God on various Yahoo groups. I definitely have opinions about these things (and many others), but I'm OK with the fact that other people have opinions about them too. Even when they differ from mine. I'm just not a person that likes to fight, so I rarely feel the need to spout off in a public forum about my opinion.
This article is an exception. Don't get me wrong here. I am grateful for any and all help that benefits orphans in Africa, but Gah!!! "...a suitable candidate..." Statements like this make me crazy! Also...
"As part of their studies, orphans at the center will be taught a curriculum based on Spirituality for Kids linked to the Kabbalah school of mysticism to which Madonna adheres."
Do you think there might be another agenda here?! People talk about the Angelina Jolie affect on Ethiopian adoption. At least she has done, and continues to do, significant work in the countries of her children's birth, as well as many other nations in the world. She also started way before it was "COOL" to do it. I'm sorry families have to wait longer to bring their children home now, due to increased popularity in Ethiopian adoption and new checks and balances that have been placed in the process, but SOOOOO many more children are coming home now! Malawi doesn't even allow international adoption. This whole Madonna thing just wreaks of publicity and duplicity to me.
No thank you Madonna! Keep your "Material Girl" ways and mysticism to yourself!!!
Update: You can click here to read the latest update from Madonna's publicist. I am not one to take "official" comments from a celebrity publicist too seriously; especially when the rumors have been floating around since July; but I felt the need to be honest in my reporting of this story.