Madonna Adopts Orphan.. Human Rights Groups Protest?

Good for Madonna.

The 48 year old rock star and her husband have saved a baby from life in an orphanage and a future of poverty. They have left behind a generous endowment for the orphanage and a trail of controversy.

A coalition of childrens rights and human rights organizations have joined together to protest the adoption.

Earlier this week, the Human Rights Consultative Committee, said to represent 67 organizations, brought a legal action challenging the decision of the government of Malawi to provide an exception to the laws discouraging foreign adoption by requiring prospective parents to spend 18 months in the country being evaluated before they are allowed to adopt.

"Where were these people when David was struggling in the orphanage? These so-called human rights groups should leave my baby alone," Yohane Banda, the father of the child, who brought the boy to an orphanage after the child’s mother died, said.

The couple had two other children who died of malaria in infancy.

"As father I have okayed this, I have no problem; the village has no problem, who are they to cause trouble? Please let them stop."

Think about it for a minute.

Here, in the United States, this child will grow up literally as the child of a rock star.

There he would grow up in an orphanage, or in a mud hut with no electricity or running water.

In whose interest are these human rights and childrens rights groups protesting this adoption?Under which set of circumstances will this child be better off? What is their mission? Why wouldn’t more children be better off if more people stepped up and followed Madonna’s example?Am I missing something here?

If I am, so is the father.

"I was alone with a baby; I had no money, I couldn't buy him milk, that's why I surrendered him to the orphanage," Banda told a reporter. "Orphanage life is no good. We leave kids there because we can't look after them properly ourselves. Now my son has been taken by a kindhearted woman, these people [the Coalition] want to bring him back to the orphanage."

The head of the Coalition is quoted as saying that he’s not against the adoption, just bending the rules, as if Madonna is about to stay in Malawi for eighteen months.

"If Madonna really wants the child, she has to apply for a residency permit in Malawi," he said. Likely. Very likely.

So the do-gooders could have their way and the baby could go back. So that laws that protect no one and will deprive one child of a future his family could not have dreamed of can be enforced. So that adoption, which should be encouraged, can be discouraged instead.

I don’t think so.

The baby is with Madonna. If possession is nine-tenths of the law, how much more so in the case of kids from Malawi. But if Madonna has this much trouble doing something this good, what about somebody who can’t afford to whisk in by private plane with nannies and lawyers at the ready?

This is one lucky little boy.

Too bad there are so few of them.

Malawi isn’t the only place where people have trouble seeing that sometimes kids are better off with a fresh start. It’s just easy this time.

Strange Results

While the races get nastier and nastier across the country, Arnold is running “morning in America” commercials in California, the kind Reagan did against Mondale in the famous blowout of 1984. It couldn’t be any sunnier for California’s Republican Chief of State, who is making life beyond miserable for his Democratic opponent Phil Angelides.

With three weeks now to go, Angelides has yet to find any message at all against Arnold. Even the expected attack against Arnold’s transformation since last year’s frustrating defeats in the special election (maybe a “would the real Arnold please stand up…”) has failed to materialize, and Angelides has now become the worry at the top of the ticket, as downticket Democrats-- all of whom always expect to win in this bluest of blue state--hopes the blowout at the top won’t have any legs, which it probably won’t.

Which means that the Terminator and Governor Moonbeam are likely to be serving side-by-side, the latter as the Democratic attorney general candidate, Jerry Brown. Balanced government produces strange results....

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Susan Estrich is currently the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California and a member of the Board of Contributors of USA Today. She writes the "Portia" column for American Lawyer Media and is a contributing editor of The Los Angeles Times. She was appointed by the president to serve on the National Holocaust Council and by the mayor of the City of Los Angeles to serve on that city's Ethics Commission.

Estrich's books include the just published "Soulless," "Real Rape," "Getting Away with Murder: How Politics Is Destroying the Criminal Justice System," "Dealing with Dangerous Offenders," "Making the Case for Yourself: A Diet Book for Smart Women" and "Sex & Power," currently a Los Angeles Times bestseller.

She served as campaign manager for Michael Dukakis' presidential bid, becoming the first woman to head a U.S. presidential campaign. Estrich appears regularly on the FOX News Channel.

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