It is hard to criticize someone who wishes to adopt, especially when the child of choice is from an impoverished African nation and would otherwise languish in an orphanage or foster home for most, if not all, of his or her childhood.  And I think that Madonna’s heart is in the right place.  But only someone with as public a profile as Madonna (Angelina Jolie, for instance) could stir-up such controversy when attempting to do such good.  While others focus on the fast-tracking of Madonna’s procedural obligations (recently dealt a setback by a Malawian judge), the more interesting issue, to me, is the potential to exacerbate an already damaging (because it is largely true) public perception issue that exists in the world of international adoption: the sense that being selected by an adoptive parent who is choosing among waiting children in an orphanage or foster home is analogous to winning the lottery.  Each child who makes it out is lucky beyond measure and the ones who go unpicked have to stick it out where they are.

But with Madonna, everything is more intense.  She swoops in with her entourage and identifies a child she wants – the others are not selected – but she also provides significant and desperately needed funding through her Raising Malawi Foundation to help make the day-to-day lives of those left behind much better.  So it’s hard to begrudge her what amounts – to some – as a trophy, no?