Today Oprah is airing a piece with Madonna discussing the adoption of 13-month-old David Banda amidst the allegations of the pop star using her power and status to swoop in and “rescue” an African child. So before it airs and anyone sees it, we want to add to the discussion.
We read an article out of Canada – the news coverage of this adoption is global.
The thing that bothers us the most is this quote, “If you want to be perceived as Mother Bountiful, you have to make sure you get it right,” Gossage said. “Look at the way people like Princess Di and Angelina Jolie conducted themselves in the Third World. They were committed to their cause for years, and they got it right. You have to show consistent and ongoing commitment for quite some time before you just drop in and grab a kid.”
So if you adopt a child in Africa, with or without parents, do you have to “get it right”? Do you have to be committed to the cause for years? Or can you go through an adoption agency and adopt a baby that needs to be educated or needs parents?
Madonna told ABC News that David’s father “looked into my eyes and said to me that he was very grateful that I was going to give his son a life, and that had he kept his son with him in the village he would have buried him” just as he had buried his wife and three other children.
If you adopt a baby, do you need to hire a publicist so your motivations are seen as true and not as
self-serving? We would hope any publicist would help their client see that adopting a baby, no matter the circumstances, is making the world a better place.
As PR experts ourselves, we don’t think Madonna handled her adoption poorly; he was in fact in an orphanage with 500 children. We don’t think she’s hurting her own image by not clearly stating her motivation for adopting this child. She is Madonna, after all, and little David Banda Ritchie is going to have a better life than anyone in his genealogy could have ever imagined.