Madonna overlooked one tiny detail. To legally adopt a child in Malawi she needed to be a Malawian resident for a minimum of 18 months. But silly rules like these are not stopping celebrities from kid-shopping in Africa.
The idea of Madonna giving up her posh NYLON digs to live in a nation where the average income is around $160 a year is difficult to conceive. Residency requirement or not, Madonna is intent on going through with her adoption of Mercy James, the four-year-old girl she found in an orphanage outside Blantyre. Until the High Court decides on her case, let's ponder the celebrity adoption rage sweeping the developing world.
Brangelina, Hugh Jackman, Sharon Stone, and Mia Farrow all count adopted children from the developing world in their clans. Critics question why celebrities would go to such lengths to adopt foreign children when foster children in the U.S. number half a million. Could there be a premium on compassion?
There is also the larger concern that celebrities, with their penchant for egregious largess and public domestic disputes, may not be the best role models for children who have already had it rough.
As one Malawian observer said of the Madonna, "We hear a lot of nasty stories about her appearing in dirty movies. Won't she teach these children immorality?"