There are numerous celebrities who adopt children from third-world countries in order to provide better lives for them. In most situations, the public sees celebrities with their newly adopted children, and the media casts a positive light on them. The children may make guest appearances in paparazzi photos, but that is often all that is heard of them for years.
That is not the experience Madonna is having. Madonna is currently facing a lawsuit from her adopted daughter’s family, claiming that she denied them visitation rights. The family claims that since Madonna adopted the girl, Mercy, in June of 2009, they have not been able to see her.
According to the an article in Rolling Out, Mercy’s biological mother died five days after giving birth to Mercy. For a short period of time, Mercy stayed with her grandmother and uncles, but when they could no longer take care of her, they placed her in the care of an orphanage. The grandmother says they intended to take Mercy back when she was six, but there is no evidence that they would have been able to support her then.
The family also claims that they are the ones who can provide the best home for Mercy. Although the family has Mercy’s best intentions at heart, it is tough to know whether they could provide a better home than Madonna can. Malawi is one of the most undeveloped countries in the world, and it is also one of the most densely populated. The country also has a low life expectancy. Even if Mercy was returned to her biological family, there is no way of knowing how long they would be alive and able to care for her.
According to the director of the CILIC (the country’s leading civil rights group and the group filing the lawsuit), Mercy’s family does not want an expensive or embarrassing court case. They only want to see their daughter on a regular basis. However, if that was not part of the original adoption agreement, Madonna may not have any legal obligation to arrange visits. After all the upheaval Mercy has been through, perhaps Madonna is justified in thinking the girl would be best-suited with a quieter life in the States.
Source: Rolling Out, “Family of Madonna’s Adopted Malawian Daughter Suing Singer for Visitation Rights,” 7 February 2011