Hostile reception for Madge's adoption bid

Indira Das-Gupta

Several UK charities have waded into the media circus surrounding Madonna's plans to adopt a child from Malawi in a bid to change the debate's focus.

David Holmes, chief executive of the British Association for Adoption & Fostering, said: "The coverage about Madonna distracts from the fact that inter-country adoption is rare: 325 children from abroad were adopted by UK parents last year, compared with 4,000 from the UK care system.

"Too many children here wait far too long to find an adoptive family, especially those over four years old. Some never do."

Philippa Lei, child rights adviser at World Vision, described Madonna's actions as "misguided" and advised people wanting to help to consider sponsorship.

"When a child has family that are willing but not able to look after the child themselves because they are poor, taking the child out of its community cannot be the best option," she said.

An injunction is being sought by the Human Rights Consultative Committee, a network of 40 campaign groups in Malawi. It argues that the star's planned adoption of 13-month-old David Banda is against the law.

- See Celebrity watch, page 25.

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