Foreign Adoption: goodwill or good PR

By Stephanie Richardson

June 200, 2009 / examiner.com

Today, I read that Madonna will be bringing home her 2nd Malawian baby, this time a baby girl. A few other celebrities have followed suite and have traveled overseas to adopt. While I have nothing really negative to say about this, I do question the motives. Goodwill or Good PR?

I saw an episode of Law and Order a few months ago that told a story of a fictional famous actress that was badly in need of an image make over. One "strategy" she used was adopting an African child and donating money to the country in which her new baby was born. In return, she received a ton of great publicity which slowly boosted her image and popularity in the minds of the public and also won her a staring role in a new movie. Talk about great ROI.

Hasn't this "strategy" also worked for Angelina Jolie? I am not implying that she intentionally adopts foreign children to change her image, but  hasn't she reaped a lot of career rewards since adopting? Pre-adoption, Jolie was widely known as a bisexual sex kitten, who enjoyed kissing her brother and carrying around a vile of blood. Post adoption, she is known as a loving mother and a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency. 

I notice that when famous women adopt from a foreign country, the press coverage is different and the media begins to use different language when speaking about them. These new moms are often seen as "humanitarians" and "Mother Theresa-esque". In Madonna's case, I wonder if this new adoption will over shadow the PR of the divorce between her and Guy Ritchie (and her alleged affair with a certain baseball player)? I guess we will have to wait and see.

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Any publicity is good publicity

It is indeed hard to learn the intentions of people, but when it comes to celebrity adoption it certainly is true, the "stars" benefit from adoption to remain in the spotlights. For some it indeed works to recreate their image, like Angelina Jolie has managed to pull off. In Madonna's case that is not a real option. With a carreer spanning 25 years, it's impossible to change an existing image. People think they know Madonna and no matter how hard she tries, she will be seen as a party girl/business woman, not as a nurturing mother. Still adoption is good for a lot of free publicity, which Madonna can use well, having to compete with a whole string of younger women that are equally capable of making the head lines.

Adoption as a personal marketing instrument works. Even gossip someone considers adoption makes the news, including the eventual denial of such gossip.

Leaves me with one question. Why does Angelina Jolie wear sunglasses in almost all photos where she's shown with her children, while almost all other photos show her without sunglasses?

Making news

I notice that when famous women adopt from a foreign country, the press coverage is different and the media begins to use different language when speaking about them. These new moms are often seen as "humanitarians" and "Mother Theresa-esque".

Isn't this true for most international-adoption situations?  Somehow it seems more news-worthy to report an adoption from China, Russia or Africa than an adoption from local foster care... as if adopting from another country is "better" ... "more helpful"... than staying native and local.  

what it really was...

It was easier to adopt overseas and the requirements were less; babies were available overseas and not for older people in the USA.  Do you really think Madonna could adopt in the USA?  There's two ways to look at it and money is the other way.

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

More for those with less

It was easier to adopt overseas and the requirements were less; babies were available overseas and not for older people in the USA. 

That put a chill in me, especially since there are many (celebrities, included) wanting to reduce the waiting period (for adoption).  In fact, one actrees-AP went on TV last-year, suggesting the wait for a foreign child should equal the time of a gestation.  [See:  Australia's Adoption Crisis - with Deborra-Lee Furness ]

More babies with less requirements.  Nice.... especially for those who are infertile, desperate, and wanting a baby. 

you got that right...

The average wait for a "special needs baby"  (don't shoot me) was less than 5 months.  They even made a mistake on the birth certificate and it went through with the wrong date.  I told my kids right up front when their real birthdays were and why they were different.  But, we were lied to about everything from day one.  Both of my sons who are in group homes had severe mental and physical problems that we didn't know about until they were home.  They told the country that we were experienced foster parents and could handle it... they sure didn't tell us that before they were placed.  And I did keep them after realizing I had made a mistake; and I still don't know what was the right thing to do.  I just couldn't send them away.  But if I had... how much abuse would have been stopped?  A lot.  I was wrong; very wrong; just trying to prove I could handle anything, when all I did was damage those two boys lives more than what had already happened.  I've seen this happen several times around here.  And we all were pretty much the same in our thinking.  I wonder how it will all end...
To confess all I do, in a place like this.  I just want to be honest because you all have it right in what you say here.  I can't help or change anything but I do want to support the truth.

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

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