Charity urges caution over Elton John 'adoption plan'

By Paul Armstrong

September 14, 2009 / CNN.com

A leading international children's charity has warned that Elton John's desire to adopt a 14-month-old baby boy could lead to more children being abandoned.

The singer, 62, made the announcement during a visit with his partner, 46-year-old David Furnish, to an orphanage for HIV-affected children in Ukraine on Saturday.

"David always wanted to adopt and I always said no because I am 62 and I think because of the traveling I do and the life I have, maybe it wouldn't be fair for the child," he told reporters.

"But having seen Lev today, I would love to adopt him. I don't know how we do that but he has stolen my heart. And he has stolen David's heart and it would be wonderful if we can have a home. I've changed my mind today."

While EveryChild praised the British musician for helping raise awareness of children affected by HIV/AIDS, it said international adoption is sending out the wrong message.

James Georgalakos, EveryChild's Communications and Advocacy Manager, told CNN: "Research conducted in the Ukraine in 2007 which showed high-profile celebrity adoptions and news around foreigners coming into the country and adopting children generally was actually encouraging vulnerable young mothers to abandon their children into homes hoping their child would be adopted by a rich foreigner and have a better life.

"So it's quite well documented that these high-profile adoptions could actually be increasing the number of children in institutions." Do you think celebrity adoptions are a good thing?

According to research by the charity's Web site, 95 percent of the children in Ukraine's institutions are not orphans, with babies born to HIV+ mothers facing particular discrimination. They are separated from their mothers and often end up in children's homes and institutions segregated from children not affected by HIV.

It argues that governments such as Ukraine need to be encouraged to put more emphasis on keeping families together rather than placing them in outdated Soviet-era children's homes.

"After a great deal of campaigning by charities such as ours, the Ukraine government introduced a new 'gate-keeping' system which means the authorities will have to consider all available options before a child is placed in an institution," Georgalakos said.

"So when a child is taken into care or abandoned, they will have look at whether a child has other family or can be fostered by another family for example. This is a huge step forward and one that needs support.

"We will definitely be speaking to Elton and his representatives about this."

Elton John is the latest high-profile figure to be linked with a case of this kind. Earlier this year, Madonna won a court appeal to adopt a second child from Malawi. Critics of the pop-star accused the pop superstar of taking advantage of "archaic adoption laws" in a bid to adopt three-year-old Chifundo James.

Madonna's initial attempt was denied because she did not meet a residency law that requires applicants to have lived in the country for some time before adoption. This condition was waived when Madonna -- and then husband Guy Ritchie -- adopted her first Malawian child, David Banda.

The judge in that case said the interest of the child outweighed the issue of residency.

Meanwhile, the British Association for Adoption and Fostering said around 4,000 children need to be adopted in UK each year, with many facing a considerable wait.

BAAF Chief Executive David Holmes told CNN: "While Elton John may be considered too old under current guidance to adopt a baby in the UK, there are many children, particularly older children, sibling groups, children with disabilities, and children from black minority groups, all waiting for a family.

"We'll certainly be reinforcing this message during National Adoption Week in Britain later this year

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On Christmas Day, no less!

On Christmas Day, no less! Sir EJ and civil partner (what's his name?)'s son was born via surrogacy, the lucky baby bastard, and bless-ed two women in Californicatia. (Reminds me of the now-passed confused music legend, Michael J, may his musical soul RIP.) Photos of proud father-mother of the year can be found on the internet, fetching a hefty sum of over 19k USD  for a poorly photo-cropped image of babe at breast, as nature intended. Google "breast is best", and be sure you have a barf-bag on-hand. Pop-icon was 62 when babe was born. Ah, to have photos and stories of dear ol' dad!

The gifts of life

Funny thing about celebrity surrogate stories, celebrities can afford American surrogacy prices when their foreign adoption plans tank.

When Elton John was denied his Ukraine adoption-plan, (because he was too old and not married), where did the dream-baby come from?  America.

When Ricky Martin discovered his plan to adopt a child from every color was going to turn into a more global child-friendly plan, (combat child trafficking), did he abandon his dream to become a dad, himself?  Hell no!

In fact, thanks to his announcement to the world that he was gay having twins, via surrogacy, we learned just how brave he could be, with Oprah's support and encouragement , and talk about the importance of honesty in a parent-child relationship.

Who cares about the name of the surroate, or the agency he used... who cares about the rumors that he attended the birth of his twins, in San Diego.  None of that is important, is it?  After all, aren't famous people entitled to some privacy? Must we be so nosey and know every bloody detail about a wealthy person's life?  [pst... keeping things very private and away from suspicious eyes often costs extra money.... but most people already know this, don't they?]

When Nicole Kidman announced to the public she was going to be a mum for the fourth time, who did she thank?  Not the agency she used.... nope... she thanked her gestational carrier, and she was criticized for calling a surrogate a mere "gestational carrier", because some find that term offensive.  

Yep, in a world that must be fair, there are those who want others to know a surrogate is NOT some woman who delivers the goods, and walks away a richer woman. because she loaned her body-out to a complete stranger (with money).  Nooooo!  Many  surrogate-supporters want the world to know surrogates have to experience pain and suffereing and make many sacrifices, just so another person could have a child.  [You know, it's like using the word "Breeder" to describe a birth-mother who made an equally loving choice... or using the word "whore" to describe an "adult entertainer" --  you just don't say those things in public if you want to be cool, hip, and politically correct.]

In fact, if not for Nicole's honesty, we would never have learned little Faith, (bio-child of two world-famous Aussie parents), was born where else?  America, of course.  The Women's Hospital at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, to be exact.  (Hey... here's a fun fact:  how many knew her first two were born in Florida -- a hop-skip-and-short-flight from Faith's birth-place?)

I for one can't bad-mouth any person for wanting the best health-care/hospital/doctor services money can get.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure-out  one gets what one pays for, especially if you're ready to make a baby/adoption-plan, Hollywood-Style.

Truth be told, I'd be SHOCKED if some gay/infertile celebrity chose Surrogacy Hot Spot, India as the prefered place to go and start a pregnancy/family.  (Then again, with all the money that can be had from traveling foreigners, who knows how India will look in a few very productive/profitable years....)  

As long as the wealthy/famous stay away from regions that can easily exploit the poor, there should be no real reason to believe Hollywood-style birth-plans have anything to do with surrogacy scams that  put young women and babies in terrible terrible uncertain situations.  [See:  Future uncertain for children of Thai baby scam ]. 

Yes, that was dripping sarcasm.

As an adoptee, I find it's a real effort not to feel sick about the many shady-ways the baby/family-making industry works, especially when one remembers how so many of these surrogacy  birth-stories began:

The popularity of adoption, due to high profile people like Angelina Jolie (three adopted children) and Madonna (two adopted children), at one stage rose to ridiculous heights prompting every Tom, Dick and his best mate to publicly declare that they would like to adopt a child. But with the popularity came the criticism and celebrities were lambasted for skipping prospective parents’ queues, glamorising an important institution and using it to their publicity-driven advantage. Outrage continued when it was revealed that Madonna’s adoption of Malawian David Banda in 2006 had been fast-tracked and Banda’s biological father allegedly had no idea he was signing over custody of his son to Madonna forever. In Malawi the law prohibits adoptions by non-residents and so the custody struggle began. She has since, however, successfully adopted another child, daughter Mercy, from Malawi.
Calista Flockhart, Sheryl Crow, Sandra Bullock,  Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman…these stars have all walked the red carpet of adoption. Nicole Kidman, however, recently changed tack when she announced that she and husband Keith Urban had become parents again on December 28, 2010, by surrogacy.
[From:  Surrogacy:  Fab or Fad?, March, 2011 ]

And yet, as twisted irony would have it, if we were to believe tabloidesque-gossip reporting, we'd soon start to believe wonder what really took place over ten years ago, when a famous married couple learned adoption could ease the pain felt by the infertile:

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were ­married in 1990 and tried to start a family, but had little success. Nicole told Vanity Fair nearly two decades later: ‘We lost a baby early on, so that was really very traumatic.’
Finally, the adoption option was pursued — apparently with the help of the Scientologists, who found a married Scientologist mother of two, who said that she could not afford to look after a third child, and offered the infant up for private adoption.
On December 22, 1992, the ­couple became parents to a 9lb girl they named ­Isabella Jane ­Kidman Cruise, who was born in a hospital in Miami.
They completed their family in 1995 by adopting Connor, then four months old.

[From:  Why a new baby won't end Nicole Kidman's family heartache, January 20, 2011 ]

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