The amount of money that Western adoption agencies spend in poor countries is helping to defraud, coerce or kidnap children away from families that wanted to raise them to adulthood.
(the associate director and senior researcher at Brandeis University's Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism)
Westerners have been sold the idea that “millions” of healthy infants and toddlers in underdeveloped and war-torn countries are waiting to be rescued from poverty, abandonment and abuse. It's not so. In fact, the neediest children (especially outside China) are sick, disabled, traumatized or older than 5 — not the cute, healthy babies like Mercy James who, quite understandably, Westerners generally hope to adopt. There are simply not enough healthy, adoptable infants to meet Western demand — and there's too much Western money being spent in search of those healthy babies.
In places like Malawi, what stressed families and communities need more than adoption are basics like clean water, vaccinations, school funding and other social services that would help keep many families together. Some children do need homes. But Madonna is showing exactly what shouldn't be done: airlifting one or two pretty children into the comparative wealth of the West, leaving behind bereft families who want — but can't afford — to bring that child home.