Celebrities adopting Third World babies

Should people such as Madonna and Angelina Jolie be allowed to adopt children from poor countries?

LAST UPDATED AT 13:12 ON Fri 3 Apr 2009

THE ARGUMENTS FOR
 
Orphanages in poor countries are usually horrible places to grow up in. Children adopted by celebrities get far better education, better healthcare and better food than they otherwise would.

Much of the criticism of celebrity adoptions fails to take into account what is best for the child. Trite complaints about modern-day colonialism, or jealousy of the influence that famous people wield, shouldn't be allowed to compromise a child's chance of an improved quality of life.

Celebrities adopt poor children because they have a genuine urge to help them. We have no reason to think otherwise - or to criticise them.
 
THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST
 
Children are not accessories. Celebrities shouldn't be allowed to go into an orphanage and pick out a cute-looking baby in the same way they'd pick out a handbag.

Children should grow up where they belong. Just as a white child from the West would feel out of place growing up in Africa, an African child should not grow up in an environment which deprives them of their cultural heritage and confuses their sense of identity.

Celebrities have much more influence than the other people connected with the baby, which can lead to unfair outcomes.

Celebrities, with their sophisticated legal representatives and PR teams, can all too easily manipulate their way through the legal loopholes in a Third World country's adoption law, or impose their will on less educated villagers. When Madonna took David Banda away from an orphanage in Malawi, his illiterate father wasn't entirely aware what was going on.

There are up to 4,000 children in the British foster care system waiting to be adopted. They, rather than somebody plucked from abroad, should be at the head of the queue.

Many of the children adopted by celebrities become symbols of philanthropy and topics of heated media debate. As they grow up, this is something that they might resent.

Celebrities, with their busy, glamorous and dramatic lives, simply don't have enough time to bring up their children with enough love and affection.  It's much better to grow up in a normal family. · 

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