April 21st, 2009
03:46 PM ET

The real world

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/21/floyd-malawi-photo.jpg caption="Photo of children in Malawi taken by In Session’s Jami Floyd"]
Jami Floyd
In Session

Madonna is still fighting to adopt a little girl named Chifundo “Mercy” James from the southern African country of Malawi. A judge in that country denied her petition, earlier this month, and she’s appealing the ruling.

All the while, Americans 10,000 miles away have questioned, challenged even excoriated Madonna for wanting to adopt this four-year-old girl. On some level, I understand. Cross racial, cross cultural and in this case cross continental adoption is fraught with emotion. There are good people on both sides of the issues; but unlike most of them, I know these children — the children of Malawi — because I’ve been there.

These are just a few of the hundreds of pictures I took — faces of the children I met there, all of them orphans — no mothers, no fathers, just hundreds of little faces looking up at me, reaching out.

None of the orphans I met were older than ten. Few survive that long. The high rate of HIV infection means lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, and higher death rates.


Filed under: Jami Floyd
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Sharon S

    Why doesn't Madonna just buy her self another little orphan and be happy! What is her deal anyway?
    Is everyone trying to outdo Skanalina and Octocrazy or something?

    Whatever I don't want to hear about Madonna or her brats we have a country in dire straights here much more important to me!

    April 22, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  2. Joe G. (Illinois)

    Americans are mostly spoiled beyond any point of saturation.. Whether it be immorality, wealth of food and possessions, debt and or credit card spoilage, or blinded despair beyond any point of reasonable expectation.. So there is no thought that some children in other parts of the world may be less opt to have as many options in life.. But the question here seems to lie on to whether there is such a thing as selfish predatory parenthood from rich but otherwise dark, rotten and immoral Iconic figures? Is one to sign off and seal the faith of an otherwise easy prey child of a third world country to a Marlin Manson, Madonna, or any other Hollywood Celebrity for that matter solely on the counts that they might be rich? What Madonna’s motive? Why not donate to poor children instead of trying to purchase their frail bodies and souls..?

    April 21, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  3. Laura - Va

    I am not a Madonna fan, never have been. Yet because she is a celebrity, the world views her through the eyes of the image she has carefully crafted for herself. In other words, it is hard to see her as a human being/a mother, who wants to have another child. Maybe we need to step back and take off the media lens. Why just one when so many are unspoken for? To quote a Garth Brooks song, “What good have you done, by saving just this one? It’s like whispering a prayer in the fury of a storm.” Who knows maybe the prayer Madonna whispers will be carried and others will hear it too.

    April 21, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  4. dina212

    People like Madonna give a face to places like Malawi where I personally didn't know there was such a need for attention. What they are asking her to do is within the realm of logic to me. Taking one child to the America's is beautiful but beyond that someone should make an effort to sustain Malawi. However, I know I will be paying more attention to Malawi now b/c of this and I only have Madonna to thank for that. As for the family still wanting the child, I feel we need more information in order to understand why Madonna felt that she could still adopt the child knowing that she had a family. I personally would continue to support the child (if I made a connection) or bring her family to the America's either way they should still be able to raise the child.

    April 21, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  5. Darci

    What about all the children who are up for adoption in the U.S.?

    April 21, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  6. Miss J

    Why is the girl in an orphanage if her family can provide so well for her?

    April 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  7. Isabel

    Everywhere in the world, unfortunately, there are children waiting for adoption and needing affection.

    April 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    The judge denied Madonna's request because he thought the child would be better off where she is. I don't know what that reason is but the judge who is local to the area knows more about it than I do and I think he had good reasons to say no. I have no problem with Madonna adopting this child or any other child but only in cases where the child will benefit more from the adoption than from being left where he or she is.

    April 21, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  9. RJJR

    Joanne and Melissa: get your facts straight. You are making fools of yourself, and for what? To win some argument? Because you don't like her? Whatever it is it doesn't look good on you. She has been planning on adopting Mercy ever since she adopted David. If you followed her you would know that.
    Furthermore, if you bothered to delve into the realm of reality, you would realize her extended family, the ones entrusted with her care are FOR this adoption. This father, who has never even seen her, only recently stepped up. He has no proof yet he is even hers, only that he slept with her mother, since no one ever claimed to be her father to date!
    Time will tell. Till then, do something proactive, not reactive!

    April 21, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  10. Rose Parvin

    The reality is not reality; it is stolen; we must find people with true selves to help unite and bring back a True World where people of substance can bring Universal Solutions instead of Hollywood to save the World Hunger and corruption. I defended film and music to gain more recognition and my Global Peace Program of Dialogue through all dimensions brings a great deal of power to film and music but it does not mean robbing the reality and access by the hollywood actors and acresses posoing as the real people of substance who have worked hard to be who they are and all of a sudden they see Angelina Joli posing as them and now every one wants to be Mother of the World and save the orphans even the Octo Mom gets more PR and media than me who have spent my life and 9 books to save the world orphans and that does not mean adopting them all and then leaving them with the maid and going on tours or making films!
    Reality is stolen by the pirates of the media and access and they give it to same people they like over and over again! We must save it!

    April 21, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  11. Crystal

    My question is this. With all the children in the U.S. who do not have relatives to take them, why doesn't Madonna try and adopt here. I am sure there are some children here that need adopting just as much as the children of Africa. This child has a family who wants to take care of her. Let her stay with her family, use your money and fame to adopt here I am sure you won't have any troubles.

    April 21, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  12. FD

    Why waist everyones time and money to help one child when she could multiply herself as mother of a lot more by providing a living condition for them remotely? She has the money to do it!

    April 21, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  13. Lashina Sea

    We must look at the situation in a realistic way..we know the heart of her family ..they love her, but can they feed her , give her medication she need, all the things a young child need besides the heart. Parents are struggling to make it and their children can't even afford to go to school. Why not allow adoption to a mother who would guide , feed, and take care of a child...The Judge should consider the childs better health and means of living.. I say let madonna have the child.
    It would be blessed and perhaps the parents could keep in touch and when the child is grown she could reunite with them..IF, they made thu the Hiv Virus..Lashina GBU

    April 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  14. Darin

    Mercy's 18-year-old mother was unmarried and died soon after she gave birth. Her father is believed to be alive, but has little contact with her. I applaud Madonna's efforts to reach out to the homeless children of the world. And although I hope the world becomes a more understanding, caring place, I know it won't be. People are more worried about political correctness than saving a human life. It's disgusting. So those of you who believe otherwise, I feel pity for your heartless souls.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  15. Melissa

    Honey, this child has a family there that wants her and are willing to care for her. Would you seriously rip an American child away from its family when the family is able and willing to care for the child? No, of course not. So why would it be right for another country to do that?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  16. Joanne Pacicca, Solvay, NY

    This child has relatives who love and want her. Is this the new "ultimate pet"? Do these celebs go "shopping" for children in the Third World? On the surface it seems full of beneficence; bu.t there is something unsettling about the process, especially when it's a yearly event.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm |