Madonna says adopting Malawi boy as hard as childbirth
Madonna said Thursday her efforts to adopt a child in Malawi and the media ridicule she faced had been as difficult as childbirth, but she was confident of winning permanent custody.
The 49-year-old pop star, who was in Cannes with a documentary she produced and wrote about AIDS orphans in the southern African nation, said she had been bewildered by the criticism and suspicion she faced.
“It was painful and it was a big struggle and I didn’t understand it but in the end, I rationalised that, when a woman has a child and goes through natural childbirth, she suffers an enormous amount,” she told reporters.
“So I sort of went through my own kind of birthing pains with dealing with the press on my front doorstep accusing me of kidnapping or whatever you want to call it. I had to go through some kind of process and in the end it made me stronger so I can’t complain.”
More than half of Malawi’s population lives on less than a dollar a day and the country is one of the world’s worst affected by AIDS with about 14 percent of its 12 million people infected with HIV, the virus that causes the disease.
Although widely praised for her charity work in Malawi, the adoption case also triggered a storm of protest there.
Madonna said the absence of laws in Malawi allowing for international adoptions meant hers became a test case.
Her film, “I Am Because We Are“, tells the wrenching story of a generation of children left to fend for themselves after AIDS robs them of their parents.
It includes interviews with high-profile activists including former US president Bill Clinton and South African Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, spliced between images of ailing AIDS patients and the terror experienced by children suddenly left alone.
Its optimistic ending focuses on charity groups working to ensure medical care, education and guidance for the children and ways viewers can help.
Madonna brushed aside questions about the stark contrast between the abject poverty seen in the film and the glitz on display at Cannes.
“The suffering there is palpable and tangible, and it seems like they have so little, the irony is that when you come back to the world that we live in, where we seem to have so much, you suddenly start asking yourself questions,” she said.
“Everyone here is miserable and everyone here has depression, everyone here is taking anti-depressants and everyone’s complaining and we have so much and have so many distractions and so in the movie I say, ‘Who has it right? Who really needs to be saved?’.”
The picture was directed by Nathan Rissman, an amateur filmmaker who had previously worked for Madonna and Ritchie as a gardener and babysitter.
Despite Rissman’s lack of experience, the film has won critical praise for its searing images and tightly edited interviews.
“I’m hoping the whole world sees it,” said Madonna, who premiered her first feature film, a comedy set in London, to mixed reviews in Berlin in February.
She said the death of her own mother when she was only six had been a factor in leading her to tell the story of the more than one million AIDS orphans in Malawi.
The film’s title comes from an African adage about individuals’ connection to their communities and the world.
Source: AFP via Yahoo! News.