Thursday, October 26, 2006
Madonna adoption: Seeking the dad's story
We'd heard Yohane Banda, the biological father of Madonna's adoptive baby, was getting sick and tired of the press, sick and tired of being hounded, sick and tired of having to explain why he'd changed his story so many times. He'd gone into hiding and we needed to find him.

We set out for Yohane's African village at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning, the day after Madonna's interview on Oprah. Two hours of bone-jarring dirt road later, we arrived at his tiny village tucked away in a remote corner of Malawi.

The padlock on his door was the first sign of trouble. Also, none of the villagers wanted to volunteer any information on his whereabouts. Finally, we managed to convince one of his relatives. She told us he was staying with his sister at a different village a short drive away. Now anyone who's done any travelling in Africa knows the minute you're told something is a short dive away, it means it's quite a distance.

A half-hour drive later we arrived at the village of Kazyozyo, not far from the Zambian border. A few inquiries later, we found Yohane sitting outside his sister's hut drinking tea with his sister. Her husband is a teacher at a nearby school and together they have two children.

Yohane was surprised we'd found him but he was ready to talk, ready to set the record straight. We sat down for his first interview since Madonna appeared on Oprah. Our interview will be on "360" tonight.

Yohane told us he was pressured by various civil society groups to say he didn't understand the fine print when signing over the adoption papers of little baby David. Now, he says he wants Madonna to have his son as her own, to raise him, educate him and give him the life he'd never have gotten here in this impoverished corner of Africa.

Yohane made a passionate plea to Madonna to ignore all the media hype surrounding the controversial adoption and said she shouldn't give up the fight for baby David. He says he'll be going to the High Court in Malawi on Friday to tell the judge to throw out the case brought against it by a group of human rights organizations that want the adoption law in Malawi to take its course -- namely, that any potential parents should live in Malawi for a minimum of 18 months before being granted adoption rights.

In the end, I felt sorry for Yohane, a 32-year-old illiterate vegetable farmer. His first two sons died of Malaria in their infancy and David was his third and only living child. David's mother also died of Malaria soon after he was born.

Yohane's had a tough life, and he doesn't get a cent from giving David to Madonna. What he does get is, literally, a one-in-a-million chance for his son. David is one of a million children scattered across various orphanages in Malawi who have lost at least one parent. He now gets an opportunity to grow up wealthy and privileged and maybe one day come back and help out his poor family in one of Africa's poorest countries.
Posted By Jeff Koinange, CNN Africa Correspondent: 1:47 PM ET
Why can't we leave Madonna alone. We should be greatful that she cared enought to adopt a child from the poverty that he was in. Shame on us for criticizing!
Posted By Anonymous K. Ontario Canada : 2:19 PM ET
Enough already! Can we please get back to the real news? There are so many other children who deserve our attention. It's unbelievable how much attention this story has received. Jeff, you've done so much great work on other stories...Let's move on.
Posted By Anonymous Annik, San Francisco, CA : 2:21 PM ET
i'm sorry - but I am really trying to figure out why this is considered to be news. The story is indeed sad, however if the adopter was not a celebrity this would not be in the news anywhere.
I think the real issue at hand is international adoption laws and the fact that much of Africa needs help financially, etc to end the disease and poverty that has so stricken much of the continent.
When a person is giving up their child so that they can have a better life, that is really the saddest story and the real story - who cares that Madonna is even involved!
Posted By Anonymous Christy, Seattle WA : 2:22 PM ET
I was watching Madonna on Oprah and I have all the respect for what she has done. I think its unfair and unfortunate that people want to critisize her for saving a life (and more lives of orphanage children with her support financially fot the center itself). Even if the process was eased for her,in the end its the baby David and other children living there who now have benefitted. As an entartainer she can do whatever on the stage, but as a mother she has proved to be an excellent mother to her children. Lets give her our support.
Posted By Anonymous Tabu Farmington hills MI : 2:28 PM ET
As an adopted child I can give some firsthand insight to this issue. People make the wrong assumptions regarding adoption. Being adopted does not necessarily guarantee a "Better Life". I would have preferred being raised by my natural mother than in an adoptive home where I felt like I never belonged. There is something to be said for being able to look across the kitchen table and seeing where you get your eyes, funny mouth shape, color of hair, etc. No amount of celebrity or money can fill that emptiness. The adoptive parent must realize for the rest of their lives they will have to make up for the feeling of abandonment and insecurity of an adopted child who in the the back of their minds feel they weren't good enough for the natural parents to keep. If these celebrities truly want to do good and give back, then keep a family together and help the villages as a whole. Sparing $1 million of your $100 million+ fortune to help a village prosper goes further than simply rescuing and indulging only one child. How is adopting one child from a nation of thousands of orphans going to improve things? Why not do what Oprah does? She doesn't adopt single children, she builds schools for all children. Also, doesn't healing begin at home? Why not help the thousands of children in America living in group homes waiting for a parent? If you truly want to give back, how about giving back to the children here at home who buy the albums, watch the movies and worship the posters? You can't begin to heal other countries without first healing your home.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Woodland Hills CA : 2:30 PM ET
Hi Jeff~
This is another heartbreaking story out of Africa. My heart goes out to Yohane and all those like him who have to give up their children. That is an extreme sacrifice. The consolation is knowing their children will survive and have access to education and privileges otherwise not available. I do pray that Yohane's son comes back to help the plight of his people. I greatly admire Modonna and others who adopt these children. Let's hope David is in Madonna's arms soon. This kind and generous gesture gives these children the gift of life. . . and a good one.
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 2:31 PM ET
This is appalling. If Madonna were a true samaritan, she would have helped this poor man give his son a decent life while being able to keep his only child. For her to take advantage of a man, whose only objective is to give his son a decent life, regardless of the cost to himself, is despicable.
Posted By Anonymous Deb Pena, Baytown, Texas : 2:37 PM ET
If Angelina had adopted little David the press would have nominated her for sainthood. Madonna tried to duck the press and do a quiet adoption and everyone is attacking her. Leave her alone and let her be a mother. She doesn't exploit her other children - you almost never see photos of them. The press and photographers are the ones doing the exploiting here.
Posted By Anonymous Marc Swanson Atlanta, GA : 2:38 PM ET
When I first started to read this article, I admit I was on the defensive. I thought it would be an article focused on bashing Madonna. Though she isn't my favorite person in the world, I do believe her intentions in regards to adopting David, are noble. I am glad you were able to reach Yohane Banda to set the record straight. The media frenzy has been quite ridiculous, so I was happy to read this well written article ... an article that was not intent on hurting anybody. A breath of fresh air ... Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous Tania Cavanaugh - Weatherford, Texas : 2:40 PM ET
Adoptions don't always work out for all parties involved. Why should a celebrity be any different?
There are always issues and risks when couples try to adopt. This should be expected. There are many orphaned children who need families. I don't understand the wish to take a child from a parent simply because he is poor. To me that is exploitation. Adopt an orphan. They don't have family who already loves them.
Posted By Anonymous Margo, Portland Or. : 2:51 PM ET
I hope everything will turn ok to David. that's the most important thing :>
Posted By Anonymous Milda, Vilnius, Lithuania : 2:53 PM ET
I will think of Madonna the next time I am at the grocery store looking to buy a baby. Maybe they will have barcodes that we can just scan and get a certian baby from a country in Africa, or SE Asia delivered striaght to our door. Thank you Madonna for improving all of our lives, you are a wonderful pho-British Angelina, couldn't even be original. I didn't realize that 'material' now included babies. Spend some money here in the US and Africa to prevent the neddles killing of babies in the murder clinics around the world.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 2:56 PM ET
Why in the heck are all these movie stars going to other countries to adopt, when we have children in this country that need adopting. All their saying is look at me, I'm not racist, I adopted a orphan from Africa, I'm special.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Radcliff, Kentucky : 2:57 PM ET
I admire anyone who has the generosity of spirit to adopt a child destined to live a lifetime of poverty. As I read along the blog, I find some comments that say we should start with the children here in the US first. While I agree that these kids need help too, the choice is the adopting parents'. Does it really matter whether it's an American or African child? While we all look different on the outside, inside we look the same...we have the same heart, the same brain, etc. Let's live Madonna, David, etc. alone and be grateful that this child will not go hungry anymore. Yes, she saved only one child, but it's a big deal to that child.
Posted By Anonymous Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 2:58 PM ET
While I feel that the adoption of any needy child can be a blessing, I fear celebrities adopting children from impoverished African countries may somehow become too trendy. I also think there are many children in this country who could be helped (either individually or by contributions to their schools and home) and need just as much love and nurturing as those in other countries. I'm not sure why they come in second to the children of the Third World. Is it because we believe the government will take care of them?
Posted By Anonymous Maryann Mercer, Champaign IL : 3:08 PM ET
No right thinking human being wants David to grow up and eventually die in wretched poverty, that is not the point here. The child deserves the best that life has to offer.

The point is that his adoption by Madonna smacks of celebrity grandstanding, as if poor Third World children are pets to be taken in by wealthy "First World" celebrities and paraded like trophies.

Madonna has never been known for great charitable overtures, most likely her main motivator in this activity is that she probably feels Angelina Jolie gets way too much attention (and seems much more genuine), so it was time for her to trot out a "Get a Third World Kid"...and enjoy the attention al lthis has caused. The tears during the Oprah interview were just way over the top..

Perhaps celebrities would do better to devote their time and most of all their money to empowering people like David's father through health care, education and sustainable development initiatives that would go a far way to preventing the horrible diseases and mind-numbing economic catastrophes that befall so much of Africa.

These types of concerted, focussed, strategic, long-lasting initiatives would have a more wide ranging impact than simply adopting one child, while the rest languish in destitution.

At the same time, the profound work being done by religious and civil organisations on behalf of entire villages and communities, in hell holes like Darfur, goes unnoticed and barely mentioned by the world media in favor of one celebrity's erratic need for attention, these are the people you should be highlighting not Madonna.

They help out not because a camera is present and this image looks good, oh no, they truly are their brother's keeper....
Posted By Anonymous Tanya Carr, Port of Spain, Trinidad : 3:08 PM ET
While adopting a child from an impoverished country is noble, I think it's a 'band-aid' solution to the overall problem. Instead of adopting children, we should all be trying to do our part to help countries in crisis become independent and healthy. This way, children don't have to be taken out of their homeland for a better life.
The media has really spun this story--shame on them. There are more important things for us all to be talking, thinking, worrying about.
Posted By Anonymous Sheri S. Toronto, Canada : 3:08 PM ET
Here's a thought: Who cares?
Posted By Anonymous Rob Dayton, OH : 3:09 PM ET
There are so many more pressing issues to worry about in this world than whether Madonna is doing right or wrong by adopting a child from Malawi.

All that matters here is the father of the child has agreed to the adoption, and Madonna is helping a child, who very likely, wouldn't survive childhood without this adoption.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 3:10 PM ET
I have mixed feelings; while I commend her you would think she would adopt a child who had "no living parents", though it seems this childs only living parent never visited him since he was in the orphanage...

I also agree with the poster who said give as a whole to the country as Oprah has.
Posted By Anonymous K.N. Boston, Mass : 3:11 PM ET
As Madonna said of the media in her interview with Oprah, "Shame on You". Until you've seen first hand the conditions in Africa -- the disease, the sewage, the lack of clean water, the millions of orphans -- please reserve your negative judgment and comments. To think this is a PR stunt by Madonna is not only disrepectful to her as a mother, but to those that are benefitting from her enormously generous support. Thank you, Madonna.
Posted By Anonymous Scott, Chicago, IL : 3:24 PM ET
Why didn't madonna adopt an African child who was truly an orphan? Why force the choice of a "better" life on a natural parent who is likely to choose that better future for his child, even if the heart does not agree. In this particular case, Madonna's intent is clearly noble, but not well thought out. In my view, she erred in rescuing a child, while leaving the living father behind.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Portland, Oregon : 3:25 PM ET
Hi Jeff,
Adoption, in my opinion, should be a private matter..If you're Jane Doe or Madonna..News should be reported, not created..I just feel bad for the father. No one in this world should have to give up a child because of poverty..That's the real issue..I wish them all well..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif : 3:25 PM ET
David's village, Africa, and the World would/could be a better place if misguided celebs decided to Save the Unborn Children instead of the ones already born into a crushing live of poverty.

Birth control is the only hope for David's village, Africa and the World. Not a pitiful handful of children plucked from a life of misery and transplanted into a life ofunreal opulance.
Posted By Anonymous Richard Elderhouse, San Carlos, CA : 3:27 PM ET
People call this a publicity stunt. If all stars pulled such 'stunts' we could rid this world of poverty and fammine. I for one applaud Madonna for what she has done and how she is handling this, with dignity and grace.
Posted By Anonymous Dannielle, Brooklyn NY : 3:27 PM ET
Jeff... You found the father... I think it is a good thing that he was able to say he did give the child up for adoption, freely and under no pressure... Now it's time to move on...If we make it such a big deal to adopt, no one else will follow suit... I am not a big fan of Madonna's on stage performance, but how she handled herself through this whole adoption showed class and caring... We should now leave them all alone, including the father...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry, Sarasota, Fl : 3:36 PM ET
As a mother of 2, ages 12 & 13, I'm in the process of adopting a drug exposed baby that I have had since I picked him up from the hospital 1 year ago. I do not understand how so many people can judge her decision to adopt a child from another country. Should it really make a difference in your decision to adopt if a child was exposed to drugs, an orphan, poor, or ill. The bottom line is this is an innocent child who didn't ask to be here. If more people would just open their hearts and stop judging others, maybe there wouldn't be so many children in the foster care system in our own cities, states and countries....I give Madonna full support. She is a woman who would like to adopt a child to bring joy to her life as well as his. Why is everyone making such a big deal out of this? Is it because she is a celebrity or they have nothing better to do...Get a life of your own and stop critisizing others.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Nunez Phoenix, AZ : 3:52 PM ET
The thing I can't help to wonder is - why did Madonna seek out the media attention surrounding her "adoption" then when it turns out to be unfavourable attention she gets her back up and has to "defend" herself? What ever happened to any press is good press?

I think the "wealthy" and "privileged" part of this story is what has attracted so much attention but does wealthy mean happy? We'll see in a few years I guess. Besides this isn't even a news story, why does CNN even care?
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 4:01 PM ET
Hello Jeff:

The real story in my mind is about Yohane. He has suffered a great amount of loss - a wife and three children and he is only 32 years old.

Can you imagine being able to love someone so much that you gave your only child to another family for his betterment and well being? I can.

My birth mother gave me up for adoption 40 years ago. She was a 30 year old Catholic woman and in the 1960's she had to quit her professional job to live in an apartment for unwed mothers. After I was born, she suffered through 10 years of therapy. I am her only child.

What's the therapy for Yohane? Who's Yohane's support system? Just because he is illiterate, I know he has to feel the pain and the loss and the suffering.

Adoption is a story about loss and hope. You give your child up for adoption and you suffer the loss for life. You hope for a better future for the child.

The first question my birth mother asked me when I met spoke to her via telephone was "Do you hate me?" My response was "How could I?"

I hope Madonna raises David to love his birth mother & father just like I was raised. I hope she and her husband tell him how special he is. I hope in their home there is no difference between white skin and brown skin in their home. I hope the children are taught that everyone has a heart, a soul and a mind including Yohane and David. I hope the children are taught they should look for all men who are honorable and kind. Most of all, I hope their friends and family feel the same way so David can belong to a family in London.

Thanks for bring this story to our family room tonight. I'll be sitting their with my tissues surely shedding a few tears for David and thinking about my own life too.
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 4:55 PM ET
You would think Madonna would have taken into consideration the need for a relationship between father and child. Oh, but he changed his mind! So how does anyone expect a poor illiterate or nearly illiterate man to represent himself and his child properly in the context of this case.
It smacks of exploitation as if money and power always trumps every situation. She could just have easily given the man help to raise his child and taken another one, a true orphan. When will the rich get over themselves? In Canada and Australia native children were removed from their homes and placed in institutions because Europeans knew what was better for them. The damage in those situations is well documented. Then there was the was slavery, and the millions of families broken because of it. But we can always come up with a reason why it is "right" at the time.
It is pure vanity. Leave children with family, community and culture.
Posted By Anonymous R. Burke, Toronto ON : 4:57 PM ET
Finally a fair representation of the international adoption process. This father is trying to do what he feels is best for his son. Yet the human rights groups feel they know better and can step into the shoes of the father because as a poor man he cannot make decisions himself. It is the human rights groups, not Madonna, who are arrogantly exploiting the situation.
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Chicago, IL : 4:58 PM ET
Hi Jeff,

I work one month in Mali Africa and let me tell you that, what Madonna is doing is just awesone. Children needs help and even though it is not his real mother, she can at least give him a chance to live a learn and most of all being love. I am sure that she can do that very well. There is too much dying, famine and war in those countries. Thank God for that woman. I rather hear about good stories like this one instead of politics and lies all day long.
Posted By Anonymous Johanne, Ottawa, Ontario : 5:04 PM ET
What is so sad is that in all the hype surrounding Madonna's good intentions in adopting David, people seem to gloss over the good work she is doing in Malawi, donating funds to orphanages that need food and medicine and building new orphanages in a country that is one of the most impoverished in Afica and being ravaged by AIDS. I grew up in South Africa and one of my goals is to one day be able to adopt a child from there becasue I know firsthand what the situation is like. Whatever you may think of Madonna as a celebrity, her heart is in the right place, not only is she helping the country on a large scale, but she is literally saving a life. As far as all this criticism about how she should rather help David's father or adopt a kid with no living relatives - anyone who has been to Africa knows that the Mothers are the caregivers to the children - and she has every right in the world to reach out to a child that she felt a connection with. People need to stop judging and criticizing if they themselves are not doing anything to help the millions of orphans of Africa. Its not only hypocritical, it is ignorant.
Posted By Anonymous Carolyn, New York, NY : 5:04 PM ET
Are CNN's ratings so low that you have to run a story about this? I can't believe the trouble you went to find the father when you could have reported more on the civil war.
Posted By Anonymous Nicki, Calgary, Alberta : 5:06 PM ET
I really used to enjoy watching 360. The poor man goes into hiding to get away from the media, so you had to go find him??

Between showing snipers, kooks (the guy who claimed to kill Jon Benet), and hounding this poor man, I find myself increasingly switching the channel during 360.

My respect for 360 and Anderson Cooper is fading quickly.
Posted By Anonymous James, Dallas Texas : 5:15 PM ET
Honestly, who cares? There are a hundred different issues going on in our world that require more attention than this story has. Please, CNN, let this story die, as it should have days ago.
Posted By Anonymous Brian Ulwick, Galesburg, IL. : 5:19 PM ET
Well...the celebs seem obsessed with Africa whether it be Liveaid,bandaid,Live8 or in this case.Sainthood only seems to come with helping Africa to be given billions to waste on dictators.There are 600 million Asian children living in dire poverty.There are millions of S American orphans ochildren going down mines and sewing NIKE footballs for cents.Where are the concerts and LIVE8's,the Bonos,Geldofs,Madoonas,Clooneys and Jolies...?? Sure the woman has done fine for David and good luck to both.But this compassion is limited to Africa and they want to impose their choice on us the taxpayer by using their celebrity to lobby the western govts.
Posted By Anonymous Thomas, H ,Toronto,Canada : 5:19 PM ET
When did Madonna seek out media attention regarding this adoption? I never heard an announcement that she was even traveling to Africa until after she arrived. I also read that reporters etc. were not allowed around her during her visit. I don't pretend to know what the conditions are like in Africa but they sound horrible. I wonder how many of these opinionated opponents of the adoption would actually choose staying in the African Orphanage with no electricity over a life of luxury, education and opportunities that only most of us can imagine!
Posted By Anonymous Richard, Los Angeles CA : 6:39 PM ET
I hope that if the show come up tonight this will be the end of the issue because now we will hear it from the real father what really happened when he did'nt understand the papers that he signed in. but now I think it is clear as crystal that the father understood already what really the adoption means. I what really happened here is the press terorizing Mr. Yohane Banda.

good luck and thank you Mr. Jeff Koinange.
regards to Mr. Anderson Cooper wherever he is LOL. we will watch your story bye see you soon.
Posted By Anonymous Jemillex Bacerdo Chicago, IL. : 6:41 PM ET
I have 3 by domestic adoption, one by international adoption and one biological....

a child is a child...I do wonder how many of the posters that criticize international adoption and state that "these people" should adopt in the US have actually adopted in the US themselves??

all 3 of my kiddos are 100% MY OWN...they are all equal in my eyes and they all know that families are built in many different ways....Leave Madonna alone....and before you criticize, why not consider ADOPTING???
Posted By Anonymous Rosie, Kansas City, MO : 7:17 PM ET
So you heard the biological father was tired of talking to the press -- and what do you do? Track him down. Congrats on getting the story, and it is solace to know that the adoption has his blessing. But for christ's sake, leave the guy alone! He's already been through more than enough. Madonna hasn't been treated well throughout this ordeal, either; but at least she has the resources and experience to be able to handle media and paparazzi. This guy doesn't have that, and he deserves to be able to return to his normal life.
Posted By Anonymous Tyson, St. Louis, MO : 7:59 PM ET
The biological father goes into hiding. You guys get someone to trust you, so you can track him down. What do you do with that trust? You tell his side of the story, which is good. But then you turn around & put his location on this blog. Won't that be handy for the rest of the media to chase him down AGAIN! Jeez!
Posted By Anonymous Kathy, Wichita, KS : 8:06 PM ET
I would remind those readers who are skeptical of Madonna's intentions that Madonna herself lost her mother when she was five years old. She is no saint, and she certainly has instigated plenty of controversy during her career. But it is important to remember that she is human, too. Who among us knows what it is like to lose a mother at five? I guarantee you that when Madonna chooses to be a mother, it is a lifetime commitment for her. She deserves our respect in that, even if perhaps she is not always admirable in other things.
Posted By Anonymous Tyson, St. Louis, MO : 8:06 PM ET
Madonna has a 25 year public track record of being a self-serving opportunist and this is no different.

This beautiful child already has a father and if madonna really wanted to improve this childs life she need not take him from his father. Madonna could have set up an annuity that pays out the father and son and that way David could have stayed with his family, which is what is in his best interest.

A black child being raised by a white family will only further fuel Davids sense of isolation and aloneness. This may not be a very PC opinion but, it is the truth. The whole nauseating regularity of white celebrities 'saving'African children smacks of colonialism.

Africa does not need Europeans swooping in a taking black children from their parents. Africa needs debt relief and for its citizens to take control of the destiny and future of their own people.
Posted By Anonymous JRT, Calgary, Alberta, Canada : 8:31 PM ET
I have to set the record straight for Madonna:

1) Madonna did NOT seek out media attention. The media sought her out. Madonna wanted to keep it on the down low.Come on it's not like Madonna made a commercial saying, "hey look I am going to Malawi. New York times, follow me!" But it's just that she's such a big star that nothing she does can be a secret. It's the British paparazzi guys. Madonna can fart on the street and it can be on the headline news.

About Madonna not doing what Oprah does and only saving one orphan -- this is not true. Madonna is one of the founders of the raising Malawi projects and has donated a lot of money to the country. The foundation has started schools and stuff for children. It not like Madonna just went to Malawi and took a baby out of the country.

I don't understand why some people in here keep saying that she's "buying" a baby when she's obviously not. You guys are biased and obviously you have something against Madonna. Some person wrote that "Madonna has never been the most charitable person blah blah blah". What do you know about Madonna? During the last 10 years Madonna has donated a lot to charity anonymously, and this was mentioned by Liz Rosenberg and Rosie O'Donnell. The last time she showed up on Oprah, some girl's parents also went to the show to tell Oprah that Madonna talked on the phone for hours daily to their daughter before their daughter's death. The girl was connected to some charity foundation and her last wish was to talk to Madonna. The song "Nothing Fails" on American Life was written for the girl and it was exclusively played at the girl's funeral before the album was released. And Madonna never said anything about these openly.

Just because you think Madonna isn't a good person doesn't mean she can't do wonderful things. Drop your biases.
Posted By Anonymous Colum, Seattle, WA : 9:39 PM ET
as long as she's doing something good...why are those organization so against her? even it may not be fair to everyone else, but it is good for the child!!
Posted By Anonymous Rachel, Santa Monica California : 10:20 PM ET
If Madonna was actually in touch with people and our own humanity in general she might of offered her father financial help so that he could raise his own child instead. It is truely sad that the father has been conditioned to accept a terrible fate. I pity him and Madonna. Why not adopt a child who has no one?
Posted By Anonymous Hill, Glastonbury, Connecticut : 11:44 PM ET
To Tanya Carr from Trinidad: Madonna DOES have an organization in Malawi; she has committed $3 million to build an orphan center and additional infrastructure in Malawi. Her Raising Malawi project is a long-term commitment partnered with the Clinton Foundation. It's not just about waltzing into a country, taking a baby, and never returning. Madonna has said she plans to return to Malawi twice a year to monitor the progress of her initiatives.

This whole media blowup just goes to prove how intellectually lazy people are these days; people rush to judgement before taking the time to find out the whole story.

Some people only pay attention to the scandalous aspects of Madonna's career, but if they bothered to go beyond the (mostly inaccurate) headlines to find out what her body of work consists of they'd find an artist of considerable sensitivity and depth.

BTW, there's an illegal war raging in Iraq? Can we get back to that please?
Posted By Anonymous Adam, New York, NY : 12:17 AM ET
I found Dr. Jane Erickson's statements bias and misleading.

The demand is for healthy newborn infants and because of it "few want" to adopt the older, special needs or bi-racial children available in the US foster care system.

In the US, the demand for babies is greater than the number available, and with having to "deal with" the natural parents in an "open adoption", foreign
adoption has become an alternative resource.

Natural parents can not reclaim their child after an adoption is finalized.
The few publicized situations were cases that had not yet been finalized.

One day the media will take notice that their sources of "experts" are also adopters who make a living off of separating families. Until the media stops relying on such sources, it is aiding this multi-billion dollar human flesh trade industry who continues to look for new ways to find babies. So the question is, which family member would you hand over to strangers so they can buy and sell?
Posted By Anonymous Leslie Ashtabula, PA : 1:37 AM ET
The story here is, again, the plight of real people in Africa. The rest is the usual celeb headline to sell a paper.
Jeff, hope you can keep Africa, the forgotten in the news.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 1:37 AM ET
I don't think Madonna sought media attention. She's much more media-savvy than that, and being the world's highest paid female singer just got the news hounds after her.

All she did was adopt a child and I believe that she did save a life from poverty or possibly, death. It is her choice whether she wants to adopt a child or adopt a "village".

After all, I am sure she has given money to other charities without having to shout about them. So why not leave her alone to her family.

She's a celebrity. She's Madonna. Don't forget she's also a human being. Or are some people just jealous of her success?

Well, she worked hard for that.
Posted By Anonymous Caroline, Malaysia : 4:17 AM ET
Madonna had good intentions and did something nice for someone else. It is interesting to see all the haters making comments especially about what someone else should do. But I guess these attitudes are why this country is in such a sad state. Keep up your good work Christains.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Atlanta Georgia : 8:17 AM ET
Hey Jeff,

I firmly believe that we need to help impoverished countries, get rid of the violence,the illnesses and the hunger. But that takes time, and meanwhile, children are dying. Two of my friends adopted Intn'l.
Choosing int'l or in your own country adoption is a personnal choice and it is none of our business!
I had to let go of my first son(because the modern medecine could not do anything to save him,he died.) Buth death is definitive. Giving up your child for adoption must be unbearable. You know that your child is out there somewhere. You must wonder every minute. And do you know that most of the children who end up in child trafficing and prostitution have families? Those families are approch by disgusting individuals who promess them that their children are going to have better lives. They let them go in hope for a better future for them.
At least, David's father knows that his son will have a better life.
Note to the media who have been on Madonna's case. Most of you talk about impoverished countries only when a celebrity is there. How about stepping up to the plate and talking about world issues even if there is no "celebs" in sight? If it's to difficult to master,well,continue to write insipide meaningless articles or get a life!!
I'm not talking about CNN who finds time to do stories all year long. Especially Coop and his team. Now, can we talk about something else? NEXT!!!

Joanne Ranzell
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne Ranzell Laval QUebec : 8:38 AM ET
I honestly don't understand why these so-called human rights groups are all upset over this. Granted, this is a black boy who will grow up in a white family. But who cares? Why is that issue more important than the fact that most of his family is dead and he is managing to escape that same fate? As a mother of two, I can tell you without a doubt that it must be a desperate situation for a parent to willingly and happily give up his child. Regardless of who it was who adopted him, as long as he is well loved and well taken care of, little David is one of the luckiest children in the world.
Posted By Anonymous Michelle, Jacksonville, NC : 8:49 AM ET
I am an adoptive mother to two Russian "orphans." My children's biological parents are, to my knowledge, still alive, but my children were living in an orphanage since infancy, with no visitation from anyone in their extended family. No one in their family showed up to any hearing about their eligibility for adoption. True, Russia is no Africa, but you would be surprised to see the dozens of "homes" in Siberia that are actually holes dug into the ground along the roadside with pipes for ventilation sticking out. My children's parents may be alive, but they were not a part of my children's lives. Both of my children were pale, underweight, and sick when we picked them up. Today, they are healthy, strong, and striving and they live in a home with their (adoptive) parents. They were orphans, as is any child living in an orphanage because his/her parents could not or would not care for them. I applaud Madonna and to all the ignorant, judgemental critics...if you spent 1/2 the energy educating yourself that you spend judging others, you too may be enlightened enough one day to 'give a child a life' whether he or she is an orphan in America, or any other country of the world. Thank You, Madonna.
Posted By Anonymous Leslie, St. Pete, FL : 9:07 AM ET
I have to say...I am actually not a big Madonna fan. But this uproar over her adoption has simply gone too far. Why are we bashing this woman for doing a truly heartfelt deed? She already has 2 biological children; clearly she is aware of the sacrifice and effort needed to raise a child. I don't believe that she entered into this lightly and I don't believe she should have to deal with current situation. She should be allowed to enjoy this new addition to her family. She is doing something for the greater good and for that she should be commended. She has given this child a chance he would have never had in Africa. Like it or not at this time raising a child on most of the African continent is difficult at best. If this child had managed to survive his first years of life, he would have faced a life of poverty. He now has a chance and that is thanks to Madonna.
Posted By Anonymous Abby Knoxville, TN : 9:13 AM ET
I love Madonna's actions. I remember an article with Madonna like 20 years ago letting us all know, she loves children and would like to have a few if not several. Just like her on stage you better expect nothing but excellence, and as a personal trainer I go by peoples actions not words. Madonna has given a life of love for a child. Yes it's wonderful seeing my sister taking 1 year of her life out of her cubical in architecture helping children find homes and actually building orphanages walking to the men with the plans looking at her as if they had never seen a White American and to hear how she's helped a dozen orphans who were dropped off at the Beautiful Gate orphanage in Lesotho not by person but cloth bags or just sitting there on the side of the road makes me a proud sister.
Go Madonna way to use your power!!
Posted By Anonymous Kelly Mantel ,San Diego, California : 9:35 AM ET
I am not a Madonna fan, but it is undeniable that little David will have a much better life. What a testament of love from David's father giving up his only living son so that he would have the chance of adoption and a better life.
Posted By Anonymous Lacey, Claremore, OK : 9:49 AM ET
I saw Madonna on Oprah and was favorably impressed with her grace and dignity under fire. It was clear to me that Madonna did not seek to adopt David because she wants attention. Neither was she trying to take him from his father. David was placed in adoption shortly after birth and was never visited by family. When Madonna found him, David was ill with horrific diseases that could easily have killed him, as they did his mother and both his brothers. He is still fighting off pneumonia.

In addition to saving David, Madonna is investing her time and fortune to help large numbers of African children, as Oprah does. Like Oprah, she is making regular trips back and forth to make sure her Vision is carried out - in her case, helping the plight of orphans. David will get to travel back and forth with her, as will her other two children, so there will be many happy reunions with his father and his village. To me, it's a Win/Win: A child is saved; his father and village get to see him grow up and thrive; and untold other orphans in his homeland get to benefit from Madonna's generosity and heart.
Posted By Anonymous Dar, West Chester, PA : 10:50 AM ET
MADONNA is the Queen of Rock and the most famous FEMALE ICON of our times.

History has always been UNFORGIVING and DISDAINFUL to women of mstytical strength and power.

Cleopatra-Queen of Egypt,

Joan of Arc-The warrior who fought to
end suffering for the French- and

Elizabeth I-Queen of England who England owns its freedom to NOW

All these Female ICONS have been debased and berated for doing good deeds.

Madonna is no differant-People today are still afraid of powerful females

Especially Female ICONS such as Madonna who will be in AMERICAN AND WORLD CULTURE books of books eternally!

The only**** MISTAKE*** MadonnA made is succeed extraordinary in her Music Career and now she is being punished for it. Ironic is in it?
Posted By Anonymous lana ***San Ant@ni@ TEXAS : 11:13 AM ET
A better life-of course the little boy will grow up with privileges he could not ever dream of. SO-he will be raised by a nanny-very likely his "step siblings" will resent him, and he will probably grow up thinking the world now owes him everything. Children in the US need help. I am sorry for Africa, but I wish our celebrities would care half as much for the US, the place and people that have made them who they are! DO they not think there is not poverty and misery here. Madonna and motherhood, somehow don't seem to go together very well.
Posted By Anonymous TS, Coastal SC : 11:28 AM ET
How many other people, families, and celebrities adopt children from foreign coutries? Madonna and Yohane both knew that they were giving David a better chance at life and hope. Please keep in mind that she's a mother first before a celebrity. Yes Madonna could have given money to Yohane to help raise David, but would that have saved him from dying if there was not a hospital or medical supplies available? Yes we have children here in the USA that needs to be given a home too, but with all the restrictions that are set by each state, its just hard to hear the news when the answer is no. Why did Angelina not get all the attention, drama, and boardcast when she adopted her daughter from Africa? Is it because she was donating a lot longer before Madonna? Are we judging Madonna because of her musical performance on her tour? Both Angelina and Madonna are not saints but they are great mothers to there children. We are focusing on just one person and other news that are pressing.
Posted By Anonymous GLee, Appleton WI : 12:23 PM ET
I agree with what some of you have said. I am sick and tired of celebrities trying to "do the right thing" and be "good sumaritans." While adopting a child is an amazing act of compassion and love,I do not feel that Madonna is doing this "out of the goodness of her heart." If she were truly altruistic, she would have donated money to the country or set up a program to keep families together. This man has lost all of his children and his wife.
I wish celebrities would stop faking it. I am sick and tired of celebrities asking US to donate money during charity telethons when THEY have MILLIONS of dollars while we are barely getting by. If they were truly altrustic and giving, they would give money rather than beg for it. Who needs a 40 million dollar house for 1 person to live in only 3 months out of the year? And when celebrites do give money, it is only in the thousands or 1 million. And it is covered to death by the press as a great act of compassion and giving. When you make 60 million dollars a year, 1 million is chump change. So celebrities, try to be a little more giving and a little less fake!
Posted By Anonymous Lindsey, North Canton, OH : 4:55 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.