Washington Post: “Inter-race adoptees say worried about Madonna child”

Inter-race adoptees say worried about Madonna child By Kate Kelland

Reuters
Wednesday, October 18, 2006; 9:07 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – Chris Atkins was not much older than David Banda, the baby Madonna is seeking to adopt, when she was brought half-way across the world to become part of a white British family.

Coming from Hong Kong, where she was abandoned as a newborn on the steps of a tenement building, to a London suburb, she says she was given the love, protection and opportunity she may never otherwise have had.

But she says the psychological price cross-border adoptees pay for their new lives is high, and warns that celebrities like Madonna should not believe that huge wealth and status will be enough to cancel it out.

"People need to understand that the losses for the adoptees are immense and lifelong," Atkins, a founder member of the Transnational and Transracial Adoption Group (www.ttag.org.uk), told Reuters in an interview.

"The price many of us have paid is a lifelong struggle to gain a sense of belonging, to attain some kind of identity. And that lifelong struggle is tiring. It’s tiring being ignored, and it’s tiring being expected to say thank you all the time."

Atkins describes how "acutely embarrassed" she feels when Chinese people address her in Cantonese and she cannot answer.

"They call people like me bananas — I’m yellow on the outside and white on the inside," she says.

As the world’s media tracked the progress of baby David Banda from an orphanage in his poverty-stricken home country of Malawi to the opulence of Madonna’s London mansion, few could deny the material benefits which lie ahead of him.

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