Hugh Jackman Defends Madonna's Malawian Adoption

05/06/2009 at 03:00 PM ET
Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

While many have questioned Madonna‘s motives in adopting a second child from Malawi, Hugh Jackman isn’t among them. In fact, the 40-year-old actor and father of two says he is “sure” that Madonna “is coming from a good place.” He adds,

“I challenge anyone who thinks you adopt a kid for a publicity stunt. Any parent knows that would have to be the most intensive publicity stunt in the world.”

Hugh and wife Deborra-Lee Furness turned to adoption, themselves, after suffering through multiple miscarriages. “But we always planned on adopting anyway, even if we had our own biological children,” he explains. The couple “think about” adopting again, but don’t want to press their luck! “Our first child was not the easiest of babies, which is why we left it five years before the second,” Hugh admits. “Our second was a dream baby.” There’s also the reality of all the additional work a third child would entail.

“Every time we get on a plane with our two kids and are all crammed in together, we think maybe we will leave it at what we have.”

He has harsh words for the adoption system currently in place in his native Australia, calling their laws “too restrictive.” While Hugh said he understands why “checks need to be made,” adoption officials “had a very negative approach,” which ultimately led the couple to pursue international adoption. “It was like they were trying to discourage you,” he notes. “There are 130 million orphans in the world — who is looking after them?”

“If you are a citizen of the world, on some level they are all our responsibility. And if you have got parents who want to adopt and there are children who need a home, it seems like a no-brainer.”

Hugh and Deborra are parents to Oscar Maximillian, 9 this month, and Ava Eliot, 3 ½.

Source: The Sun

— Missy

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Angi on

Hugh has a good heart!

Lauren on

When you bring photographers into a hut so your son can be photographed with his biological father, when you link building an orphanage with promoting your religion, and when you manage to adopt when you meet none of a nation’s adoption rules, well, that’s a stunt. Maybe one with good intentions, but a stunt nonetheless. I love Hugh, but he shouldn’t presume that all parents (adoptive or not) are in it for purely altruistic reasons.

Alex on

Lauren – well said and I totally agree.

noelle on

The problem I have with this is that when a country has a certain law, everyone – wether we like it or not – should abide by that law. That is what laws are all about. Madonna shows a lot of arrogance in thinking she alone doesn’t have to… There are a million kids out there who want and need parents. Why does she have to set her mind one a child from one of the few country’s that doens’t allow her to adopt in the first place….


Why are laws to adopt a child so strict? My aunt wants to adopt a little girl from Mexico she fell in love with at the orphange she volunteers at and said these have been the most difficult months of her live, she is tired and has spend so much money and it looks like it will take much longer, but she will not give up, that little girl has grown in her heart already.

Now could it be because of all those mean people that can jsut take them and harm them? Adoption sound confusing…can someone explain.

Natasha on

As much as I agree that adoption laws are very strict, in a way I think they have to be to protect the children too. If there weren’t too lenient of laws children could/would be put into the hands of dangerous people. There’s always those stories of child rapists “buying” children.

Jamie on

Unfortunately, many countries are not very scrupulous when it comes to children. Everything from slavery to child pornography. In some countries, children are kidnapped and then offered to rich foreigners for a fee. Baby mills are what they are called. There was that case about children from an African Country that were all kidnapped and then “adopted” by French couples from an “orphanage”. The French families were heartbroken, but the real parents wanted their children back. There was also a special on television about the same thing happening in Guatemala. That baby mill was shut down. There need to be laws to protect children, though it sometimes sounds harsh and unkind.

Sam on

People use their adoptions, pregnancies, children, etc. for publicity all the time, but that doesn’t mean that publicity was the reason they had children. While I do think Madonna invited publicity with her adoption, I agree with Hugh and doubt that publicity was the REASON she adopted.

Lucy on

Where are his kids originally from if they weren’t born in Australia? Does anyone know?

I love Hugh!

Shaunie on

Lucy- both of Hugh’s children were adopted from the U.S.

Sarah M. on

Noelle – I agree with you in that there are millions of kids from all over the world that need homes. Madonna’s reason for wanting another child from Malawi was stated, though. David, he older adopted child is from there. She wanted to give him a connection with his birthplace by adopting another child from there. I don’t think that’s a bad reason for her picking that place again. But everyone does need to abide by the rules, though. Celebrity or not.

Hugh has a great heart! I love him.

noam on

XOXO: adoption is complicated on several fronts. first off, it must be made absolutely certain that the child is avaliable for adoption. this means either there is no living family or there is living family, and they sign a legal document saying they are unable to care for the child and knowingly give him to the state. then, when a prospective parent shows interest, it must be made absolutely certain that the individual/couple are fit. this is not, as popularly assumed, used to make sure the prospective parents are not actually rapists/pedophiles/etc, though that is also checked out. the background check is to make sure the child is entering a stable environment.this includes financal and emotional security. because many children suffer from emotional, behavioral, or physical problems, the prospective parents usually have to undergo training to make sure they can handle it. some areas also require family therapy, especially if there are already children in the home. finally, things get complicated if it is an international adoption and the destination country has quotas. for example, the united states releases at the beginning of each year how many individuals from countries that they are planning on allowing into the country. while adopted children don’t always fall into those quotas, they sometimes can. so, if you are adopting a child from chile, and there is only an allotted 2000 people from chile allowed to emigrate to the us during a calendar, you have to make sure your paperwork is filed as soon as possible so there is still a spot. also, you have to work with the country of origin to make sure the paperwork is done properly there as well.

Erica on

Although I completely understand why adoption laws have to be strict, it is still sad when you think about the tens of thousands of children without any family, who are being raised in orphanages when people are literally on waiting lists to adopt a child. I just read something earlier which talked about how it’s becoming a lot harder for single parents to adopt, which is disheartening to hear. I’m only 23 now and not financially/emotionally ready to be a parent, but it’s been a dream of mine from childhood to adopt when I am ready. Hopefully these countries will be able to streamline the process a bit without sacrificing the safety and well-being of the kids involved.

As for Madonna…I still don’t see why she didn’t immediately set up a residence in Malawi considering how she almost lost her bid to adopt David for not meeting this regulation, especially once she decided to adopt from the country again.

Alyssa on

I don’t think it’s a stunt at all. She wants David to have a sibling with the same heritage and the child is about his age as well. This is a child she met when she was only a baby, so she probably has some attachment to her.

Many children around the world, even in the US, have at least one living family member, but that doesn’t mean they can or will take care of that child, so the child is put up for adoption.

Madonna could just show up for a picture, pat some child on the head for a photo op, and leave. Maybe donate to one pet cause and get on with things.

She doesn’t need to create a non-profit foundation and work to save, feed, clothe, and educate thousands of children for years while pouring in millions of dollars. Nor does she have to make the life long commitment of adopting a child. All of that takes far too much dedication and effort, if your heart isn’t in it, then it’s not something you are going to pursue. She has gotten probably 100 times more negative publicity and personal attacks than any praise or even simple approval.

I believe her heart is in it, whether that fits into the persona or preconceived notion we have of her or not is whole different deal.

CelebBabyLover on

Jaime- Baby mills? OMG, that’s absolutly HORRIBLE! And I thought puppy mills were bad (still do, but baby mills sound even worse!)!

Erica- She’d probably like to, but I’m guessing that her career prevents her from doing so. She cannot reasonably live in Malawi for nearly 2 years and still do her job.

Alyssa- Exactly. That’s also one of the main reasons Angelina and Brad adopted Pax- they wanted Maddox to have a sibling that shares his culture and race (true, Mad was adopted from Cambodia and Pax from Vietnam…But those two countries are right next door to each other, so they have a lot in common!). Most likely they will eventually adopt an African girl for Zee as well.

Anyway, Mercy apparently had a birthday within the past few months, as PEOPLE now lists her age as 4 rather than 3. 🙂

lawgirl on

The issue of whether or not Madonna is engaged in a publicity stunt to adopt is irrelevant. I think that the recent adoption attempts by Madonna seem to indicate that she believes she is either above the law or can circumvent the law through money or status. I am impressed with the judge’s ruling on residency in the first instance. I wouldn’t doubt a lot of money changed hands after hearing reports that she was virtually guaranteed that the adoption would go through by government officials before the case was heard. If she truly did suppose that the residency requirement that every other Malawian must comply with could be waived for her , than this was indeed arrogant. Additionally, her behavior while she was in Malawi further hinted at arrogance and privilege – chartering a private plane so that she wouldn’t have to make a 3 hour drive with the rest of her entourage, flying in expensive bottles of alcohol for dinner, and flying in a personal trainer is just not a culturally sensitive thing to do in that sort of situation. I hope that the original ruling has humbled her somewhat even if the appeal does go through and for some reason she does qualify as a “resident.”

Christine on

Honestly, the cost and restrictions on adoption are saddening. I would *love* to adopt! Unfortunately, my insurance will cover the thousands of dollars it costs for our infertility specialist, meds, treatments, pregnancy, and delivery at nearly 100%. Meanwhile adoption would be $20,000+ out of pocket. It doesn’t seen quite right.

cb on

I think people should be permitted to adopt children if they want to. If they can provide a better life for the child then why say no.


Thanks for the explanation noam 🙂

Erica on

Hmm I disagree CelebBabyLover. Madonna is in the unique and fortunate position to be 100% financially stable–she works solely because she wants to and there’s nothing wrong with that. Aside from contracted appearances, she could absolutely set up a home base in Malawi, especially since the 18 month residency requirement does not have to be consecutive. If she’s began staying there 5-6 months out of the year beginning in 2007 she’d probably be able to bring Mercy home within this year. She took a huge risk by trying to circumvent that requirement and the denial of her bid was the consequence. If average people can somehow make the 18 month residency work, surely she could’ve found a way considering the sacrifice would mean gaining a child.

CelebBabyLover on

Erica- You have a point. However, it could also be that the custody arrangment between her and Guy for Rocco and David and her and Carlos Leon for Lourdes doesn’t really allow her to live in Malawi.