(CNN) — Malawi’s decision to reject pop star Madonna’s adoption of a local child has reignited global debate about the ethics of international adoption. Some international aid groups have praised the decision as best for the child, a 4-year-old girl named Chifundo James. “I think it really highlights the bigger picture that there are so many children living in poverty in Malawi, and while Madonna has good intentions … children would be better off staying in their own communities whenever possible,” said Karen Hansen-Kuhn, policy director for ActionAid USA.
To get another perspective on the situation, CNN talked with Melissa Fay Greene.
CNN: What’s your initial reaction to the news that Madonna’s adoption of a Malawian child has been rejected?
Greene: Surprise. … It was awfully tricky with Madonna’s first adoption, when the child turned out to have devoted family members nearby. [The singer’s adoption of a Malawian boy was finalized last year.] And if that’s true with this child also, it seems a similar sticky situation. That’s not the situation for the majority of orphanage children around the world, who don’t have caring grandparents or aunts and uncles a short walk or bike ride away.