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Image: Madonna and David Banda
Antony Njuguna  /  Reuters
Madonna holds the hand of son David Banda, whom she adopted from Malawi in 2007. Adoption experts continued to spar over whether Madonna should be attempting to adopt a second child from Malawi, with one charity spokesman saying she should support the community instead of trying to adopt a child with a parent still living.
By The Scoop
updated 3/31/2009 12:31:57 PM ET 2009-03-31T16:31:57

While Madonna toured a day-care center built by her charity in Malawi on Monday, adoption experts worldwide continued their debate over whether the pop star should be adopting a second child from the African country.

Earlier, a spokesman from Save the Children U.K. said Madonna’s attempt to adopt 3-year-old Mercy James was “not a solution.”

“For the most part so-called orphans in poor countries tend to have family still available to them, if not actually a parent still living. … The thing to do is to support the community, to support local agencies and charities who can look after the child so that the child is at least cared for in their community,” said spokesman Dominic Nutt.

The Associated Press has reported that Mercy’s mother is dead, but her father is believed to be alive, but with little contact with his daughter.

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A source from Save the Children U.S. who did not want to be quoted said that stance is an extreme one. “You have to respect the rights of the individuals who adopt,” says the source. “We couch it much more positively (than the U.K.). Individuals who are seeking ways to raise children, it (international adoption) may be their only option.”

It seems that the important point to be made is that Madonna’s hoped for adoption of Mercy doesn’t impart the message that international adoption should be done via well-vetted, reputable agencies.

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings “There are lots of adoption scams. It’s not a simple process, there’s an international convention on this for a reason,” says the source. “Madonna is going through those channels. However, most international aid agencies would agree that if there is family available to the children in their community, they should stay in the community.”

A judge is expected to rule on the adoption April 3. In the meantime, Madonna’s son David Banda is on the trip with her and reportedly had the chance to visit his father, who still lives in Malawi.

Former ‘West Wing’ actors to hit the Hill
Life will imitate art on Capitol Hill March 31 when former “West Wing” stars Bradley Whitford, Richard Shiff and Martin Sheen will be on hand to unveil a grassroots campaign for the Employee Free Choice Act.

This isn’t the first time the actors have spoken out about the issue, a way for employees to organize into a union if the majority agree.

Whitford is on the board for America Rights at Work, while Shiff and Sheen are longtime worker’s rights advocates.

Bill O’Reilly boycotts Sean Penn films
How does Bill O’Reilly exercise his rights as an American? By boycotting Sean Penn movies.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the conservative commentator said Penn’s politics keep him away from the actor’s films.

“He’s a great actor, and if you hire him, you’ll get a good performance,” O’Reilly said. “I’m just not going to give a guy who gives aid and comfort to people like (Iranian president Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and Saddam Hussein, when he was alive, my 10 bucks. That’s my right as an American.”

O’Reilly also commented on why he and his show so frequently take some of Hollywood’s more liberal actors to task.

“These (actors) are powerful people, and we’re not going to give them a free ride,” he said. “If there was somebody screaming right-wing stuff, we’d do the same thing. But there is no one like that because if they do that in Hollywood, they’re not going to work, which is an interesting story in and of itself,” O’Reilly said.

Actors who did get O’Reilly’s endorsement? Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Al Pacino.

Video: Scoop on first lady’s fashions

Fashionable coat for first lady
For those of you tracking the first lady’s fashion choices as she and President Barack Obama embark on their first European trip, a spokesperson for Michelle Obama confirms that Thakoon designed the first lady’s coat. She’s worn Thakoon in the past, most notably during the final night of the Democratic National Convention and during the first presidential debate.

More on Madonna

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.

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