Madonna’s Adoption Request Denied By The Malawian Court

A residency requirement was cited as grounds for her denial

Madonna was SHOCKED in court today when her request to adopt Chifundo Mercy James was DENIED by the Malawian court that was charged with ruling in her case. Citing a residency requirement that insists that prospective parents achieve residency in Malawi for 18-24 months, the court turned down Madonna’s request to adopt Mercy James ending Madonna‘s bid for adoption in one fell swoop:


A residency requirement in Malawi has prevented Madonna from adopting a second child from that African nation, a judge and a lawyer told the Associated Press on Friday. The news service described the judge as a witness not involved in Friday’s court ruling, and the lawyer as another who was present at the time of the decision. Both the judge and the lawyer spoke on conditions of anonymity. The residency requirement for prospective parents is 18 to 24 months in Malawi. Madonna has homes in New York and London. The singer, a single mother, was planning to adopt 3½-year-old Mercy James, whom she first met in an orphanage in 2006. Her other children are daughter Lourdes, 12, and son Rocco, 8. There has been no word on whether Madonna intends to appeal the ruling. When her Malawian lawyer, Alan Chinula, broke the news that High Court judge Esme Chombo had rejected her petition to adopt a Malawian toddler, an incredulous Madonna “kept wringing her hands,” a source at Kumbali Lodge, where the pop star is staying, tells PEOPLE. Madonna, who filed her adoption papers on Monday, was not present in court. At the hearing, the judge said child welfare officers are required to find suitable prospective parents and “not someone who just flies in and out.” In terms of the child, “I think the welfare of Chifundo [African for 'Mercy'] will be better served if she grows within the environment of the culture of Malawi,” she said. The judge also said that because Madonna is already assisting other orphans, Chifundo will still benefit from star’s generosity.

Wow. I, too, am shocked at this ruling … I’m not sure there were many folks who guessed that the Malawian court would rule against Madonna. While I think it’s important that residency laws are upheld in matters like these (after all, those requirements become laws for a reason), I really hope the court was ruling in Mercy‘s best interests … and not for the sake of making an example out of Madonna. True, Mercy will still be able to benefit from “Madonna‘s generosity” without being adopted, but I cannot believe the little girl will be better served in an orphanage (even if it was the best orphanage in the world) rather than in an adopted home. I suppose we’ll hear soon what Madonna‘s next step is. I wouldn’t be surprised if she gave up her bid to adopt from Malawi altogether … but, I suppose, on the contrary I’d prolly not be surprised if she ended up buying a home in Malawi for the express purpose of establishing residency in order to try to adopt again.

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  1. Roxster

    interesting…..was this law in effect when she adopted David??? Buying house might not be enough to establish residency, generally the definition involves actually living there to an extent as well.

  2. Jem

    Good! I think it’s in the girls best interest to remain in Malawi, where she can grow up with her own culture and religion. Particularly since she still has family there. Just because Madonna would be able to provide her with more, doesn’t necessarily mean that it would be better.

    Maybe she can look into adopting an American child. I know people always insist that American orphans have better conditions, but frankly growing up an orphan or going through the foster care system isn’t exactly great for any kid, in any country.

  3. puhleeaase

    Good! The same rules should apply to madonna that are applied to everyone else – i’m sure she is not used to being treated like us regular folks and is shocked that her money and fame couldn’t elevate her status in the court’s eyes!

  4. kittycatastrophe

    While I am surprised they ruled against her I’m glad they’re following their own laws regarding adoption procedures in Malawi. I will say that given her recent move back to The States, divorce, settling children, touring schedule, etc, etc that adopting right now came off as poorly timed even if she could afford all the help she needed. She is the mother not the CEO in the family after all. JMO

  5. Mr. Gyllenhaal

    That is pretty crazy. I think it is a little over the top. Maybe one of these celebs will one day realize there are millions of kids in the US that need adoption. People should start adopting here.

  6. anoni

    Think she was trying to do a good thing but the perception was that a rich person could fly into a poor country and take a child away. If she had chosen a “real” orphan (no living relatives/parents) she might not have gotten such bad PR. There’s such a thing called past precedence (or something like that) and I understand their concern that if they let her once again bend their laws it would be harder to enforce them for other adoptions and could open the door to human trafficking. Think it was the right decision, but still feel bad for her.

  7. MeGs

    It would have been nice if David had a sibling from his home country. I don’t like Madonna very much and I agree with malawi for not making an exception for a celebrity BUT Mercy James is still in an orphanage right? It is unfortunate for HER that she is missing out on all of the opportunites she would have been exposed to being Madonnas child. I really wish the best for that little girl.

  8. V

    It may not be in the girl’s best interests, but its in the interest of the country’s children. If Madonna could adopt Mercy, it would be setting VERY BAD legal precedent for future abuse of their child adoption laws. If every big name celebrity could come into the country for 2-3 days and walk out with a baby then Malawi would have serious issues…issues with child trafficking, child prostitution etc. Everyone with money would just slap some money on the table and expect to ‘buy’ a baby. That’s not how adoption works.

    Every country has its own requirements…many countries have residency requirements and Madonna should have known better to think that she could be exempt from the law. The first judge for David was too lax but they probably realized the level of damage and the mockery they made out of exempting Madonna so I think its only fair that the judge be tougher this time around.

    If Madonna really does care about Mercy, then give up the touring…live in the country for 2 years…then she’ll be free and clear with her, no questions asked. If she can’t even do that, then it proves that she doesn’t really care about the child and is just wanting the Angelina Jolie-type attention that she craves. Bottom line – no one…NO ONE is exempt from the law no matter how rich/famous you are.

  9. anna

    I am glad everyone on here is pretty much on the same page about it being a GOOD thing that Madonna must follow all the rules like everyone else. And I also agree that just because Mercy wont grow up uber rich and privelaged that does not mean she will have a bad life.

  10. meme

    maybe adoptolina will swoop down and adopt mercy

  11. Alli

    It was obviously the correct decision in light of the Malawi law but an AWFUL decision for Mercy. All this “family” she has in Malawi clearly hasn’t been too helpful since she is living in an orphanage. Rather than focusing on Madonna and her celebrity, people should use this situation to be reminded of the plight of so many children all over the world.

  12. Michelle

    How about adopting in the US Madonna! (and all other celebrities)

  13. Hannah

    I agree. laws are in place for a reason and if they bend them for Madonna they will have to bend them for everyone. If she truly loves the child and wants to raise the child she would go through the legal way.

    Just think how crazy it would be if someone could visit America for a week and after giving people enough money take a child from the country and use him/her for you know what. I know that Madonna is not going to abuse her child, but there are plenty of people that would.

  14. Chase

    GOOD!

  15. PixieBassline

    I wonder why she doesn’t wear makeup when she’s in Malawi.

  16. Traci

    I do hate it when people say “good, maybe they’ll start adopting here”. It’s a lot more difficult to adopt here than in other countries, and most people want to adopt babies, not kids, so they’ll go to countries that have plenty of babies. Not to mention that a good chunk of those babies in foreign orphanages will die if not adopted, whereas children here aren’t in such dire straits. I also don’t think we really have orphanages here anymore. I have to give her credit for trying to get a 3 (or 4? I’ve read both in various articles) year old, when she could’ve just gotten herself a baby. But that’s really the only positive thing I can say about her in this situation.

    That said, I am glad this adoption was denied. She still needs to follow the law (and to whoever asked, yes, this law was in effect when she adopted David, which is why people talk about her stealing kids). And with the money she would have spent on Mercy (not just the adoption itself, but nannies, expensive food, clothes, toys, etc.) she could save countless kids in Malawi. That money could be used to purchase much needed food and medicines, and could be used to help families (like Mercy’s) who WANT to raise the kids but can’t afford to. Which is the only reason a lot of those kids are there. Because their families want to raise them but don’t have the means to.

  17. Traci

    Heh, I wrote out the second paragraph before adding the bit about Mercy’s age, so looking back after posting it, the first sentence reads a bit odd.

  18. AdoptHere

    These celebrities need to stop collecting children as souvenirs, for one. Not to mention, that there are plenty of children to choose from in the United States that would greatly appreciate a family. Anti-choice individuals always bring up the adoption option, but what good does it do if your child will go from (often abusive) foster family to foster family until they turn 18, at which time thay are on their own, or die at the hands of a foster parent or sibling.

  19. I’m conflicted about this! On one hand, I think it would be amazing to grow up the child of a superwealthy superstar. You’d always be in the lap of luxury. On the other hand, I guess I stereotypically think of Madonna’s children as spending the massive bulk of their time with nannies and handlers, and now with one less caring person/parent figure around after her divorce, I have to wonder: who do her children hang out with? Is it a loving home? How does a country stop “regular” people from swooping in and speed-adopting kids if they allow celebrities to do so? There are no good answers here.

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