Madonna will be allowed to adopt Malawian toddler Mercy James, 4, after all. Three Malawian appeal court judges will reverse the original verdict, blocking the singer’s bid in March, her lawyer said. Alan Chinula passed on the news after persuading two of the three appeal judges to alter their decisions. Madonna’s adoption application was originally rejected because she had not lived in the east African state for 18 months, as required – a ruling which her lawyer argued was out of date. Madonna, 50, is now said to have the backing of two of the judges with the third set to agree. The official ruling will be announced next Sunday at Malawi’s Supreme Court of Appeal.
I suspected all along that Madonna would eventually win her appeal to adopt little Miss Mercy James. There has been much talk from supposed fathers of the little girl but none have been able to actually prove that they are of any relation to her. It was my contention that barring a DNA test that categorically proved paternity for the little girl, Madonna would eventually be allowed to adopt Mercy James. I mean … c’mon … did anyone really think that Madonna would not be allowed to get her way? At least we can be sure that Madonna will welcome this precious little girl into her life and will love her unconditionally. Congrats to the happy expanding family!
UPDATE: Madonna‘s rep is clarifying that she has not received word that the Malawian Appeals Court has ruled in her favor, saying:
“Madonna has not been informed that a ruling has been made. We remain hopeful.”
It looks like the congrats are a bit premature … but, I too am hopeful.
A three-judge Supreme Court of Appeal panel will convene on May 4 to hear an appeal filed by Madonna against an April 3 Malawi High Court decision to stop her from adopting 3-year-old Malawian girl Chifundo “Mercy” James. Joseph Chigona, registrar of the High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, said Monday, “As with all court cases involving infants, this one will be in chambers, not in an open court.” Alan Chinula, Madonna’s Malawian lawyer, said he already has presented grounds for his appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal and was hopeful. “We believe the lower court judge erred by basing her judgment on an archaic law of over 50 years ago,” he said. According to Chigona and Chinula, the singer is not required to be present during the appeal, which may last for two weeks.
Now, I’m not entirely versed in the ways of the Malawian court system but in our country the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of any legal dispute that is brought before them so I assume the same rings true in Malawi. That would mean that whatever decision is handed down by the Supreme Court will be the final say in this matter, period. I suppose the matter of the little girl’s paternity still needs to be determined since at least one man, James Kambewa, has stepped forward to claim her as his biological daughter in the wake of Madonna‘s adoption bid. I’ve not heard if Kambewa passed DNA tests to prove his paternity but barring any of that, I suppose the Supreme Court will have to rule whether or not the residency requirement in place for adoptions in that country should stand or not. Since the court can take two weeks to deliver their decision after the case is brought before them (on May 4), we should have answer once and for all concerning this adoption by the end of next month.
Madonna has spoken for the first time about her failed attempt to adopt three-year-old Mercy James from Malawi, as a photo of the two was released to the press. The undated picture of the singer cradling the sleeping child was released to a news agency today as her appeal over the legal ruling neared. It shows a young-looking Madonna, on one of her trips to the country, sitting and smiling as a sleeping Mercy nestles into her arm. The singer made a public plea for the toddler in an email to Malawi’s Nation newspaper:
“I want to provide Mercy with a home, a loving family environment and the best education and healthcare possible. And it’s my hope that she, like David, will one day return to Malawi and help the people of their country. Though I have been advised that I cannot publicly discuss the pending appeal regarding my desire to adopt Mercy, I do want to say how much I appreciate the level of support that I have received from the people of Malawi and my friends around the world.”
Madonna adopted David Banda from the impoverished African country in 2006 despite critics claiming she had used her celebrity status to bend the country’s laws. Judge Esime Chombo turned down the singer’s latest adoption application because she didn’t meet the country’s 18 to 24-month residency requirement. Her lawyer Alan Chinula confirmed last week that she has filed an appeal.
It would seem that Madonna hopes to court favor with the Malawian people (and Supreme Court) by showing that she is capable of stepping into the role of Mercy‘s mother at a moment’s notice. It seems odd that, in her statement, Madonna would emphasize that she is not allowed to talk about the adoption by releasing a statement and photo to a Malawian newspaper. It, obviously, remains to be seen if this public plea will help her in any way but you cannot fault her for trying everything she can in order to convince the court to overturn the first ruling and allow her to adopt Mercy James.
Madonna left Malawi early Sunday after her failed adoption bid for a 3-year-old girl named Mercy James, who was preparing to return to the orphanage where the singer found her. Madonna’s plans received a massive setback Friday when a judge rejected her bid to adopt. The singer, 50, has since filed an appeal against the ruling. “We are ready with our grounds challenging [High Court judge] Chombo’s ruling,” Madonna’s Malawian lawyer Alan Chinula told PEOPLE Sunday. A staffer at the singer’s Raising Malawi charity said Anne Chikhwaza, Director of the Kondanani Children’s Village, drove to Kumbali Lodge, where the singer had been staying, Sunday morning to collect Mercy to take her back to the orphanage. “Madonna spent some time with Mercy; she looked sad but Lourdes, who had clicked with the little girl, looked devastated,” said the staffer. Madonna is believed to be headed for London to celebrate Passover, which would allow her children to reunite with the singer’s ex-husband, Guy Ritchie. Ritchie, for his part, has shown his support for Madonna, issuing a statement Friday following the singer’s adoption setback praising her as a mother and showing his heartfelt support in her adoption case.
While Madge may be heartbroken and chagrined, I’m convinced that this is not the end of her attempt to adopt little Mercy James. The question becomes, tho, just how hard and long will she continue the fight if her appeal is denied? I can understand her need to follow thru in her attempt to adopt the little girl that she loves but does it make sense for her to wage a battle that seems so unpopular with everyone else? The thing that bothers me most is that this poor little girl who has been living in an orphanage for the first 3 years of her life is caught in the middle. There is so much outcry that she is being “stolen away” from her family but if they really could care for her then she wouldn’t be in an orphanage. I will not believe that life in an orphanage is better than life in a home with a family. The saddest thing about this whole scenario to me is that Mercy will continue to live in an orphanage until this matter is settled once and for all. If Madonna is now allowed to adopt her, who will? The whole thing is just sad. I just hope that in the end, there will be a happy ending for all involved.
A judge who barred Madonna’s second adoption from Malawi on Friday said she had “a gripping temptation” to approve the adoption, but decided doing so would open doors to child trafficking, court records show. The American pop star had filed a petition to adopt a girl, Chifundo James, 3. The rejection was based on a residency requirement and the judge’s belief that the child was in good hands at an orphanage. “There is a gripping temptation to throw caution to the wind and grant an adoption in the hope that there will be a difference in the life of even just one child,” Justice E.J. Chombo wrote in a ruling. “But removing the very safeguard that is supposed to protect our children … could actually facilitate trafficking of children by some unscrupulous individuals.” Video Watch why court refused adoption bid » Chombo was referring to a residency requirement in Malawi law that requires people to live in the country for some time before adopting. If Madonna was granted the adoption without established residency, critics argue it could open the door for others to adopt children and leave the country. “Anyone could come to Malawi and quickly arrange for an adoption that might have grave consequences on the very children that the law seeks to protect,” the judge wrote. Court papers provided to CNN also revealed that the judge considered the petition different from that of David Banda, whom Madonna adopted from Malawi in 2006. David “was to be returned to his biological father within a period of six months from the time that Mchinji Orphanage had admitted him,” Chombo wrote. “This is the same father that had desperately appealed for help after the death of his wife because of his incapacity to look after David and the unwillingness of wife’s family to care for the child.” In the case of Chifundo, the orphanage taking care of her was able and willing, according to Chombo, who did not handle the first adoption. Court records show her 14-year-old mother died days after her birth. The ruling followed weeks of criticism by human rights activists, who accused the mother of three of using her fame to circumvent a residency law for foreigners adopting in the country. Save the Children UK had also urged Madonna to let the child be raised by her relatives in her home community. The denial was applauded by a coalition of local nonprofits. “Inter-country adoption is not the best way of providing protection to children … supporting children from outside our country only helps five of the 1.5 million orphans we have,” said Mavuto Bamusi, the national coordinator of Malawi Human Rights Consultative Committee. Malawi government officials said Thursday that they supported Madonna’s second adoption … Madonna’s lawyer has filed a notice to appeal the ruling with the Supreme Court, according to Ken Manda, high court registrar.
It’s unclear if Madonna plans to stay in Malawi for the duration of her appeal as it is also unclear just how long that appeal will take but Maddy has yet to leave the country so it’s possible she may stay there for a while. She’s even planning a big party in Malawi — possibly to try and offset her disappointment:
Madonna is apparently throwing a party in Malawi in a bid to swallow her disappointment that a judge rejected her application to adopt a young orphan. Traditional dancers have arrived at the luxury lodge where the pop diva is staying, as well as government officials and members of staff of her Raising Malawi charity. Amid strict security, there was no immediate confirmation on whether it was a farewell party. Air traffic control authorities granted clearance for Madonna’s jet to depart Saturday but the star stayed in the lodge all day.
As I said yesterday, Madge is not the kind of person who takes no for an answer. If there is a chance that the initial denial could be overturned by the Malawian Supreme Court then I’m sure she is going to pursue every avenue to ensure that she wins in the end. If the appeals process is a quick one, I imagine she will stay in Malawi to see it thru … tho, if we’re talking weeks here, she’ll prolly return to her home in NY and just come back to Malawi later on. I was fairly certain that Madonna would be successful in adopting her second child from Malawi … now, I’m not so sure. One thing I am sure about, tho — Madonna will not give up. We shall see if her persistence pays off.
Popstar Madonna has appealed a court ruling preventing her from adopting a second child from Malawi, her lawyer said on Friday. “I just filed the notice of appeal this afternoon on instructions from my client,” Alan Chinula told Reuters. A high court ruled earlier on Friday that Madonna would not be allowed to adopt a second child, a 4-year-old girl named Mercy James, from the country.
It remains to be seen what will come from Madonna’s appeal to overturn the ruling but, as I’ve said all along, Madonna usually gets what Madonna wants. If we know anything about Madonna it’s that she is deffo a fighter and she rarely takes no for an answer. Will Maddy be successful in her bid to become Mercy James‘s mother? We shall soon see.
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.
LITTLE Mercy James looks back at her orphanage home as she walks away to prepare for her new life as MADONNA’s adopted daughter. The Queen of Pop was pictured with Mercy for the first time yesterday as authorities began finalising the adoption arrangements. Four-year-old Mercy held the hand of new sister Lourdes, 12, as she enjoyed her first family outing. They were surrounded by a posse of minders, but Mercy — wearing a blue dress — was seen laughing and smiling as she joined her new family. Madonna spent over an hour in Malawi’s High Court on Monday, when she told Judge Esme Chombo she would be “a deeply loving mother” to Mercy, whose Malawian name is Chifundo. In adoption papers seen by The Sun, Madonna says: “To deny Chifundo the opportunity to be adopted by me could expose her to hardship and emotional trauma which is otherwise avoidable.” The judge will give an official ruling on Friday — but Madonna, 50, has already been told that her application will succeed. The pop queen is due to fly to Britain on Saturday — and has told staff at her London home to “prepare for the arrival of my new little girl”. Madonna celebrated Monday’s successful meeting by throwing a dinner party at her luxury lodge. A charity worker who attended the bash said Madge was drinking wine and hugging her staff — while her adopted son David held Mercy’s hand and ran around excitedly telling guests: “This is my new sister.” The source said: “Madonna looked incredibly proud and happy, and David was so funny — he couldn’t leave Mercy alone and pulled her around all the guests.” Eight-year-old brother Rocco — Madonna’s son with ex-hubby GUY RITCHIE — has also been helping to welcome Mercy into the family by playing with her in the gardens of the lodge. A senior Malawian official yesterday confirmed that Madonna had been told Mercy was hers. The official told The Sun: “This is all very confidential, and Judge Chombo must still make her ruling — but that ruling will be in favour of Madonna. “Madonna is a very good mother and ambassador for Malawi. She has improved the lives of thousands of orphans.” The approval comes after The Sun told how Madonna had recruited two of Malawi’s leading politicians to help secure her second adoption.
Whether or not this report of Madonna‘s adoption being a “done deal” is true, I think it’s very telling that Madonna and her children are being allowed to spend time with Mercy James. If officials are fine with the little girl getting to know and spend time with her prospective new family then it seems to me that they’re pretty much on board with approving the adoption. I can’t believe that they would be OK with letting the little girl get close to her possible new family if there was any chance that the adoption might not go thru. Not that I really doubted that Madonna would be approved for her adoption but the photo says more to me than this report does. This may be the first photo of Madonna and Mercy but it surely won’t be the last. What a beautiful family Madonna is making for herself. Madge and her children are very lucky to call Mercy James one of their own.
Madonna said Tuesday that she was following standard procedures in her adoption of a Malawian girl, her first response to accusations that that she is using her fame to speed the process. The pop superstar also took her 3-year-old adopted son, David, to visit the orphanage in Mchinji, a village near the Zambian border, where he once lived. She brought him Monday to meet his biological father for the first time since he left Malawi in 2006.
“Madonna is committed to maintaining an ongoing relationship with David’s Malawian roots,” said Liz Rosenberg in an e-mail to The Associated Press. Madonna took David, her 12-year-old daughter Lourdes and 8-year-old son Rocco to the orphanage with a security detail including uniformed Malawian police officers and plain-clothed guards from a private security firm. The entourage used two Toyota Land Cruisers to block a horde of journalists and more than 200 curious children. There were scuffles with the journalists, including cameramen and TV crews, as they tried to enter the brick-walled orphanage. Inside, the orphanage’s director Lucy Chipeta brought Madonna and her children to see the room and crib used by David. “It was an emotional moment,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I am happy she brought her other children to see his roots.” Madonna confirmed she is trying to adopt a girl named Chifundo “Mercy” James who is about 4 years old. A Malawian judge held a closed-door hearing Monday on Madonna’s application to adopt the girl but delayed ruling on the matter until Friday. The girl’s 18-year-old mother was unmarried and died soon after she gave birth, according to the child’s uncle, John Ngalande. Her father is believed to be alive but has little contact with his daughter, he said. A coalition of non-governmental organizations called the Human Rights Consultative Committee has criticized Madonna’s adoption attempts, saying that adoption should be the last resort and that children need to be taken care of by their own family. “Mercy James is a child who has her extended close family members alive and we urge Madonna to assist the child from right here,” a statement from the coalition said. But others have said that the adoption would give enormous opportunities to the child that she would be unable to achieve in the impoverished country, where 14 percent of adults are infected with the virus that causes AIDS. The U.N. estimates that half of the 1 million Malawian children who have lost one or both parents have been orphaned by AIDS. Malawian law is fuzzy on foreign adoptions. Regulations stipulate only that prospective parents undergo an 18- to 24-month assessment period in Malawi, a rule bent when Madonna was allowed to take David to London. Madonna may also face legal challenges as a single mother; she and Guy Ritchie recently divorced. Madonna first traveled to Malawi in 2006 while filming a documentary on the devastating poverty and AIDS crisis. Her Raising Malawi organization, founded in 2006, raises funds to provide food, shelter, education and health care for children.
It sounds like we really won’t get any new information until the postponed case goes before the court this Friday. In the meantime, it sounds like Madonna and her children are having a lovely time in Malawi. I imagine it was a very emotional moment for Madonna to return to the orphanage where David lived before she adopted him. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how some people can be so critical of her adoption of David and her proposed adoption of Mercy James. In an ideal world, these children would be able to grow up happy and healthy in the care of their mothers … but since that isn’t the case, I think being adopted into a family with the means to provide for an extremely advantageous life is a blessing. But, I shant get into the whole matter all over again. We will soon know what the court’s ruling is and that will settle the case once and for all. And so … we wait.
In an emotional reunion, David met with his biological father, Yohane Banda. “We spent three hours together. My son has grown too big,” he told reporters. He also said that David looks very much like him, “but resembles more his half brother Dingiswayo.” Madonna briefly met Yohane and updated him of his son’s schooling. “She is a sweet lady,” said the 33-year-old peasant farmer of the singer. Sources tell PEOPLE that Madonna is expected to take her children Lourdes, 12, Rocco, 8, and David, 3, to the Home of Hope orphanage in the border district of Mchinji for her adopted son’s reunion with the orphanage where the singer found him in 2006. She is also expected to take her children’s to David’s ancestral village of Lipunga.
It’s really wonderful that Madonna would make it a point to make sure that David remembers where he came from and that she ensures that his biological father gets to spend time with the son he had to give up. It cannot be easy for Yohane to only see his son on visits like these but it’s really great that they get to spend time together any way they can. As long as David knows he is loved, that is all that matters. It’s fortunate that Madonna has all these plans for their visit to Malawi because it sounds like she is going to have to remain there for longer than she may have anticipated. Madonna did file the adoption papers for Mercy James in court today but learned that the case would be postponed until Friday. After the jump, check out photos of Maddy making her arrival to and from court today … More »