[Marxism] Madonna's child-hunting expedition aborted
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 3 08:23:18 MDT 2009
Malawi rejects Madonna adoption request
Rule that prospective parent lives in country for at least 18 months upheld
LILONGWE, Malawi - In a surprise move, a judge on Friday rejected
Madonna’s request to adopt a second child from Malawi even though the
country’s child welfare minister had supported Madonna’s application to
raise the 3-year-old girl.
Madonna’s lawyer, Alan Chinula, refused to discuss the ruling further,
saying only that he had passed it on to the pop star, who was in the
southern African nation but did not attend Friday’s court hearing.
Madonna can appeal the decision to Malawi’s Supreme Court.
A judge who did not make the ruling but saw it and another lawyer
present when the ruling was made said Madonna was rejected because of
residency rules. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were
not authorized to discuss the case.
Malawi adoption regulations require that prospective parents live in the
southern African nation for at least 18 months.
The residency rule was waived in 2006, when Madonna was allowed to take
her adopted son, David, to London before his adoption was finalized in
2008. It was not clear why Judge Esme Chombo ruled differently Friday.
Another judge had handled Madonna’s previous adoption case.
When Madonna adopted David, she was still married to British film
director Guy Ritchie. Their divorce became final earlier this year, and
she was attempting to adopt 3-year-old Chifundo “Mercy” James as a
There was no immediate comment on the situation from Madonna’s
spokeswoman in New York.
Madonna’s efforts to adopt had drawn criticism from some activists who
said the little girl would be best off with relatives, and praise from
other residents, who credited her with giving the girl opportunities not
widely available in the impoverished nation.
In court papers made public Friday, Madonna said Chifundo’s grandmother
was unable to care for her. She promised to make Mercy a permanent part
of her family and spare her the “hardship and emotional trauma” of life
as an orphan.
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The girl’s mother, according to the affidavit, died at age 14 not long
after her baby was born Jan. 22, 2006. There was no mention of the
father in the affidavit. The mother’s brother is listed as having
consented to the adoption.
“I am able and willing to securely provide for Chifundo James and make
her a permanent and established member of my family,” Madonna said. “To
deny Chifundo James the opportunity to be adopted by me could expose her
to hardship and emotional trauma which is otherwise avoidable.”
Malawi’s child welfare minister had endorsed Madonna’s adoption application.
“We have close to 2 million orphans in Malawi who need help,” Women and
Child Welfare Development Minister Anna Kachikho told The Associated
Press. “We can’t look after all of them as a country. If people like
Madonna adopt even one such orphan, it’s one mouth less we have to feed.”
Orphans usually are taken in by their extended families in Africa, but
AIDS and other diseases have taken a toll on those who might have
traditionally provided support. In villages across the continent, frail
elderly grandmothers do their best to care for children, but many end up
in orphanages or on the streets.
Malawi, with a population of 12 million, is among the poorest countries
in the world, with rampant disease and hunger, aggravated by periodic
droughts and crop failure.
The U.N. says 1 million Malawian children have lost one or both parents,
about half of them to AIDS, and estimates 18 million African children
will have lost a parent to AIDS by 2010.
Critics accused Madonna of using her fame and money to fast-track the
adoption process, but the singer said she had followed standard
procedures. She faced similar allegations in 2006 when she brought home
David, who is now 3.
A coalition of non-governmental organizations called the Human Rights
Consultative Committee had 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,” the coalition
said earlier this week.
Yet others from Malawi had applauded Madonna, saying the adoption would
give Mercy enormous opportunities.
Madonna first traveled to Malawi in 2006 while filming a documentary on
the devastating poverty and AIDS crisis. On this trip, she has been
accompanied by her three children: 3-year-old David, 12-year-old
daughter Lourdes and 8-year-old son Rocco.
The four have visited an orphanage where David once lived and David also
saw his biological father for the first time since he left Malawi in 2006.
Madonna and Lourdes also visited a village in Malawi this week and
looked over plans to build a new school there. The singer has several
charity projects in Malawi.
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