A Malawian judge will rule today on Madonna’s request to adopt a second child from the impoverished southern African country amid criticism from activists who say the little girl would be best off with relatives.
The 50-year-old pop superstar is expected to return home tomorrow with Chifundo “Mercy” James, who is about four, if the application is granted.
Yesterday, on the eve of the judge’s ruling, Madonna got an endorsement from Malawi’s child welfare minister.
“We have close to two million orphans in Malawi who need help,” Women and Child Welfare Development Minister Anna Kachikho said.
“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.”
Critics have accused Madonna of using her fame and money to fast-track the adoption process, but the singer says she has followed standard procedures. She faced similar allegations in 2006 when she brought home her adopted son David, who is now three.
Malawian regulations stipulate that prospective parents be resident in the country for 18 to 24 months, during which time welfare officials assess their suitability – a rule that was bent when Madonna was allowed to take David to London before his adoption was finalised.
A coalition of non-governmental organisations called the Human Rights Consultative Committee has criticised 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.