Judge rejects Madonna's adoption efforts in Malawi
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April 3, 2009 / CBC News
A judge in Malawi has rejected pop singer Madonna's application to adopt a second child in the country on residency grounds.
Judge Esme Chombo, based in the capital of Lilongwe, stated that prospective parents must be a resident of Malawi for 18 to 24 months before they are able to adopt, sources told the Associated Press.
The residency rule was waived in Madonna's first Malawi adoption in 2006, when she was allowed to take her adopted son, David Banda, to London before his adoption was finalized in 2008.
It was not clear why Chombo ruled differently Friday. Another judge had handled Madonna's previous adoption case.
Madonna, 50, was not in court on Friday and it is not yet clear if she intends to appeal the decision. Her lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
The singer had filed an application to adopt a three-year-old girl whose mother died soon after childbirth in the African nation. The child's name is listed on the court application as Chifundo James.
In court papers made public Friday, Madonna said Chifundo's grandmother was unable to care for her.
Madonna had promised to make the child a permanent part of her family and spare her the "hardship and emotional trauma" of life as an orphan.
The girl's mother, according to the affidavit, died at age 14 just days after her baby was born Jan. 22, 2006. There was no mention of the father in the affidavit, but the mother's brother is listed as having consented to the adoption.
'I am able and willing to securely provide for Chifundo James'
"I am able and willing to securely provide for Chifundo James and make her a permanent and established member of my family," Madonna said in the document. "To deny Chifundo James the opportunity to be adopted by me could expose her to hardship and emotional trauma which is otherwise avoidable."
Madonna has faced criticism — including from child advocacy and human rights groups — when she adopted David. After the child's biological mother died, his father was unable to care for him and had turned him over to an orphanage.
Madonna also has a daughter, Lourdes, from a previous relationship and a son, Rocco, from her recently ended marriage to filmmaker Guy Ritchie.
Critics have blasted the American singer for her adoption efforts and have accused her of using her celebrity to fast-track or bypass the Malawian adoption process.
However, some in Malawi support the adoption as well as Madonna's charitable efforts in the southeastern African nation, which include raising funds for food, shelter, education and health care for Malawian children.
Malawi's child welfare minister had endorsed Madonna's second adoption application.
"We have close to two million orphans in Malawi who need help," said Anna Kachikho, minister for women and child welfare development. "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."
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I am quite glad people are finally beginning to see how the show of money should NOT make it easier for a person to
takeadopt a child, especially if that child is going to be taken to another country. Those who follow the news about child trafficking understand how fast-tracking can lead to many wrong-doings. In fact, I think the following statement made by Judge Chondo says it best:
Save the children from Save the Children from Save the Children
It's good to see the judge in Malawi has more wisdom than the following US scholars and representatives from the Adoption industry, that yesterday launched an initiative called Save the Children from Save the Children:
Paulo Barrozo, Assistant Professor of Law
Elizabeth Bartholet, Professor of Law & Faculty Director Child Advocacy Program
Harvard Law School
Cassie Statuto Bevan, Ed.D, Fellow
The Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice & Research
University of Pennsylvania
Jessica Budnitz, Lecturer on Law & Managing Director, Child Advocacy Program
Harvard Law School
Lauren Cleary, Public Health Attorney
Joan H. Hollinger, Professor, Lecturer-in-Residence
Berkeley School of Law, University of California
Chuck Johnson, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
National Council For Adoption
Diane B. Kunz, Esq., Executive Director
Center for Adoption Policy
Mark T. McDermott, Esq.
Law Office of Mark T. McDermott
Past President of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys
Ann Reese, Executive Director
Center for Adoption Policy
William Rosen, Esq., Adoption Attorney
Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys
Former President, American Bar Association
Co-Chair and Founder, American Bar Association Human Rights Center
Hannah Wallace, President
Focus on Adoption (An International Adoption Advocacy Organization)
In an effort to shine their infinite wisdom over adoptions in Malawi, the cream of the crop of US adoption policy makers came up with the following statement:
It's good to see the Judge Chondo has more common sense and a better understanding of what is important for the well being and safety of the children in her country than the Professors, Directors and Presidents that signed this excuse to expand corrupt child placement practices to the poorest countries in the world.
Well, if your income was coming from grants, donations and eager people (PAP's) wanting to help improve the little lives no government wants, wouldn't YOU want to keep the steady flow of children going? Like it or not the child placement system depends on private investors and buyers, so it's not at all surprising that the American government loves adoption services. Provide a service, and get paid for it. Unfortunately, not every state/private agency is thinking about the long-term needs of each child....not every service benefits the child and family-in-need... and I can't help but think this is proving to be a really HUGE (costly) problem.
Madonna, the material girl,
Madonna, the material girl, is going to appeal the decision. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090403/ap_on_en_mu/af_malawi_madonna_adopti...
Here's a new twist: Truth or Tabloid?
I was reading today that Mercy's father has come to claim his daughter: We find dad of tot Mercy James, who Madonna wants to adopt.
It seems this story (Mercy's father has been found) is spreading like wild-fire within the internet.... but just how true is, one can only speculate right now.