exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in




MADONNA’S attempt to adopt another African child has caused a bitter rift in the girl’s family.

The 50-year-old singer sent her aides to Malawi to meet the grandmother of three-year-old Mercy James earlier this year.

But her pleas were rebuffed by granny Lucy Chekechiwa, 64, who refused to sign the tot over to the pop star.

Other members of the family are outraged.

Now Mercy’s grandfather Saxon Maunde, 68, has issued a plea to the singer, promising to broker the adoption himself.

Saxon, who is no longer married to Lucy, is furious he wasn’t consulted over the proposed adoption and has urged Madonna to contact him about Mercy.

He said: “I really wish she could come back with that proposal.

“If she can come back through me, there will be no problem because I will be able to explain to the family the benefits of adoption to the child.

“Once they understand what adoption means, the child can be adopted without a problem.”

Mercy’s mum Mwandida was just 18 when she died days after giving birth.

The cause of death is not known and the tot’s father has never played a part in her life.

Madonna first set her sights on the tot – who she dubbed “the smiling angel” – in 2006 at the Kondanani Orphan Care Centre at Blantyre.

But the singer – mum to Lourdes, 11, Rocco, eight, and two-year-old David Banda, the boy she adopted from Malawi in 2006 – was said to be considering giving up on Mercy because of a mountain of red tape.

As well as negotiating with Mercy’s biological gran, Madonna’s aides held talks with her uncles, who were also opposed to her leaving the country.

She was said to have instructed her staff to find alternative candidates from orphanages in Malawi.

But Mr Maunde says he can now get all parties to quickly agree to the adoption.

He claims it was rejected because the family did not understand what was being offered and may have felt they did not have enough time to talk it over.

He added: “I wish they had involved me as the grandfather of the child for advice.

“They approached me about sending the child to the orphanage but on the adoption issue they did not.”

2008 Sep 7