exposing the dark side of adoption
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By Lori Campbell, sundaymirror.co.uk 29/03/2009
The family of the African tot being adopted by Madonna told yesterday how they never wanted to give her up.
Two uncles of four-year-old Mercy James say they didn't even know who Madonna was.
They say the family have only reluctantly decided to allow the adoption to go ahead after extensive lobbying by bosses at Mercy's orphanage.
The family spoke out as a leading children's charity blasted Madonna for conducting a "puppy parade".
One of the uncles, fisherman Peter Baneti, said: "We never wanted to let Mercy go. She is part of our extended family.
"My mother, brother and I all said no three times to the orphanage which was pressing us on Madonna's behalf."
They say they have eventually been swayed into thinking that Madonna may be able to give Mercy a better life.
Peter said: "Now we have been persuaded that Mercy can have a better, healthier life somewhere else in the world with this rich white woman."
But he added: "I feel that we need more advice but everything is going so fast. We have no experience of this sort of thing. We are not sure if we should be saying goodbye to Mercy like this."
He and Mercy's other uncle John Ngalande live in mudbrick huts five hours away from Malawi's capital Lilongwe.

Save The Children says orphans should be cared for by their extended family or community and that taking them abroad is "not a solution".
Spokesman Dominic Nutt said: "What Madonna is doing verges on a puppy parade. It doesn't help to take one child out of an orphanage to a huge palace and buy them a pony."
Mercy's gran Lucy Chekechiwa, 61, said earlier this week: "Why doesn't this singer pick other children? It is stealing. I want to go to court.
I won't let her go."
Mercy's teenage mother, Mwandida, is believed to have died soon after giving birth to Mercy. The owner of the Kondanani Children's Village yesterday denied Madonna bulldozed Mercy's relatives into approving the adoption.
Anne Chikhwaza said that after explaining that Madonna will not cut her ties to them, or Malawi, "they were more than happy" to give their blessing.
She added: "Nobody forced then to give Mercy up for adoption."
Madonna, who also has two biological children Rocco and Lourdes, wants Mercy to be a sister for three-year-old David, who she adopted from Malawi in 2006. Madonna is expected to attend a procedural hearing at Malawi's High Court tomorrow.
Mercy is being looked after by a nanny in a luxury lodge outside the capital until a decision has been made.
'Taking kids away is not a solution'

2009 Mar 29