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Madonna denies she is using fame to fast-track latest adoption


Madonna denies she is using fame to fast-track latest adoption

Madonna has spoken out against accusations that she is using her fame to fast-track the adoption of a 4-year-old Malawian girl, insisting she is not "skirting any legal issues" in the process.

Confirming the singer's intent to take toddler Chifundo "Mercy" James back to her native New York, a spokeswoman for the star said: "The adoption process for Mercy began over a year ago when Madonna met her on one of her visits to Malawi. The connection was instant and profound.

Madonna has faced fierce opposition to her adoption attempt, with critics claiming that she is using her power and influence to "bully" the courts into approving it. Local human rights activist Mavuto Bamusi said: "In the absence of clear laws and procedures what is happening in this case amounts to child trafficking or kidnapping".

In a statement emailed to Reuters, Liz Rosenberg described Madonna's desire to adopt Mercy as "totally heartfelt".

"She is not skirting any legal issues in her application to adopt this child and is looking to provide a loving family environment and the best education and health care possible for a child who has been in an orphanage since her birth," she added.

The 50-year-old superstar, who has established a Raising Malawi Kabbalah school in the region, adopted son David Banda from the southeast African country in 2006.

On Monday she took the three-year-old to visit his father, who he has not seen since leaving Malawi as a baby. Farmer Yohane Banda said: "It's amazing how David has grown; I can't believe he is the same small and sickly baby we left at Home of Hope I am really grateful to Madonna for saving David from possible early death."

The following day Madonna and biological children Lourdes, 12, and 8-year-old Rocco accompanied David on a visit to the orphanage in Mchinji, near the Zambian border, where he once lived. The facility's director Lucy Chipeta described the family's pilgrimage as "an emotional moment".

Madonna recently spoke of her desire to keep David informed about his African heritage. "It is a big priority for me to educate my son about the world, but always to stay connected to his Malawian culture", she said.

Madonna, whose eight-year marriage to film director Guy Richie ended in divorce last November, attended a closed-door court adoption hearing on Monday. The judge has delayed ruling in the Mercy James case until Friday.

2009 Apr 1