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Madonna says adopted kids would return to help their people

  • Story Highlights
  • Madonna is appealing a Malawian judge's rejection of her adoption petition
  • The pop star did not meet residency requirement for adoption, judge says
  • Critics say Madonna tried to use fame to circumvent adoption process
  • Madonna has a son she adopted from Malawi
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By Alan Duke
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(CNN) -- Madonna said she hopes the Malawian girl she wants to adopt and the boy she already adopted "will one day return to Malawi and help the people of their country."

A judge has rejected Madonna's adoption application.

A judge has rejected Madonna's adoption application.

A Malawian judge this month rejected the American pop star's petition to adopt 3-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James, but her lawyer has filed an appeal.

"I want to provide Mercy with a home, a loving family environment and the best education and health care possible," Madonna said in an e-mail to The Nation, a Malawian newspaper. "And it's my hope that she, like David, will one day return to Malawi and help the people of their country."

Madonna's statement, which her publicist provided to CNN, steered away from commenting on her legal battle.

"Though I have been advised that I cannot publicly discuss the pending appeal regarding my desire to adopt Mercy, I do want to say how much I appreciate the level of support that I have received from the people of Malawi and my friends around the world," she said.

The judge who ruled against the adoption said she had "a gripping temptation" to approve it, but decided doing so would open doors to child trafficking, court records show.

"Anyone could come to Malawi and quickly arrange for an adoption that might have grave consequences on the very children that the law seeks to protect," Justice E.J. Chombo wrote in her ruling.

The judge also said she thought the child was in good hands at an orphanage.

Another Malawian judge approved Madonna's adoption of David Banda in 2006.

Chombo's ruling followed weeks of criticism by human-rights activists, who accused the mother of three of using her fame to circumvent a residency law for foreigners adopting in the southern African country.

Save the Children UK had also urged Madonna to let the child be raised by her relatives in her home community.

The denial was applauded by a coalition of Malawian nonprofits.

"Inter-country adoption is not the best way of providing protection to children. ... Supporting children from outside our country only helps five of the 1.5 million orphans we have," said Mavuto Bamusi, national coordinator of the Malawi Human Rights Consultative Committee.

Malawi government officials have said that they supported Madonna's second adoption.


The recently divorced singer was married to British filmmaker Guy Ritchie.

She has been involved with Malawi for several years and made a documentary, "I Am Because We Are," to highlight poverty, AIDS and other diseases devastating children in that country. She also co-founded a nonprofit, Raising Malawi, which provides programs to help the needy.

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