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Madonna without child: Malawi adoption rejected

A JUDGE yesterday rejected Madonna's request to adopt a second child from Malawi even though the country's child welfare minister had supported Madonna's application to raise the three-year-old girl.

Madonna's lawyer, Alan Chinula, refused to discuss the ruling further, saying only that he had passed it on to the pop star, who was in the southern African nation but did not attend yesterday's court hearing. Madonna can appeal the decision to Malawi's Supreme Court.

A judge who did not make the ruling but saw it and another lawyer present when the ruling was made said Madonna was rejected because of residency rules. Malawi's adoption regulations require that prospective parents live in the southern African nation for at least 18 months.

The residency rule was waived in 2006, when Madonna was allowed to take her adopted son, David, to London before his adoption was finalized in 2008. It was not clear why Judge Esme Chombo ruled differently yesterday. Another judge had handled Madonna's previous adoption case.

When Madonna adopted David, she was still married to British film director Guy Ritchie. Their divorce became final earlier this year, and she was attempting to adopt three-year-old Chifundo Mercy James as a single mother.

There was no immediate comment on the situation from Madonna's spokeswoman in New York.

Madonna's efforts to adopt had drawn criticism from some activists who said the little girl would be best off with relatives, and praise from other residents, who credited her with giving the girl opportunities not available in the impoverished nation.

In court papers made public yesterday, Madonna said Chifundo's grandmother was unable to care for her. She promised to make Mercy 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 not long after her baby was born. There was no mention of the father.


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