Madonna wins adoption appeal in Malawi

Madonna walks with her Malawian son, David Banda, in Lilongwe, Malawi, in March.
Malawi’s high court ruled in favor of pop superstar Madonna on Friday, saying she will be able to adopt a young girl from the country, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office said.

Spokeswoman Zione Ntaba said she could not immediately offer further details. Madonna, 50, took her effort to adopt the three-year-old to Malawi’s highest court last month after a lower court ruled the adoption did not meet local law. Malawi requires applicants for adoption to have lived in the country for 18 months before they may be granted permission. That condition was waived in 2006, when Madonna adopted another Malawian child, David Banda. Madonna has two other children who are not adopted. The young girl at the center of the current case is Chifundo James, whose first name translates to “mercy” in Chichewa, the country’s national language.

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Mercy has lived in an orphanage for most of her life; her teenage mother died shortly after childbirth. Meanwhile, child rights group Eye of the Child told CNN it agrees with Friday’s high court ruling. The group had earlier opposed the adoption. “There was legal confusion about this case,” said Maxwell Matewere, executive director of Eye of the Child. “We are happy that the high court is able now to give us direction. This provides an important precedent.” Madonna 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 the country. She also co-founded a nonprofit group, Raising Malawi, that provides programs to help the needy.