A British children’s charity has urged Madonna to rethink her planned adoption of a Malawian baby girl as the singer was reportedly due in the east African country to take custody of a four-year-old child.
Save the Children spokesman Dominic Nutt said said the child would be better off staying in Malawi than being brought up by the recently-divorced pop star, who has three other children, including an adopted Malawian boy. “The best place for a child is in his or her family in their home community,” Nutt said. “Most children in orphanages have one parent still living, or have an extended family that can care for them in the absence of their parents.” Officials in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe said they were expecting Madonna, 50, to arrive later Sunday, CNN affiliate ITN reported. A luxury lodge where the singer has stayed in the past was fully booked and visitors were being turned away. The singer is reportedly planning to adopt a Malawian girl named Mercy James. Mercy’s father is believed to be alive but details of her family are sketchy. ITN reported the girl’s relatives have consented to the adoption and Madonna and the girl’s uncle are expected to appear in court to sign adoption papers on Monday.
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Save the Children argued that foreign adoptions should happen only if a child does not have any relatives, and all other options have been considered. “International adoption can actually exacerbate the problem it hopes to solve,” Nutt said. “The very existence of orphanages encourages poor parents to abandon children in the hope that they will have a better life.” Madonna’s spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg, who has not commented on the adoption reports, said the star would not respond to Save the Children, ITN reported. The singer has in the past used her fame to raise awareness about problems facing Malawi. She made a documentary, “I Am Because We Are,” which highlighted poverty, AIDS and other diseases devastating the country’s children. She also helps run a nonprofit, Raising Malawi, which implements initiatives to help the needy in the southeastern Africa nation.