The Material Girl and her husband film director Guy Ritchie have taken custody of a one-year-old boy from Malawi and have filed formal adoption papers.
Madonna has been in the impoverished African nation since last week and has made several public appearances promoting projects for AIDS orphans that she’s heading up, but her publicist denied rumours that Madge planned to adopt a child during her trip.
The tot’s mother died a month after he was born and his 32-year-old father, Yohame Banda, said the child had been cared for at an orphanage near the Zambian border, which Madonna had visited twice. He met the celebrity couple and said he was happy for his young son.
“They are a lovely couple,” he said. “She asked me many questions. She and her husband seem happy with David. I am happy for him. Madonna promised me that as the child grows she will bring him back to visit.”
Judge Andrew Nyirenda issued an interim order that allows the singer to take the little boy home.
Madonna and Ritchie have a five-year-old son Rocco and the singer also has a nine-year-old daughter Lourdes.
Malawi is among the poorest countries in the world and has been devastated by AIDS/HIV, droughts and crop failures. Madonna’s charity Raising Malawi is building an orphanage to help some 4,000 children.
While the child’s father welcomed Madonna’s request to adopt his son, some African child advocacy groups don’t think foreign adoptions are the best way to help Malawian children. Jackie Schoeman, executive director of the South African organization Cotlands that cares for children affected by AIDS/HIV, said local families should be the first choice for orphans.