Madge Facing Adoption War

29 Mar 2009

So why is Malawian tot's grandmother refusing to let Madonna adopt her?

MADONNA is facing strong opposition over her bid to adopt a girl from Malawi - a leading childrens' charity and the tot's grandmother have condemned the singer's plans to take home orphan MERCY JAMES.

The pop superstar has confirmed she will file adoption papers in a Malawi court next week to legally adopt the four-year-old.

Mercy James has reportedly been removed from an orphanage and is in the care of a nanny at Kumbali Lodge, outside Lilongwe, where the singer has stayed on previous visits.

But Madonna has come under scrutiny from bosses at U.K.-based charity Save The Children, who claim it is best for a child to stay in their homeland surrounded by their extended family.

A representative for the charity says, "For the most part so-called orphans in poor countries tend to have family still available to them, if not actually a parent still living.

"It is vital, we say, that children should not be taken abroad to be looked after but should be cared for in their own environment by their own community, ideally by their own family, particularly their extended family.

"You cannot literally take every poor child who may only have one parent living, or no parent living, across the world and transport them all into Kensington in London. It's not a solution."

The charity's appeal to the star comes on the same day the child's grandmother has hit out at Madonna for her bid to adopt Mercy James - accusing her of "stealing" the youngster from her biological family.

Lucy Chekechiwa, 61, tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "Why doesn't this singer pick other children? It is stealing. I want to go to court, I won't let her go."

Chekechiwa insists the child is supposed to return to her care when she turns six, and that orphanage officials have reneged on their "initial agreement".

She adds, "They told me when I visited her last month that they want to find a better education and home for Mercy. But I am sticking to the initial agreement that Mercy will return home to me after she reaches six years old."

The controversy mirrors the furore which surrounded Madonna's adoption of David Banda in 2006 - with some accusing the Malawian government of side-stepping the country's adoption laws because of the singer's fame and wealth. The adoption was subsequently finalised last year following two years of legal wrangling.