Madonna Returns to Scene of Adoption Row Amidst on-going Controversy
By Simon Usborne for INS News –
London, UK (rushprnews) April 16, 2007 -For the six months since his controversial adoption from an impoverished Malawi orphanage, one-year-old David Banda has lived a life of luxury in the London home of the material girl. Today, Madonna is expected to sweep back into the country for a reunion with the boy’s father, amid rumours she plans to adopt a second child.
In November, the 48-yearold singer told the BBC’s Newsnight programme she would consider adopting another foreign child. “I wouldn’t rule it out … but I would like to experience David for a while and see how it works out,” she said.
During her visit to Malawi, the singer is said to be looking for a brother or sister for David, and rumours abound that she had already picked out a three-year-old called Grace from a video about a project to care for orphans.
But, speaking shortly before Madonna set off for Malawi, where she is setting up an orphanage for 4,000 children in a village outside the capital, Lilongwe, her spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg denied the rumours. “She is overseeing the building of a children’s healthcare centre,” she said. “She is absolutely not adopting another baby.”
Yesterday government officials confirmed that Madonna would spend several days in the country and would visit the Home for Hope orphanage from where she adopted David last year.
The singer sparked a storm of controversy when she plucked David from the centre and took him to London to start a new life with her husband, the film director, Guy Ritchie, her daughter Lourdes, 10, and the couple’s six-year-old son, Rocco. Adoption groups accused the queen of pop of using her superstar status to bypass Malawi laws governing the adoption of children by foreigners, allegations strenuously denied by the singer.
The couple first flew to Malawi by private jet last October, ostensibly on a humanitarian mission to visit Aids orphans. Within days a farmer called Yohane Banda told reporters that Madonna had adopted his 13-month-old son, David. “I know he will be very happy,” he said.
But soon after Madonna flew home to London with David, tailed by a bodyguard and a nanny, Malawi civil rights groups claimed they would challenge the singer’s adoption bid in court. Under the terms of the interim custody order, David can live with Madonna for 18 months while Malawi officials review the adoption application, but the groups said she had bent a law requiring foreign adoptive parents to live in the country for a year and a half.
Controversy continued to build as Mr Banda told reporters he would not have agreed to the adoption had he known it meant relinquishing his son. He claimed to have understood that Madonna would simply educate and look after his son, who he said he was unable to care for himself.
But in a change of heart, Mr Banda later told Time magazine he would not challenge the adoption. “I don’t want my child, who is already gone, to come back,” he said. “I will be killing his future.”
Madonna, meanwhile, embarked on a tour of TV sofas in an attempt to tell her side of the story. In a Newsnight studio dressed with drapes and candles, she said she had offered to support David as he grew up in Malawi, but that his father had declined.
Speaking to the American talkshow host, Oprah Winfrey, Madonna said conditions in Malawi were the equivalent of a “state of emergency”.
She said: “I think if everybody went there, they’d want to bring one of those children home with them and give them a better life.”
(c) 2007 Independent, The; London (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.