Madonna happy to be "guinea pig" in adoption case

Thu May 22, 2008 12:27pm EDT
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By James Mackenzie

CANNES, France (Reuters) - American singer Madonna said on Thursday she was happy to be a "guinea pig" in a case she hopes could ease adoptions from Malawi, where an AIDS epidemic has orphaned more than 1 million children.

The southern African country's High Court is considering whether Madonna can adopt an infant boy.

A report by Malawi's Human Rights Commission says the adoption could be illegal because it does not conform with international conventions and procedures under the country's law.

Madonna, presenting a documentary on the plight of children in Malawi at the Cannes film festival, said the controversy had been difficult to deal with but she was happy to be involved in a move that might allow more children to be adopted.

"Up until this time there wasn't an adoption law, so consequently I'm sort of the template or the role model, so to speak, for future adoptions," she told a news conference.

"Hopefully after we get through this adoption it will be easier for other people to adopt children and I'm happy to be the guinea pig," she said.

But critics say she has been allowed to get around laws that prevent non-residents adopting children.

Madonna's film "I Am Because We Are" recounts the story behind her efforts to adopt David, a boy whose mother died in childbirth in Malawi, said she had tried to look at the controversy in a positive light.   Continued...

<p>Madonna holds her adopted son, David Banda, at an orphan care centre run by Raising Malawi, a grassroots initiative by Madonna, in Mphendula Village, about 40 km (25 miles) from the capital Lilongwe April 19, 2007. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko</p>