Malawi court allows Madonna to adopt second child

Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:08pm EDT
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By Mabvuto Banda

BLANTYRE (Reuters) - U.S. pop star Madonna was allowed on Friday to adopt a second child from Malawi, although the father of the 4-year-old girl said he wants her back, a plea likely to stir fresh controversy for the singer.

Malawi's Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling in April which said Madonna could not adopt Mercy James because she was not a resident of the southern African country.

Rights groups have accused the government of giving Madonna special treatment and said the case would encourage foreigners to think they can adopt Malawian children at will.

Mercy's father said Madonna, one of the music industry's most successful singers, should not be allowed to adopt Mercy.

"No one wants to listen to me, I have protested this all along ... I want my child back but I don't know what to do now," James Kabewa told Reuters by telephone from his poor township.

"Madonna cannot take her away."

There is little he can do. The Supreme Court ruling cannot be challenged. Kabewa said he quit his job as a security guard to fight the adoption and was being supported by his aunt.

According to tradition in southern Malawi, where Kabewa lives, a grandmother has more say in a child's future than the father. When Mercy's mother died Kabewa was powerless to stop his daughter being sent to an orphanage when she was 3-days-old.   Continued...

<p>Pop star Madonna holds the child named Mercy in this undated publicity photo taken in Malawi and released to Reuters April 13, 2009. REUTERS/Tom Munro/Warner Brothers Records/Handout</p>