April 4, 2008 / 12:22 AM / 10 years ago

Malawi government backs Madonna on adoption

LILONGWE, Malawi (Reuters) - Malawi’s government has recommended that its High Court formally approve pop star Madonna’s adoption of David Banda, the child she met in a Malawian orphanage a year and a half ago.

File photo shows Madonna and her adopted son, David Banda in Mphendula Village, about 40 km (25 miles) from the capital Lilongwe April 19, 2007. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Madonna began adoption proceedings in 2006, and the 2-year-old boy has been living with the singer and her film director husband, Guy Ritchie, in their London home since then.

The adoption has been controversial, with critics accusing the government of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children in the southern African country, where an AIDS epidemic has left more than 1 million children orphaned.

But in a confidential report dated March 25, 2008, signed by probation officer S. Chisale at the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the government said Madonna and Ritchie had proved to be suitable parents for the Malawian boy.

“In the best interest of the child, I do recommend the petitioners to your lordship for your consideration that they be granted an adoption order having proved that they are suitable parents and satisfied the conditions in the interim adoption order,” the report said.

In February, Malawian Information Minister Patricia Kaliati praised Madonna’s efforts to rally support for orphans in the impoverished country and said it would be wrong for the government to deny the pop star’s adoption of a child there.

Meanwhile, Madonna’s lawyers have asked the courts to delay the entertainer’s appearance in court for the adoption hearing from next week to the end of April, because she has another engagement in the United States.

“They have made that application at (the) High Court today, and the judge is expected to respond this afternoon,” a court official said.


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