Malawian Judge Rejects Madonna's Adoption Application
Mon, 06 Apr 2009 10:27:27
Judge Esme Chombo rejected Madonna's application for a second child from Malawi on Friday, saying it would set a bad precedent. (Normally, prospective parents have to live in the country before adopting; many critics have said that an exception shouldn't be made for the pop star.)
"It is necessary that we look beyond the petitioner... and consider the consequences of opening the doors too wide," the judge said. "By removing the very safeguard that is supposed to protect our children, the courts ... could actually facilitate trafficking of children by some unscrupulous individuals."
Judge Chombo went on to praise Madonna for her "noble" efforts to feed, educate and provide health care for many of Malawi's more than 1 million orphans. She also said that 3-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James was is receiving "suitable" care in an orphanage at the moment, which is a stark contrast to the dire situation faced by 3-year-old David—Madonna's first adoption from Malawi—in 2006.
"We sympathize with children like Mercy who find themselves in orphanhood," Mavuto Bamusi, an official on Malawi's Human Rights Consultative Committee, said in a statement. "But the Malawi authorities should take this as a moment of reflection. The laws of Malawi should now be strengthened so that no celebrity, no family that is trying to adopt should be seen as taking advantage of our weak laws."
On the other hand, Malawi's child welfare minister, Anna Kachikho told the Associated Press, "We can't look after all of [the orphans] as a country. If people like Madonna adopt even one such orphan, it's one mouth less we have to feed."
—The ARTISTdirect Staff