Ruling on Madonna's Malawi Adoption Due Friday

Published June 11, 2009

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) -- Malawi's highest court plans to announce Friday whether Madonna can adopt a second child from the impoverished southern African country, the pop star's lawyer said Thursday.

The lawyer, Alan Chinula, said the ruling would be issued at 9 a.m.

Madonna had appealed after a lower court ruled she could not adopt 3-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James because the singer had not spent enough time in Malawi. The lower court said residency rules had been bent when Madonna adopted her son David from Malawi last year.

During a hearing in May, the three judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal heard constitutional expert Modechai Msiska argue on Madonna's behalf. He said although residence was a factor in the adoption process, it would be unconstitutional if adhering to the requirement negated a child's rights.

Johns Gulumba, a lawyer for Eye of the Child, an independent group that opposes the adoption, told the appeals court that following the rules keeps out potential child abusers. He also said foreign adoptions should be a last resort.

Madonna found the girl in 2006 at Kondanani Children's Village, an orphanage in Bvumbwe just south of Malawi's commercial capital of Blantyre. That was the same year Madonna began adoption proceedings for David, whom she found at another orphanage in the country's the central Mchinji district.

Madonna has founded a charity, Raising Malawi, which helps feed, educate and provide medical care for some of Malawi's more than 1 million orphans, half of whom have lost a parent to AIDS.

Written by The Associated Press

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