Madonna leaves Malawi without Mercy
Madonna left Malawi Sunday without Mercy James, who she sought to become her daughter. Madonna's adoption bid in Africa was denied.
The superstar returned to London with daughter Lourdes and son David, who was seen happily jumping into the arms of adopted father Guy Ritchie after exiting their private jet.
A judge ruled against the adoption last week, citing an 18-month residency law that Madonna did not meet -- and to which she was not held when she adopted son David from the southern African country two years ago.
The judge stated that allowing Madonna to circumvent the rules could encourage child trafficking.
"By removing the very safeguard that is supposed to protect our children, the courts by their pronouncements could actually facilitate trafficking of children by some unscrupulous individuals who would take advantage of the weakness of the law of the land," said Judge Esmie Chondo.
Mercy's Malawi relations are said to be deeply unhappy about the ruling. "We as a family discussed this and agreed that it is in the best interests of Mercy to have her adopted, so why should the judge stop this if the family is OK with it?" asks uncle Peter Baneti.
Mercy lives in an orphanage, away from her blood relatives -- none of whom choose to care for her.
Meanwhile, a man claiming to be Mercy's father has suddenly popped back in the picture and could possibly throw a huge monkey wrench into the proceedings.
While he has never cared for Mercy, he says he now wishes to have the girl and is willing to take a DNA test to prove his claim. Madonna plans to appeal the court's decision. "We are just waiting for the court registrar to give us a day when we will appear in court," says lawyer Alan Chinula.
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