A local judge denied Madonna’s attempt to adopt another child from Malawi today, CNN reports. Despite the outcry from human rights activists and non-profit charities asking Madonna to reconsider her decision, the singer’s bid to adopt a four-year-old named Chifundo James, or “Mercy” as her name translates, went to court today. But the petition was rejected, as the judge was concerned about relocating “Mercy” from her home country and culture.
“The decision came down to residency requirement and the fact that the judge believes she was being well taken care of in the orphanage,” said Zione Ntaba, a spokeswoman for the Malawi Justice Department. “For the Malawians, the fact that the child is at an orphanage, is being taken care of and is going through the school education system, that does qualify as the best interests of a child.”
Madonna adopted son David Banda from the African country in 2006. That adoption was also protested, with many saying Madonna used her star power to circumvent the proper adoption process. The adoption was finally approved in 2008. “Inter-country adoption is not the best way of providing protection to children … they should grow up in familiar cultural and religious surroundings,” Mavuto Bamusi of the Malawi Human Rights Consultative Committee told CNN. “This is a triumph for the children of Malawi.”
Madonna has been one of the country’s biggest supporters, making the documentary I Am Because We Are with the hope of giving the impoverished nation some international attention. The singer also co-founded the Raising Malawi charity, which provides help to the needy. Interestingly enough, one Malawi radio stations polled listeners to see if they supported the court’s decision to reject Madonna’s adoption petition. 99 percent of those polled sided with Madonna.