Madonna Adoption Bid Okayed by Malawi Judge

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Jonathan Choe

BLANTYRE, Malawi — The material mom can add another to her growing family now that the path to adopting her second African baby has been cleared.

A Malawi high court Friday ruled that Madonna can adopt a second child that African country, overturning a lower court decision it said was out of touch with the times.

Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo also said the singer's commitment to helping disadvantaged children should have been taken into account when deciding on Madonna's request to adopt 3-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James.

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.

Children's welfare groups had expressed concern that rules meant to protect children were being bent because of Madonna's celebrity, and perhaps out of gratitude for what she has done for Malawi, one of the world's poorest and most AIDS-ravaged countries.

Madonna had appealed after a lower court ruled she could not adopt the girl 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.

The appeals court said that was a narrow interpretation based on old laws, and that it is possible in today's globalized world to be resident in more than one place at a time.
   

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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