Madonna ‘baby’ leaves Malawi

“David has finally left. We had our men on the ground at the airport who saw a small plane leaving with David accompanied by a lot of (Madonna’s) bodyguards, Maxwell Matewere, child rights activist and director of Eye of the Child, said.

The aircraft took off from the airport at Lilongwe, the country’s administrative capital, he said, but could not confirm where the plane was headed.

Matewere is also a member of the Human Rights Consultative
Committee, an umbrella grouping of 67 local rights groups, which was planning to go to court to challenge the interim court order allowing Madonna to adopt David Banda.

Madonna, 48, was granted the interim order to adopt the poor farmer’s son by the high court in Lilongwe on Thursday after spending a week in the poverty-stricken country to assess AIDS projects she had funded.

Under Malawian law, expatriates adopting a child usually have to live in the country for 18 months and are monitored by social workers before they get full adoption rights.

Matawere earlier told AFP rights bodies had deferred plans to pose a legal challenge to the adoption today to beef up its case.

“Being a private matter, we are trying to establish a locus standi … we need someone like a relative who is directly offended by the interim order,” he said.

Matewere said the group wanted to interview an unidentified uncle of David’s who is “said to be opposed to the adoption plan”.

Justin Dzodzi, who chairs the rights grouping, said it had sent investigators to the orphanage where Banda lives to “get a feel of what the villagers and relatives feel about the adoption and if anyone opposes it”.

After the boy’s departure, he said the group would continue to fight the move.

“Despite the departure of David, we are still proceeding with the legal action against the adoption,” he said.

“We would like Madonna to be a resident in Malawi in order to qualify as a candidate for adoption,” he said. “We would like David to be given an option when he turns 21 either to come back home to be reunited with his parents or continue to stay with Madonna.”

Dzodzi also said Madonna, who has undergone several transformations in her star status, some of them steamy, was a “questionable” role model for a child.

“We want to protect the child because Madonna’s moral uprightness is questionable,” he said.

Malawi’s parliament will debate new adoption rules next year to streamline adoption procedures for foreigners.

Madonna left Malawi on Friday by a private jet without the toddler as officials were yet to sort out Banda’s passport and visa issues.

The singer, who already has two children of her own and is married to British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, must return to this country for the adoption to be finally approved.

In an interview with Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, the boy’s father Yohane Banda said he had agreed to the adoption as it was “a very good opportunity for David to get an education and grow
up healthy”.

The boy’s mother died after childbirth.

Mother to 10-year-old Lourdes and Rocco, who is six, Madonna is not the first star to expand her family by adopting children from developing countries.

US actress Mia Farrow was a trailblazer in the 1970s. Her family includes 10 children adopted from overseas, including countries such as South Korea, Vietnam, and India.

American Meg Ryan adopted a Chinese girl, while the Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, famous for his roles in films such as Star Wars and Trainspotting, adopted a Mongolian girl.

However, the adoptive parent who is perhaps best known is Angelina Jolie. In Cambodia, she adopted Maddox, four, and in Ethiopia, she became mother to Zahara, almost two, before giving birth to Shiloh, whose father is actor Brad Pitt.