Madonna's Adoption Goes to Court

ByABC News via logo

Oct. 16, 2006 — -- Madonna's adoption battle heats up today as a children's charity in Malawi heads to court to try to stop the pop star from adopting 1-year-old David Banda.

Earlier today, the Malawian baby left his home country in a private jet.

It has been less than a week since Madonna was granted an interim order allowing her to adopt David Banda, despite the country's laws that forbid nonresidents from adopting Malawian children.

Now, Malawi's largest children's charity is speaking out, saying that adoption is "not like selling property."

The boy's father says he didn't know about the adoption, but was later convinced by the orphanage that a "very nice Christian lady" would provide the best life for his son.

In a statement, Madonna's spokesperson said, "Madonna and her husband's plans to adopt a child from Malawi have been in the works for several months. Being granted the adoption was the first step in the legal process to bring the baby to England."

But the action has raised the question: Has Madonna's celebrity status allowed her to steamroll Malawi's legal system?

"The caricature is that rich, presumptuous Americans are buying babies. That's not what inter-country adoption is about," said Thomas Atwood, president of the National Council for Adoption.

"It's about love. It's about people who want to love and parent a child, a child who needs parents," Atwood continued.

Madonna left Africa without baby David. She also left behind a $3 million donation to help children infected with HIV.

Some wonder whether the donation may have quickened the adoption process.

New Yorkers Erik and Lauren Noormae have already spent $24,000 trying to adopt a child.

Of the Madonna situation, Erik Noormae said, "It is frustrating because it is obviously not a level playing ground."

He and his wife considered international adoption, but realized there was even more red tape.

"We as a couple didn't necessarily have the time or the resources to necessarily do that, jet setting back and forth across the Atlantic," he said.

Still, some would agree, potential favoritism toward the pop star may be a small price to pay.

"Certainly there's a lot of inequality in the world of adoption," said People magazine's JD Heyman.

"It's unfortunate that that's the way it is. I would also say what would you have them do? Not adopt the child?"

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