Monday, April 16, 2007

Madonna and Child Returns to Africa

April 16, 2007

Madonna returns to Malawi with adopted child

David Byers and agencies

Madonna today landed in Malawi with the 18-month-old boy she is adopting, amid rumours that she plans to adopt a second orphan from the impoverished southern African country.

As the British-based American singer landed at Lilongwe's airport, her spokeswoman claimed she was only in the country to continue her long-standing charity work, which involves constructing a number of orphanages.

She would not confirm reports that the superstar had planned to take David Banda, her adopted child, to see his real father, Yohane, and denied that she was planning to finalise any further adoptions.

Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, adopted the one-year-old six months ago from an orphanage in the country.

As the singer touched down in a private jet, two vehicles were dispatched to the airport in an attempt to block the view of her and her entourage exiting the plane. Madonna, wearing dark glasses and a black outfit, was still spotted by journalists walking down the steps of the plane and carrying Banda in her arms.

They were immediately whisked away in several vehicles which set off through the city centre of Lilongwe to check in at an exclusive lodge in the town.

Attempting to dismiss speculation about any possible plans to adopt another child Liz Rosenberg, Madonna's spokeswoman, said: "She is overseeing the building of a children's healthcare centre. She is absolutely not adopting another baby."

The singer is expected to visit an orphanage just outside the Malawian capital in connection with her charity work in the country, as well as travel to the Home of Hope orphanage, where her son lived before Madonna applied to adopt him.

The visit comes half a year after the couple signed interim adoption papers for David, who was to stay with Madonna and Ritchie for 18 months before a decision was made by the Malawian government on whether to finalise the adoption.

Madonna’s adoption of the child grabbed world headlines and caused some groups in Malawi to question whether she had used her celebrity status to bypass laws governing the adoption of Malawians by foreigners - an argument denied by her lawyers.

Yohane Banda, the child’s father, also complained that he did not have access to the American singer and was having difficulty getting information about his son. His son was placed in an orphanage shortly after his mother died.

The adoption controversy has helped to spotlight the plight of orphans in Malawi, where more than 900,000 children are orphaned and another 500,000 have lost at least one parent, many of them to the country’s devastating HIV/AIDS pandemic.

No comments: