Madonna has filed to adopt Malawian boy amid controversy

Madonna prompted outrage from local agencies by filing papers to adopt a one year-old Malawian infant whose mother died a week after childbirth. African adoption experts claim that squiring orphans off to America and Europe can be disconcerting for the children, and that they should be raised by local families in an environment that they’re familiar with.

They argue that rather than whisking children off to a foreign land there should be more help directed towards helping extended families care for orphans.

Aids activists also claim that David, whose mother died shortly after giving birth, is bound to feel estranged and disorientated after moving from the poor village of Mchinji to America or Britain .

Bill Phillbrick of the Hope for African Children Iniative in Atlanta, America, told The Times: “International adoptions are not a solution. The answer is supporting the community.”

Jackie Schoeman, executive director of Cotlands, a South African organisation that cares for children affected by HIV said: “For us, first prize is to place the kids locally or even regionally. If the only other option is for them to be in long-term institutional care, then we would consider international adoption.”

The father of the infant, Yohane Banda, has given Madonna his blessing to adopt his one year-old son, David. Yohane is a potato and onion farmer and was forced to put the boy in an orphange when he could no longer care for him.

The story of little David is heartbreaking.

His mother, Marita, 28, died of fever in the days following David’s birth and Yohane found it impossible to cope with a newborn baby on his own.

Yohane, a potato and onion farmer, said: ‘I’m the father of David who has been adopted by Madonna.

‘I’m very happy. As you can see there is poverty in this village. I know he will be very happy. We are told David will be coming back regularly to know his roots.

‘Marita had miscarried twice before and the doctors told her she had to come into hospital for David. She died about a week after giving birth to him.’

A white Nissan jeep carrying a member of Madonna’s security team arrived at David’s orphanage to pick up him and his foster mother at 5pm on Monday and took them to the Kimbali Lodge, where Madonna has been staying.

‘As of now, the baby is gone,’ Thomson Chipeta said. He said a medical team had examined David a week before he was presented to Madonna…

Marita and Yohane grew up together and had been a couple for at least ten years.

Their first two pregnancies were stillborn and the couple had no other children.

There were complications during the pregnancy with baby David.

Marita was told she would need a Caesarian section and had to travel the 100km on a dirt road to the nearest hospital as soon as her labour started.

She made it just in time to give birth to David and died from complications a week later.

Villagers in Lipunga live a hand to mouth existence as farmers. There are about 30 tiny, one room huts with ten to 15 people living in each one.

All meals are cooked outside and villagers sleep on straw mats.

Since Madonna is donating a lot of money to the community and helping restructure the orphanage there, it seems like adopting a boy is a charitable act on her part, and one that will bring her and the child a lot of joy.

Update: I’m gradually changing my opinion about this. There’s an article on which makes a lot of good points about the controversy and how difficult it will be for that little boy to come to terms with his background.

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16 Responses to “Madonna has filed to adopt Malawian boy amid controversy”

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  1. kbean says:

    Madonna is a total shrew. I can’t believe she is so egotistical and unmaternal that she wouldn’t offer this poor man a lump sum of cash, rather than take his only child away.

  2. Celebitchy says:

    You’re right,she could have made it possible with an extremely small amount of money for this man and his mother to raise the boy comfortably. I didn’t think of that and it’s pretty wise of you to point out.

  3. lyn says:

    even offering cash wouldn’t really help in a place like that..the money offered will just disappear and then he is back to stage 1 they have no foundation to maintain that the cash flow keeps on coming in…someday that boy will be wealthy enough 2 help that whole community out..go ahead madonna adopt the boy..just n fyi the mother of the child died

  4. celebitchy says:

    When I said the man and his mother I mean the grandmother of the infant. The article said that the man lived with *his* mother, which would have been the grandmother. I really am not sure how I feel about it.

  5. kbean says:

    i know how i feel, having 2 kids of my own, its horrible. no money in the world can wipe clean the dirt that is all over this. she isn’t doing the boy/family any favors by bringing him to live in posh london. i’m fairly sure there are ways to filter money in to support a family that the government can’t take (how in the world does oprah do it? you don’t see her taking kids)…alternatively, we’re setting precident that going into a foreign country and taking children is better than leaving them in their own community.

  6. Celebitchy says:

    People go abroad to adopt kids and bring them to America all the time. I know a couple that adopted a little girl from Taiwan and another family that has two Chinese girls. Why is this any different? We may know more details about the family, and the agencies might be questioning it, but how is this different? I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just not decided about it. The baby was up for adoption and Madonna adopted it.

  7. Ms. Gossip says:

    So is this the new fad, “adopt an impoverished kid from a third world country”. I think the whole thing is a joke and Madonna needs her ass kicked!!

  8. Viv says:

    I’ll be the Devil’s, er, Madonna’s advocate here. I think that what she is doing is noble. She’s raising awareness of the plight of these village, has pledged 3 million to help and it looks like she’ll be raising him to be aware of his culture. When he comes to America or wherever the hell she is now, he’ll assimilate naturally and I’m doubtful he’ll feel guilty as the blog critic suggests. I know that as an American Born Chinese, I have a lot of privileges that my Chinese counterparts don’t. Like a car, an education, and copious amounts of food. It makes me eternally grateful that my parents chose to live here and it plays a factor in the way I treat others. I don’t regret the fact that my parents gave up their cultural identity to raise me here, it was their sacrifice for me and I’m not going to squander it. Because the country is in such a state of tumult and poverty, I don’t believe that she will be able to give enough money to this man or to the village. Even if she did give this man an unmitigated allowance, it would subject him to all sorts of turmoil because people throughout the village would seek him for help, or he could be kept ransom for the cash.

    ok, Flame me.

  9. Viv says:

    …and sort of off topic, I would like to say Madonna should have ended her career in the 80s. Yeesh.

  10. Poor Boopie says:

    If Madonna would have offered him a lump sum of cash for the kid, then everyone would be screamin’ that she “bought” a child. I lump this whole thing in with Maddox and Zahara Jolie Pitt. These kids will never want for a thing in their lives and they are much better off with their adoptive parents than in their native countries trying to survive on a daily basis.

  11. HateHypocrites says:

    Wouldn’t it have been nice for Madonna to provide assistance to the remaining family members to raise this child?? NOPE…instead she takes him away from his impoverished father (hey big bucks have a lot of leverage with very poor people) to have as her own. The kid will grow up wondering about his family and how they are doing. He will always be the outsider in a family of kids that are blood-related.

    Real nice move Madonna……you are a selfish biatch!

    She is a has-been anyway. No one really gives a sh$t about her anyway.

  12. Poor Boopie says:

    I don’t hear the father insisting that he keep his child. He’s looking pretty fucking happy in that picture holding the kid.

  13. TinaB. says:

    You probably know how I feel about this; one look at my blog and it’s no secret, but what I’ve been trying to figure out for the last few days is whether or not the boy was truly up for ‘adoption’ or if he was merely ‘adopted’ for the sake of adoption. In other words, was he living at an orphanage or merely living with his father and grandmother?

    Does anyone know?

  14. TinaB. says:


    (…)A white Nissan jeep carrying a member of Madonna’s security team arrived at David’s orphanage to pick up him and his foster mother at 5pm on Monday and took them to the Kimbali Lodge, where Madonna has been staying.

    How the hell did I miss this – especially since I’ve read this piece at least three times?!


  15. celebitchy says:

    Tina I have been talking to my husband about this as I am really undecided about how I feel.

    There are several points that I would like to discuss about it, and I think I’ll write an editorial.

    I did read your post and I agree with most of your points, except Madonna wanted an infant and the smaller babies are really hard to come by in the states. Older children are the ones that suffer and languish in the foster care system. Madonna could have adopted an older American child easily, but it was a baby she was after.

    I’m not saying what she did was right, just that if her goal was to get a baby quickly she probably couldn’t have done so in the states or Europe. She ended up going to Africa to do it just like Angelina.

    This is a complicated issue, and I don’t like Madonna or think her motives are good, but I’m not sure if I vilify her for it – especially when a lot of other Americans and Europeans do the same thing – they just use friendlier countries and more accepted methods to adopt babies.

  16. Barry Walsh says:

    Madonna is one of the few people that has most of her life scattered all over the papers every day.She has admitted to being self obsessed in the past,how many of us can admit that?she has proven that she is a good mother and is aware that she made some mistakes in her youth like most of us.She will give this child a good life because she can.The media are the only people that have upset this child since it left Malawi and whats this crap about the father looking happy holding the child?obviously he knows he cant give that child a good future in that country and remember he’s the one that lives there so he would know.Why dont people attack the media or make a blogg on them they seem to be able to ridicule people like madonna at any time they want and they dont seem too concerned about hounding Madonna and Guys other two children.I hate negativity and it dosn’t matter because Madonna is just about to win another war,this one is to give an orphaned child a better life.