November 06, 2006 12:00 PM

Appearing on Oprah via satellite from London, Madonna was a typical proud mom, showing off a photo of her new baby, David, being held by her kids, Lourdes, 10, and Rocco, 6. “They look like a happy, loving family,” says Robin Ayoob, 54, who attended the Oct. 24 Oprah taping. But it wasn’t an entirely happy moment for the singer, 48, who gave the interview to address criticism from human rights organizations and the press that she got special treatment when adopting her 13-month-old baby from Malawi. Not true, said Madonna, who claimed she followed every letter of the law.

Her words came just as David’s biological father, Yohane Banda—after a week of saying he approved of the adoption—partly backtracked. “Nobody said I’m losing my son forever, or I wouldn’t have consented,” said Banda, 32, who added that he does not necessarily want to block the adoption: “I only want someone to explain it to me properly.”

For its part, the Human Consultative Committee has an appearance in the Malawi High Court on Oct. 27 to hear the outcome of its petition to be involved in the adoption proceedings. “We want baby David’s rights protected,” says chairman Justin Dzonzi. Meanwhile, Madonna has other concerns on her mind, like helping David recover from a bout of pneumonia that he had when he left Malawi. “I feel for her. She’s an icon, but she’s also a mom,” says OprahOprah audience member Laura Rader, 38. “And she wants the best for this child.”

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