Madonna: I Offered to Leave David with His Dad

The boy's father declined her offer to support the child in Malawi, she tells Meredith Vieira

Discussing her adoption of 13-month-old David Banda from Malawi, Madonna says that the boy’s father, Yohane Banda, turned down her offer of financial aid to help raise his son, the pop star told Meredith Vieira on the Today show Wednesday.

“When I met (Yohane), I said I would be happy to to bring (David) back to your village and help you financially raise him,” the singer tells Vieira in the interview, which was also scheduled to continue on Dateline NBC. “And he said, ‘No.’ I think he truly felt in his heart of hearts that – and who knows if he was telling me the truth – that he would have a better life with me. So, when he said no, that was my sign that it was my responsibility to look after him.”

Madonna believes racial prejudice is at the root of the objections to her adopting David. “I think it’s still considered taboo,” she says about bringing home a child of color. “I have people say to me when I’m walking down the street, ‘Why did you adopt a black child?’ I don’t dignify their question with a reply. But there is a lot of racism in the world. I think that’s underneath a lot of people’s prejudice about me adopting David.”

To her, David race’s is not an issue at all. “I’m not going to buy into it, and neither are my children. So I don’t worry about it. I don’t live in a white world. I live in the world. And my children are exposed to all cultures and all races and many belief systems.”

Having faced protests from human rights groups that claimed the law was bent to facilitate the process for her and husband Guy Ritchie, Madonna also admits that the negative attention surrounding the adoption caused her to question her decision, though only momentarily.

“With all the chaos, pain and suffering in the world – the situation in Iraq, with Iran and North Korea – the fact that my adoption of a child who was living in an orphanage was the No. 1 story for a week in the world,” she says. “To me, that says more about our inability to focus on the real problems, and our desire to have distractions and to be consumed with gossip.”

Asked if she would do things the same way, Madonna answers, “I mean, if you would have asked me a week ago when I was in … the depths of my depression, and just feeling so sad about the state of the world and how negative everybody was, I probably would have said no. But if you ask me today, I would say yes.”

The singer, who practices Kabbalah, also addresses how her spiritual practices might influence David, who has been photographed wearing the red-stringed bracelet that is often associated with followers of the religion.

“I believe in Jesus and I study Kabbalah. So, I don’t see why he can’t too,” says Madonna. “The essence of the Kabbalah is the teachings of Jesus. You know, love your neighbor as yourself.”

She adds, however, that ultimately the choice will be up to David. “If David decides he wants to be a Christian, then so be it. Studying Kabbalah doesn’t mean you can’t be a Christian or a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Jew or whatever.”

Madonna, who has two children – Lourdes, 10, and Rocco, 6 – also says that David fits right into her family. “He’s got a terrible temper. He’s very flirtatious. And he’s hysterically funny,” she says.

When Vieira pointed out that those qualities sounded a lot like Madonna herself, the singer laughed, saying, “I do have a terrible temper. …I would say that’s kind of me, yeah. But obviously he’s going to come with his own baggage and his own DNA and I look forward to being surprised by what he’s going to offer the world and how he’s going to turn out.”

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