Madonna's Adoption Request Rejected

The star appeals the decision after a Malawi court declines her application to adopt a little girl

Madonna has filed an appeal to a court ruling that rejected her bid to adopt a second child from Malawi, her lawyer said Friday.

“I have just filed a notice for the appeal,” said the lawyer, Alan Chinula. He added that no date has been set for the appeal yet.

Earlier Friday, a residency requirement in Malawi prevented Madonna from adopting 3½-year-old Mercy James from that African nation, a judge and a lawyer told the Associated Press on Friday.

The news service described the judge as a witness not involved in Friday’s court ruling, and the lawyer as another who was present at the time of the decision. Both the judge and the lawyer spoke on conditions of anonymity.

The residency requirement for prospective parents is 18 to 24 months in Malawi. Madonna has homes in New York and London.

Madonna, 50, adopted her son, David Banda, now 3, from Malawi in 2008; she was granted custody and allowed to take him out of the country two years earlier. That adoption caused controversy, including claims that her application received special status because of her celebrity.

The singer, a single mother, was planning to adopt Mercy James, whom she first met in an orphanage in 2006. Her other children are daughter Lourdes, 12, and son Rocco, 8.

Madonna’s Reaction

When her Malawian lawyer, Alan Chinula, broke the news that High Court judge Esme Chombo had rejected her petition to adopt a Malawian toddler, an incredulous Madonna “kept wringing her hands,” a source at Kumbali Lodge, where the pop star is staying, tells PEOPLE. Madonna, who filed her adoption papers on Monday, was not present in court.

At the hearing, the judge said child welfare officers are required to find suitable prospective parents and “not someone who just flies in and out.” In terms of the child, “I think the welfare of Chifundo [‘Mercy’ in one of the languages spoken in Malawi] will be better served if she grows within the environment of the culture of Malawi,” she said.

The judge also said that because Madonna is already assisting other orphans, Chifundo will still benefit from star’s generosity.

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