‘I fought for Mercy and I won’: Madonna reveals how a Malawian judge told her she was ‘not fit to raise children’ because she had divorced Guy Ritchie when she first tried to adopt her daughter
- Adopted son David from Malawi in 2006 and tried to adopt Mercy in 2009
- Was told that she was ‘not fit to raise children’ as she was twice divorced
- Spoke of how she hired a team of lawyers to fight her case before winning
- Gave speech at launch of pediatric facility in Malawi on Tuesday
Madonna was told she was ‘not fit to raise children’ when she tried to adopt her daughter Mercy James.
The 58-year-old singer recalled her emotional three-and-a-half year wait to win the right to adopt the tot from Malawi, after successfully taking on the care of her son David in 2006, as she was initially told it wouldn’t be possible as she had recently divorced film director Guy Ritchie.
Speaking at the opening her Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care in Malawi – the first facility of its kind in the country – on Tuesday, she recalled: ‘I met Mercy soon after I met my son David, but they were living in different orphanages.
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Marking the moment: Madonna was told she was ‘not fit to raise children’ when she first tried to adopt her daughter Mercy James as the duo officially opened the children’s hospital facility the pop icon’s charity has helped to build in Malawi
David was in Mchinji in Home of Hope, and Mercy was here in Blantyre at Kondanani. Mercy was suffering from malaria, and David from pneumonia. And when I held each of them in my arms, I whispered in their ears, that I would look after them. And I promised them that they would grow up into strong and healthy adults.
‘I was granted permission to adopt David first. And some time later, I filed a petition to adopt Mercy. But this time, the judge who was presiding said no. I was recently divorced, and she informed me, as a divorced woman, I was not fit to raise children and that Mercy James was better off growing up in an orphanage.’
Making for a sweet moment during the opening, Madonna was seen hugging her daughter as they joined each other up on stage in front of the gathered crowd.
As well as her split from Guy, Madonna had also defied Malawian law which requires would-be parents to live in the country for a year before adopting, but she refused to take no for an answer and hired a team of lawyers to keep arguing her case.
She continued: ‘If you know me, you can imagine how I received this information. It’s true, I am a freedom fighter. I am a feminist. I am a rebel heart. But I am also a compassionate and intelligent human being. And if you cannot give me a logical reason for the word “no,” then I will not accept the word “no.” I hired a team of lawyers, and I took my case to the supreme court, and it was not an easy battle.
‘The adoption laws in Malawi had not been reformed since the early ’40s, and it had not occurred to anyone to change them yet. So my argument was that women have been raising children for centuries, on their own … not to mention the fact that I was doing just fine raising my own three children.’
Sweet: The star – pictured above with son David and daughter Stella – recalled her emotional three-and-a-half year wait to win the right to adopt the tot from Malawi as she was initially told it wouldn’t be possible as she had recently divorced film director Guy Ritchie
Family: Madonna has also adopted son David Banda, 11, and recently welcomed four-year-old twins Estere and Stella after adopting them from an orphanage in Malawi
The singer urged people not to ‘stop fighting’ for their beliefs, to follow their dreams and to always persevere.
She added: ‘I never gave up. And I never backed down. And I believe that if you want something badly enough in life, the universe will conspire to help you get it. It may not be exactly when you want it, it may not come exactly when you think it’s gonna come. It may not come in the package that you want it. But if you persevere, you will win.
‘I fought for Mercy, and I won. It wasn’t easy. And with the blood, sweat, and tears of so many people here today, we fought for this hospital – and we won. So I’m here to say: never, ever give up on your dreams. Never stop fighting for what you believe in. And finally: Love conquers all.’
The facility is located at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi.
Despite her emotional speech, the Like A Prayer hitmaker appeared in high spirits as she attended the launch of the facility and was seen putting on an affectionate display with her brood.
Honoured: The facility has been named The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care – after Madonna’s daughter – and is located at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre
Breakthrough: It is the first health unit for children in Malawai and is said to double the capacity for paediatric care at the Queen Elizabeth hospital and includes three specialist operating theatres
Officially open: Madonna unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the children’s ward while stood alongside President Peter Mutharika
Like Mercy and David Banda, 11, she recently welcomed four-year-old twins Estere and Stella after adopting them from an orphanage in Malawi, where she has been a regular visitor for many years.
She is also the biological mother of daughter Lourdes Leon, 20, and son Rocco Ritchie, 16.
During the opening, Madonna was seen getting involved with the festivities and had unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the children’s ward while stood alongside President Peter Mutharika.
He had declared Madonna a ‘daughter of the nation’ during his speech at the opening, telling the songstress: ‘You started by adopting four Malawian children, now we are adopting you as the daughter of this nation.’
Speaking about her desire to build the medical facility, Madonna has said: ‘There are so many things I never imagined I will do. I never imagined one day I will build this kind of a hospital.
‘Never give up on your dreams,’ she urged.
The Mercy James Institute has been built in collaboration with Malawi’s health industry and prior to its official opening, Madonna had revealed that the facility has already completed its first surgery.
It is the first health unit for children in Malawai and is said to double the capacity for paediatric care at the Queen Elizabeth hospital.
The institute had taken two years to build and includes three specialist operating theatres.
High spirits: Madonna was seen getting involved with the festivities at the opening
Lovely: She was declared a ‘daughter of the nation’ during the President’s speech at the opening, as he told the songstress: ‘You started by adopting four Malawian children, now we are adopting you as the daughter of this nation.’
Involved: A cause close to her heart, Madonna had followed the progress of the ward and had visited the site as work got underway
A cause close to her heart, Madonna had followed the progress of the ward and had visited the site as work got underway. She had founded her charity, Raising Malawi, back in 2006 with the hope of raising awareness and helping the African country’s children to overcome the hardship they have had to endure.
‘When you look into the eyes of children in need, wherever they may be, a human being wants to do anything and everything they can to help,’ Madonna told The Associated Press.
‘On my first visit to Malawi, I made a commitment that I would do just that.’
‘A human being wants to do anything and everything to help’: Madonna claimed she had been inspired to help the people of Malawi following her first visit to the African country