The press is reporting that Madonna is set to pick up a new acquisition in Malawi next week. Four-year old Mercy James, if everything goes right, will join the Ciccone family: Lourdes, Rocco, and David Banda. Madge, as the Brits like to call her, is set to fly into Lilongwe this weekend to pick up the goods at Kumbali Lodge, where Mercy and “Madonna’s people” have already been deposited and await her blond arrival. Madge’s court date may be as early as Monday.
Madge has suffered long for this moment in material motherhood. Back in August 2008 Madonna and then-husband British film director Guy Ritchie, seen here looking pretty unhappy, were set to adopt Mercy, (at least according to Madonna; Ritchie’s enthusiasm was said to be not so high )
when Madonna decided suddenly to put her energy into keeping her marriage afloat or as an anonymous “close family friend” told The Sun (OK, not the best source):
The adoption process in Malawi is so long and stressful that all the legal wrangling put a huge strain on their marriage.”
“They dropped proceedings to pour all their energies into each other. But Madonna now feels they are stable enough to press ahead with the adoption again.”
Oops! So much for stability! Three months later, in November 2008, a British court granted Madonna a preliminary divorce decree. While waiting for solicitors to divvy up the dump money she’d have to pay out to make Ritchie go away, the tabs reported wrongly as it turned out, that Madonna was readying for a Malawi fly-by with new beau, Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez to pick up Mercy. Around the same time Madonna was busy energizing her marriage, A-Rod’s wife of six years, Cynthia, the mother of his two children, the younger only 3 months old, was busy filing for divorce on grounds of “emotional abandonment” and infidelity over a bevy of her husband’s extramarital affairs.
Since then A-Rod has gone the way of, among others, (in no special order) Sean Penn, Tony Ward, Jellybean Benetiz, Dennis Rodman, Vanilla Ice, Warren Beatty, sperm donor Carlo Leon, and Ritchie. Newest boy toy, Brazillian model Jesus Luz, 22 (left) (no Madonna and Jesus jokes, please!) got the heave-ho a couple weeks ago, possibly after squicked Malawian adoption officials objected to the mother-to be’s dating habits.
According to Malawi’s child welfare officials, via Monday’s New York Daily News,”:
Our official policy is that we do not encourage our children to be sent into broken homes,” said a senior official from Malawi’s Ministry of Women and Child Welfare Development”
Noting her split from hubby Guy Ritchie. “[Madonna’s] relationships may negatively affect the adoption of Mercy,” the official said.
“The news she is linked to another woman’s husband and a young man less than half her age makes us question her morals.”
Officials are unhappy the 50-year-old Material Mom, who adopted toddler David Banda in Malawi in 2006, flaunted her relationship with Luz in a recent racy W Magazine spread.
Simon Chisale Malawi’s child welfare chief, said morality plays a big part in the adoption process. “We do not only look at the material issues, but also the moral standing of prospective adoptive parents, because we do not want our children’s morals to be corrupted,” Chisale said.
No mention of Chisale, who seems rather chummy with Madge, snickering up his sleeve while making the last remark. But who really wants to smack the fingers of the world’s most famous woman, whose got a mansion full of money, and deny her the “right” to “be a mother”?
Still, he said he doubted Madonna’s social whirl would affect the outcome of her adoptive process. We do not apply the law retroactively,” he said.
Well that’s a relief ! We wouldn’t want Madonna’s brand new unheard-of-before-her-divorce “social whirl” to get in the way of adoptamotherhood. And, happily for Madonna, the now single mom (for the time being), with the rubberstamp of the Malawian government, is able to work Mercy into her busy schedule. Some lucky little girl, that little Mercy James is!
Mercy James’ 18-year old mother died 5 days after giving birth to her and it’s unclear if her “schoolboy” father is still alive.
What is clear, however, is that Mercy, according to her family, was not available for adoption when Madonna homed in on her mark at the Mchinji Home of Hope, where after her mother’s death, the baby was sent for care, not celebrity placement. Reports vary and aren’t from the greatest sources, and but here’s a rundown.
The People, October 7, 2007: (not to be confused with People Magazine):
But in a devastating blow to Madonna’s dream, Mercy’s defiant uncle John Ngalande insisted that the 20-month-old girl will live with him.
Speaking from Malawi, John told The People: “I would rather we be poor and struggling with Mercy, than for her to go and live with a big white star far away.”
Mercy was put in an orphanage when her 18-year-old mother Mwandida Maunde died. Her father was a schoolboy and has played little part in her life.
John, 36, revealed that he always expected the tot would eventually live with him and is outraged at the thought of her being taken away by 49-year-old Madonna.
John said: “We were told when Mercy went into the orphanage that we would be in constant contact with her and that she would come back to us after six years. I would like to stick to that.
“Whether it be Madonna or any other white person, I’m against our child being taken away.”
(Bastardette: Note that this arrangement was initiated while Madonna was still undergoing investigation over irregularities in David Banda’s adoption.)
The Sun, August 13, 2008 (story picked up and widely distributed):
Speaking from her village in Zomba District, Lucy said: “We know that it is Mercy who Madonna really wants. We heard it is because my granddaughter is such a beautiful, happy child. “Twice I have told the adoption people that I do not want Mercy to go outside the country. “But they keep on at us. Now they say that Mercy will be leaving us, but can return at age 18. Yet I might not be alive then.”
The London Daily Mirror December 8, 2008:
Her uncle, John Ngalande, reportedly said in August last year: ‘We won’t surrender her. They told us how another Malawi kid has had his life transformed by her. I don’t want that attention. We want an ordinary life.’
Mr Ngalande said the girl – in an orphanage since her mum Mwandida Maunde, 18, died after giving birth – would be returned to them at six. Yesterday gran Anaphiri, 63, added: “When Mercy is no longer a baby we want her back. I do not want the money they said they’d give me.
No public word on how Mercy’s family feels about the deal this time around. Some publications, including Marie Claire, March 27, 2009, however, are repeating John Ngalande August 2008 statement:
But not everybody seems to be over the moon about the move. Mercy’s uncle, John Ngalande, reportedly said in August last year: ‘We won’t surrender her. They told us how another Malawi kid has had his life transformed by her. I don’t want that attention. We want an ordinary life.
And just to stir the pot, we learn in a March 23, report from the Mirror online that Madge just sacked David Banda’s fulltime Australian nanny, known only as Angela, on the spot, after she turned in her notice:
All Madonna’s employees work incredibly long hours, so it’s no surprise that Angela had had enough. If you work for Madonna you are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s no such thing as a weekend.’
The timing could not be more inconvenient for Madonna, who confirmed last week that she is planning to return to Malawi in the next couple of months to adopt another child.
Sources say that because of the star’s punishing work schedule she is hugely dependent on a team of carers who look after her three children – Lourdes, Rocco and David, whom she adopted in Malawi two years ago.
I don’t know about you, but I get plumb tuckered out thinking about being Madonna. It must really suck having such a hard job. The only harder job I can think of would be working for her.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, The Daily Mail gives us all sorts of interesting news (my emphasis):
Mercy has been handed over to Madonna’s people, who are already at the lodge, and is being cared for by a nanny,’ says the source.
‘They are waiting for Madonna to arrive so mother and daughter can be united and then Madonna is expected to take Mercy with her when she leaves.’
And what of David Banda?
Reportedly, he’ll accompany Madge to Malawi, though there’s no guarantee he’ll get to see his father and other family members, since she’s studiously kept them apart for the last two years, despite public and private promises to the contrary:
Yesterday, David Banda’s biological father, Yohane Banda, revealed he has been told to prepare himself for a meeting with Madonna.
Mr Banda, 33, said officials from the pop star’s charity, Raising Malawi, had sent word of a visit, which would be ‘very soon’.
And what of Guy Ritchie? (left with David):
But the fact that Madonna is determined to adopt another child is also said to have infuriated Ritchie, who is already concerned about the custody arrangements involving the couple’s children.
A friend said yesterday: ‘Guy has already had to make plans to be around for most of the summer to look after the kids because Madonna is working. No one knows how she will cope without a nanny. She depends on her staff very heavily.’
Can somebody quick fax Madonna a copy of Red Thread or Slender Reed: Deconstructing Elzabeth Barholet’s Mythology of International Adoption? Maybe she’ll think it has something to do with Kabbalah and read it.
If you’re come this far, here’s a bonus. A short clip from Celeb TV that sums up the whole story.