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Madonna defends adoption of boy



Published: Wed, October 18, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Child protection groups are challenging the singer's custody of the boy.

LONDON (AP) -- Madonna forcefully defended her adoption of a 1-year-old Malawian boy after he arrived by plane in London on Tuesday, as the pop star rejected criticism of her decision to offer the child a home and insisted she acted according to the law.

Responding for the first time to the protests, Madonna said she hopes to make the adoption of David Banda permanent after an 18-month evaluation period imposed by Malawi authorities.

"We have gone about the adoption procedure according to the law, like anyone else who adopts a child. Reports to the contrary are totally inaccurate," Madonna said in a statement, issued via e-mail after David joined her at her London mansion.

Liz Rosenberg, Madonna's New York-based publicist, said her client was referring to laws that applied in both Malawi and Britain.

Madonna said she and her husband began the adoption process "many months prior to our trip to Malawi," but she had not disclosed their intentions because she wished to keep the matter private. As child-protection groups challenged Madonna's custody order, photographers swarmed outside the singer's home and bloggers and editorial-writers weighed in, that appeared a vain hope.

"After learning that there were over 1 million orphans in Malawi, it was my wish to open up our home and help one child escape an extreme life of hardship, poverty and in many cases death, as well as expand our family," Madonna said.

"This was not a decision or commitment that my family or I take lightly," she added.

Arrival in London

David, who has spent most of his life in an orphanage in poverty-stricken Malawi, arrived before dawn at Heathrow Airport aboard a British Airways flight from Johannesburg, South Africa. He was bundled into a waiting Mercedes minivan in the arms of an aide, surrounded by airport officials and armed police officers.

Photographers, reporters and camera crews clustered in the street as the van arrived at the brick Victorian town house near London's Hyde Park that Madonna, 48, shares with her husband and two children.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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