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Madonna - pictured taking adopted son David to visit his former home in Malawi - has had her bid to adopt a second child from the African country declined. This means she cannot take custody of three-year-old Mercy James, or leave the country with her
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Judge rejects Madonna's bid to adopt second child from Malawi

3 APRIL 2009
A court in Malawi has ruled against Madonna's request to adopt a second child from the African republic.

The 50-year-old pop singer was not present during a closed-door hearing on Friday, which culminated in judge Esmie Chondo ruling: "I must have to decline to grant the application to Madonna."

This means the singer cannot take custody of three-year-old Mercy James, or leave the country with her, usually the first formal step to granting a full adoption.

According to reports, Madonna's application has apparently been rejected over residency rules, which requires potential parents to live in Malawi for 18 to 24 months. It's not known whether she will appeal against the ruling.

The rule was waived in 2006, when the Material Girl adopted David Banda from the same orphanage now housing Mercy and was allowed to return with him to her London home. There he joined big sister Lourdes and brother Rocco, Madonna's son with ex-husband Guy Ritchie.

Following her arrival in the southern African state on Sunday, the Material Girl applied to adopt Chifundo James – translated in English as Mercy – on Monday.

Court papers, which have just been released, include a statement by the singer saying she was "able and willing to securely provide for Chifundo James and make her a permanent and established member of my family."


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