African News

Madonna’s adoption move backfires

26 October 2006 at 00:35 | 635 views

By Abu B. Shaw, Vanguard London Bureau Chief

Madonna adopted an African child a few weeks ago but many people across the world have opposed the Queen of Pop’s adoption of the 13-month old boy from Malawi. But the criticism that really stood out to chill Madonna was the controversial views from the child’s father himself.

Speaking from the African state of Malawi on Sunday, October 22, 2006, the impoverished dad, Yohane Banda, who earns less than one US dollar a day, expressed his anguish on the fact that Madonna, worth nearly £ 250 million, could not tell him the whole truth about her plans surrounding the adoption of his son.

“I never said she could adopt my baby boy. Madonna told me she would help my son have a decent life and after a certain period my son would return to Malawi. That’s the way I understood the arrangement. I did not give approval for a permanent adoption,” Mr. Banda told a TV station in Malawi, the 3rd poorest country in the world.

Yohane Banda, who was initially happy for Madonna when she met young David in an orphanage in Malawi during a visit, said he did not understand the the text of the legal documents he signed. “I cannot read or write so I relied on what government officials told me. They said Madonna would look after my child the way the orphanage planned to educate him - then he comes back to me,” Banda said.

The 31-year-old African father said he always believed his son would remain his son. He said he sees no reason why his son should be given away forever. The angry dad finally vowed that his son, David Banda, will return to Africa.

But Madonna, 48,told the press, near her £ 5.6 million luxurious six-storey home near Marble Arch in London, that the father of David Banda had given her his blessing. Madonna’s lawyer in Malawi, Alan Chinula, said his client together with her film director British husband Guy Ritchie, 38, had followed the proper adoption procedures in the capital Lilongwe.

Yohane Banda’s claim has inevitably added fuel to the many child charities worldwide who opposed Madonna’s fast-tracked adoption attitude. Charities accused Madonna of using her wealth and fame to sidestep adoption rules. One fundamental rule of adoption is for the adoptive parents to stay 18 months in the country of the one being adopted. But Madonna did not stay that long in Malawi as required by law, the child charities say.

In the UK, adoption authorities, who are equally viewing this development with an eagle’s eyes, will take the claims of father Banda very seriously that he did not understand what the singer intended. Several charities in Malawi went to court to stop Madonna but the singer paid deaf ears’ and sent a special jet to airlift young David to London.

The orphanage in Malawi where young David was adopted is caring for 500 children. Now, they fear that this controversy will make the orphanage to suffer financially as donors may withdraw their support.

An official of the Malawi Orphan Fund, Martin Lowdon said giving one child a chance for adoption doesn’t solve the problem of the other 999,000 orphans who need families.

Young David Banda, who was flown to London on Tuesday, October 17, 2006, to meet Madonna and her two biological children (Lourdes, 9, and Rocco, 6), has already been christened David Ritchie. The African child was put in an orphanage by his poor father because he could not afford to bring him up. David’s biological mother, Marita, died of fever a week after his birth.