Madonna wins adoption appeal

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A CONTROVERSIAL bid by the pop star Maddonna to adopt a second child from Malawi was approved today.

The pop star appealed after a lower court rejected her application to adopt Chifundo "Mercy" James, a four-year-old girl, in April.

The country's highest court announced its decision to allow the adoption.

Previously, a judge and a lawyer told reporters that Madonna, 50, did not meet a requirement that prospective parents must be resident in the country for 18 to 24 months.

The residency rule was waived in 2006 when Madonna was allowed to take her adopted son, David, to London before his adoption was finalised in 2008.

The Supreme Court of Appeal said that a lower court failed to take modern realities into account in initially rejecting Madonna's application to adopt the little girl.

Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo also said that Madonna's commitment to the welfare of disadvantaged children should have been taken into account.

She has two biological children, Lourdes, 12, and Rocco, aged eight.

Madonna has founded a charity, Raising Malawi, which helps feed, educate and provide medical care for some of Malawi's more than one million orphans, many of whom have lost their parents to Aids.

But welfare groups have expressed concern over the adoption plans.

Development agency Plan has said it could not condone "whisking a single child off to a fairytale lifestyle in Hollywood".

Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of international development charity EveryChild, previously said that high-profile adoptions sent out the wrong message and the focus should be on the work done to help vulnerable families stay together.

She said: "This may be less glamorous than international adoption by pop stars but it is the only viable solution to provide safe and secure homes for all of Africa's children."