In a lengthy ruling, Judge Esme Chombo sided with critics who have said exceptions should not be made for pop superstar, who has set up a major development project for this impoverished, AIDS-stricken southern African country.
Noting that Madonna had last visited Malawi in 2008, the judge said the pop star “jetted into the country during the weekend just days prior to the hearing of this application.”
“In my opinion, this would completely remove (Madonna) from the definition of ‘resident,”’ the judge said.
Malawi requires prospective parents to live in the country for 18 to 24 months while child welfare authorities assess their suitability — a rule that was bent when Madonna was allowed to take her now 3-year-old son David to London in 2006 before his adoption was finalized two years later. Madonna has two other children, Lourdes, 12, and Rocco, 8.
Chombo said other foreigners have adopted in Malawi, but Madonna’s was the only case in which residency was waived, and she indicated concern that doing so again could set a precedent that might jeopardize children.
“It is necessary that we look beyond the petitioner ... and consider the consequences of opening the doors too wide,” the judge said. “By removing the very safeguard that is supposed to protect our children, the courts ... could actually facilitate trafficking of children by some unscrupulous individuals.”
Madonna's attorney has filed notice of appeal.