Update: New snag in Madonna and Guy Ritchie's adoption

08/27/2007 at 12:05 PM ET

Update: A Malawi court official chosen to assess Madonna’s adoption application said he will be visiting the singer and her husband, Guy Ritchie, next month at their home in the UK to determine if they are suitable parents for David Banda, 22 months, the young boy they hope to adopt.

Penstone Kilembe, who had been refused permission to travel to Britain, told Reuters,

There has been a change of mind by my government minister and she has allowed me to leave for the UK on September 4 and I am expected to spend two weeks.

Madonna recently faced criticism over the adoption after she gave the adoption official a plane ticket and expense money without approval of the Malawian government. The adoption official denied asking for the ticket.

Source: Reuters

Click below for the original post.

Update posted August 6th: Madonna’s rep released a statement saying that the Reuters report where this article originated is, in fact, untrue.

Theinformation regarding the adoption that was reported on Reuters issimply not accurate. The adoption process is going along very well andaccording to proper procedure.

Originally posted 12 pm: It appears that singer, Madonna, 48, and her husband Guy Ritchie, 38 have unfortunately hit another snag in their adoption of Malawian born David Banda,22 months. Malawi’s Child Welfare Services, which is responsible forevaluating the couple’s suitability, has already missed its firstscheduled visit to the couple’s London home.

The Minister of Women and Child Development Kate Kainja explained that the visit was not made due to Penstone Kilembe,the official that was appointed to the case and has provided testimonyon prior occasions, becoming too emotionally involved in the case. TheMinister said,

We have already contacted Madonna that someoneelse and not Kilembe will come to assess her, because we feel Mr.Kilembe personalized the whole issue when other people can go.

Penstone argued that this decision could put an end to the adoption process all together, saying,

What this means is that the whole adoption process may crumble and David sent back to his village.

Justin Dzonzi, a human rights lawyer who led a 65-memberrights group challenge to Madonna’s adoption, agreed that this couldput a halt to the adoption,

The Minister cannot change what the court set byhaving another person to do the assessment, the court will not listento anyone else apart from the one it appointed.

Madonna and Guy were granted custody of David in October 2006.

Source: CNN

Thanks to CBB reader Maya.


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Roger on

You know, I do understand and fully support the aim of the Malawi government to look at this case carefully and be sure that David’s best interests are truly at heart, and to not let the country appear to be bending over to accomodate anyone’s celebrity. But it seems especially cruel for there to even be the possibility that this little boy could now be taken from the family he has come to know and likely love. Yes, put more stringent guidelines in effect for the future and have a tough system of oversight, but do not cavalierly play with this baby’s life just to prove a political point.

Nicole on

Does anyone know if the Minister has any legal right to do anything at all? It would be sad if all this was over someone doing something they didn’t have the authority to.

Renee on

Why send him back? This whole thing is so wrong on so many levels. I believe in a fair adoption process but just the thought of David being sent back to that place bothers me.Why can’t everyone get together so that he can stay with this family.

a- on

i have to say i’m really disgusted by this whole thing. madonna may not be my most favorite celeb, but i think she is doing a really wonderful thing for a child who would have grown up in poverty and lived a very hard life.

i agree with the past posters and think this is really cruel of the Malwian govt to try to take him away and send him back. he’s going to be traumatized!

i think the the country isn’t doing anything good for themselves by being so difficult on this process. they aren’t trying to really take care of him. i think because madonna is a celeb that’s why they even really care to bring attention to their country and adoption.

as a mater of fact people are probably scared off at the process of adopting from their country if they have to go through all this nonsense!

be strong ritchie family! best of luck to you and i hope david will be able to stay with your family.


Tamara on

my goodness, poor child!!! i hope he is able to stay with his family, this is the family he knows, and im sure he is very happy and they treat him well. what a traumatic thing it would be to rip this poor baby away from his family!

Monica on

To have him comfortable in a secure loving home and then take him out of there is far more terrible then someone getting thru too easily thru the adoption process. I hope hope he isn’t taken from there.

tink1217 on

is it Madonna’s fault that the Malawi govt can’t send someone to check on him??? Give me a break! I hope they don’t take David away from her. I am sure he has grown attached to her and Guy and Lourdes and Rocco.

Autumn on

I agree with the previous posters who said that David could become tramatized by the situation, if he is sent back to his native country.

David Banda could become a cross between the “Jessica DeBoer* & Elian Gonzalez” cases, and be publicly torn from Madonna & Guy’s hands (Wouldn’t the paparazzi love that?) and they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

Still though, even US children who are placed in foster care because of unfit homes, at David’s age, must suffer dramatic partings with varying degrees of success. David will be able to survive, but whether or not being torn from his current family, or some other dramatic event in his future, has a lasting effect on his psyche remains to be seen.

(*On a side note, whether or not Jessica DeBoer-now-Anna Schmidt age 16, knows that she once was almost adopted by a upper middle class family who now would probably be sending her to a private HS in Ann Arbor and then planning to send her to their Ivy League alma maters in ’09 had the adoption not been contested, I do not know. I just hope she doesn’t have to become a teenage mother, thus starting the cycle again, but who knows?)

ekaterina on

WOW this is horrible for this wee boy-
What terrible press for international adoption –
to even talk of sending that wee boy back leaving his family is unthinkable-
i hope it works out

Kit on

Wow, I’m sure they love David as dearly as they do their other children and poor David is old enough to be deeply attached to his adoptive parents and siblings…I can’t imagine the pain of being removed the family (on BOTH sides, the parents the siblings and the child removed from the home)…this seems horribly cruel…this is one case in which I HOPE Madonna’s influence and money can help David…not that I would ever condone getting a child because of your money and influence…but this situation is horribly cruel to all involved.

Z on

Madonna’s rep exclusively tells 24Sizzler.com that a report from Reuters, via the Malawi News, in which Malawi’s Child Welfare Services director Penstone Kilembe says that the country’s minister for Women and Child Development has barred him from visiting Madonna’s adopted son David Banda in the U.K., is not true.

“The information regarding the adoption that was reported on Reuters is simply not accurate,” Madonna’s rep Liz Rosenberg tells 24Sizzler.com. “The adoption process is going along very well and according to proper procedure.”

Patty on

For the person who asked about Baby Jessica/Anna, apparently she is doing great. The Detroit Free Press did an article on her back in 2003 and spent some time with her. Anna Schmidt was said to adore her parents and her 9-year-old sister, makes friends easily and sings every Sunday before the congregation that once looked down its nose at her natural parents.

She said that she did not remember living with the DeBoers.

I was glad to read that because I was really worried about her when I saw her being taken back in 1991. I am happy to hear she survived all that.

Grayson's Girl on

I agree with all that’s been already said by the previous posters. I don’t think anyone, government or otherwise, should be using a child to make a political point. If they don’t like the way the adoption went then they should tighten up the laws and regulations for all others who come AFTER David. Bouncing him from home to home to make a point is ridiculous in my opinion, not to mention the lifestyle discrepancy. This isn’t the difference between upper class and middle class, the poor boy will be going from ridiculous excess to what I’ve seen to be abject poverty.

Tracy on

Ok, so I’m not a huge fan of the new Madonna, however this really makes me sad! That baby has already been through so much, this just doesn’t seem fair…

You would think that a Country would want what is BEST for the child, and not for selfish beliefs and rules!

I just hope that David can stay where he is able to get a proper education, and then he can go back to his Country and CHANGE everything for the better!

LA Shark on

Besides the fact that this report turns out to be not accurate, I highly doubt that Madonna is one to give up her child without a fight (as any other mother).

Jillian on

This latest “snag” is ridiculous. Madonna is trying to give this child a wonderful life with everything that he’ll ever want and need. Why would anyone take that away from him for some stupid inconsequential political statement? They believe it’s better for this child to grow up in poverty in order to make a specific political statement? Ridiculous.

In regards to the Jessica DeBoer case, she’s now living only with her biological mother because her bio parents got divorced several years ago. It doesn’t sound to be that stable a life for her now.

Sarita on

I thought Malawi was a poor country? Is this standard practice to send officials overseas to check on adopted children? Makes no sense to me, they should have determined this before the child left the country. Taking him back won’t be in anyone’s best interest.

denisse on

i really hope david can stay with his parents and siblings, this is his family and mayb not the perfect family but is better than malawian orphanage, why all the goverment always do this they put so many problems for an adoption can be completed some good family want to adopt a baby and give a better life and the goverment does this all the time

Cara Fletcher on

I admire Madonna because she’s doing everything necessary for her babies and is ready to adopt more children which is great because many kids need home and thisi so ne of the ways to help them.Madonna can serve as an example to the other people.

morgan on

I don’t know anything about Malawi or their adoption process but it seems ood practice to fly across the world to check up on a child. I really wonder if it has something to do with that fact she is a mega-star who has millions of dollars and lives in a mansion with paparazzi taking her picture at every turn. Do you think they would go visit Jonh and Jane Doe in Peoria and stay their fow 2 weeks? It really makes me wonder about the motives of this government.

preesi on

Malawi NEVER adopted out children to NON Malawians so is it any surprise that Madonna is now having issues?
She went to a country that NEVER before did foreign adoptions and adopted a boy who was NOT an orphan (the dad is now remarried) Didnt she think there’d be problems?

Miapocca on

Being very familair with Aafrican governmnets, I can only say that Madonna is a victim of corrupt goverment officialS. I do not see how the government will be involved in this at all….In Africa MONEY talks and thats what Aangleica Jolie has been doing

In this case all I see is a dragged on cse to make Madonna pay tons of money to whoever is pocketting the money nd its certianly not David’s biological father…they will go on and on like a Babby mama drama, uisng the child to squeeze as much as possible

Madonna should challenge the government in a British or a neutral court just to teach them a lesson that corruption should not even be tolerated especially in the case of adoptions

They are exploiting the Ritchie family’s bond with that child for MONEY

Disgraceful corrupt government officials..now i hope that gives you a insight into how JOlie is able to movie around in these developing countries, it is certainly not her charm, maddona is a lot more well known, its just the money she throws around to AID corruption…

I AM VERY CERTAIN THAT that official did ASK for the ticket from MADDONA…

Tiana on

This is horrible on so many levels. The most horrific is that those in charge and the general public seem to have let the most important fact about this entire issue become centered on public opinion and not the well being of a baby.

I truly believe that this is more about Madonna than the actual adoption process for Malawian babies. How many of the nay sayers even knew a David Banda existed prior to the time that his name was linked to Madonna.

So what if you don’t like her deal with it and seperate your dislike for her from what is best for this baby who was an orphan before she came along. It sends a very sad message about the state of human decency when people would rather shout, judge and ridicule about expidited procedures. Instead of focusing on the fact that there is one less child in need in this world.

Personally, I could take Madonna or leave her. I never really was a fan or a non-fan. But anyone who is willing and has the resources to open their hearts to a child should be respected for the effort, not publically punished.

For everyone who has something negative to say. I ask them. How many of them were even concerned about malawian children in orphanages? or How many consider the fact that the child was sick and needed medical attention which she enabled him to have?

People say she should’ve sent his father money to help support him. Even if she went that route he would still be in an impoverished country with limited resources. My prayer is that this all goes away soon and that this baby is allowed to stay in a home where he is loved and cared for. Not sent back to an orphanage or to a father who can’t support him.

I wonder how would everyone who is causing such a commotion feel then? Would they feel happy that they righted a perceived wrong with the results being an innocent baby that noone else tried to help be sent back to live in an orphanage. Would that allow them to sleep better at night knowing while their kids are safely in bed, with a family who loves them because they dislike this woman and what they consider expidited procedure;this baby is back in an orphanage.

People let it go and focus on whats really important this babay. I know I couldn’t have that on my conscience