Madonna talks about David's adoption

04/26/2008 at 11:45 AM ET
Madonna_91901308cbbjpgJust because Madonna is an international superstar doesn’t mean she’s had any special treatment while trying to adopt David Banda, 2 ½. She told The Today show,
I have been fingerprinted about 20 times and undergone psychological evaluations.I’ve been visited every six weeks by social workers who make sure that you’re being a good parent and that David’s health is thriving and who ask you all kinds of invasive questions.
We have not even been granted the full adoption — it’s supposed to be happening in the next month — so I’ve been a foster parent for 18 months.
The 49-year-old described the whole process as "just too difficult — too traumatic," adding,
I don’t see how anybody who really understands how complicated it is to adopt a child could say that someone chose to do that as a fad.
Madonna is also mum to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, 11 ½, her daughter with personal trainer turned actor Carlos Leon, 41, and Rocco John Ritchie, 7 ½, her son with husband Guy Richie, 39. 

Source: The Mirror; Photo by Splash News.

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Gabrielle on

As a side note, Madonna looks absolutely gorgeous without make-up on.

And as a main point, I’m really glad she pointed out that yes, there are a lot of celebrities adopting internationally, but… it’s not a *fad*, because it IS so difficult. I’ve watched people I know adopt and actually have the child switched. They go to pick up the child they thought was theres, and… Surprise. It’s a different child. And the adoption was canceled and they were out the fees up to that point and air plane tickets… It was devastating and difficult.

Renee on

Gabrielle, I had no idea adoption agencies could do that.Thanks for the information. I hope Madonna and Guy finally get their adoption finalized soon.


The issue i see with the whole Madonna adoption was that she adopted a child from a country that has NO adoption laws in place. What i want to know is why didnt she adopt from a country that had adoption rules? She went in there and made her own rules IMO. Adoption is a wonderful thing and I actually work for an adoption agency that specializes in international adoptions but what she did was wrong. David looks wonderful and i’m happy he’s no longer in an orphanage but i really hope she doesnt bend the rules again when trying to adopt another child.

Kitty on

Well said Faith !

chris on

It’s great the she adopted a child but she does come off as I don’t know….like she thought it would be a piece of cake? Her comments seem whiny. I hope she didn’t assume that with her fame, money and connections that she’d be able to just go adopt a child from another country just like that. If it was difficult for Madonna, think about how hard it must be for people with fewer (financial) resources. Like I said, good for her for giving David a stable and loving home. I hope it all works out.

Allison on

As an adoptive parent myself (of an international child), I went into the process not fully realizing how exhausting, time-consuming, invasive and emotionally draining it could be.

I don’t think Madonna is coming off like she expected it to be different just because she is a celebrity – I’m not a celebrity (just a regular person!) and had no idea how hard the international adoption process can be. I think this is all she is saying.

As for my experiences, my little girl from China was 15 months when we adopted her. We were told she was healthy and on-target for all her developmental milestones. When we finally got to see her in person, she was developmentally on the level of a 5 month old, could not walk, feed herself, talk or even roll over. She was extremely malnourished, dehydrated, and had about 5 differenty types of infections. She required close to a year of daily therapies to come around.

Three years later, I’m pleased to say my daughter is a healthy, happy, and bright girl, on target with her development. I should note, my experience occured in China, which tends to be the easiest country to adopt from. My story is not unusual. Couples that adopted with us from China had babies “switched” on them; had been told the child was well, when they has serious illnesses, such as active tuberculosis, etc.

I love my daughter and I would do it all over again in a hearbeat, but I would caution prospective adoptive parents (esp. of international adoptions) to prepare themselves for a long, drawn out process, and they may not be getting the “perfect” child that is promised to them.

jasmine on

Well it makes sense that it’d be difficult to adopt…you’re adopting a human being to be cared for…you have a lot to prove in order to make sure you’re up for the job.

Sasha on

I agree Chis and Faith. Madonna has to realize every adopting parent goes through the same thing. The thing about this adoption is that she went against the rules. Malawi from what I read does NOT allow out of country adoptions, just like almost EVERY country in Africa;but she adopted anyway. She should of done what Angelina and Brad did go to Ethiopia where out of country adoptions are legal.

She has to realize the average adoption takes 2-3 years, so I don’t understand why she is complaining.

Suge on

I don’t think any of us should should judge Madonna (or Angelina Jolie for that matter) until we have gone to one of these countries and see hundreds and hundreds of children without healthcare, without proper nutrition, without familial love. People sniping about how Madonna wanted her own rules seem to ignore what must have been such an emotional experience. She wanted to save this child – she wanted to save all of them.

melanie on

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being the first person to do something. We would be in the dark ages if everyone played it safe. Madonna is a trailblazer.

Renee on

I agree Suge. Why complain about it now? It’s like people would rather David still be in an orphanage. I doubt Madonna thought she was going to get special treatment because she was a celebrity. Some people act like they are experts on celebrities and all of them in their opinion are selfish parents. Also, Madonna doesn’t owe any of us an explanation. It’s her family, not ours.If a celebrity mentions something they find stressful, they are whining but when regular mothers say something it’s okay? I also doubt the people who are complaining would say anything to Madonna’s face. Why attack her? Do all of you who are upset with her want David’s country to take him away from the family?

Sasha on

Rules are rules and they should be respected.

Kitty on

None of us want to see ANY kids in orphanages. That’s not our point. Our point it, there is a right way and wrong way to do things. There are MANY orphaned children in MANY countries who need homes. And those countries have adoption rules.

chris on

Let me just say that I’m a Madonna fan and reiterate that I think she’s doing a GOOD thing by giving a child a loving home. But she made the choice to adopt a child from Malawi and there are rules that she must follow. I’m sure it’s emotionally draining and difficult but people should respect other other countries’ rules. These countries have their own reasons for not wanting outsiders adopting children from their home country. I Her statement is, at best, naive to think it WOULDN’T be difficult to adopt David. But kudos to Madonna for following her heart.

Duckie on

I don’t think it’s really fair to fault Madonna and Guy for deciding to adopt from Malawi. True, they could have chosen a different country, but then again, so could ANY adoptive parent. And saying that, I think, really minimizes some of the feelings parents have when adopting a baby. What I mean by that is sometimes parents know exactly what country their baby will come from. There’s just… a connection between the parent and that nation. Madonna could have adopted from the US or England or anywhere else. But maybe she just knew her son was in Malawi and decided, no matter how hard, this was something she had to do.

And to that end, I don’t see her “complaining” about the process. I see a woman ready for the law to recognize what she feels in her heart: that David IS her son. I doubt she thought this was going to be easy. But perhaps she didn’t realize just how emotionally difficult it would be to have this child in her care all this time and STILL not be recognized as his mother.

sheba on

Madonna shouldn’t have adopted from a country because they didn’t have adoption rules? That’s the dumbest assessment ever. And this from a person who works for an adoption agency? Disturbing. And to compare her adoption to Angelina’s or anyone else’s adoption process is as equally stupid, as if Angelina “did the right thing” and Madonna did something wrong? Madonna did nothing wrong. And while she has a great deal of money and fame she has no political power nor does she have any influence over a sovereign nation even one that is as poverty ridden as Malawi. If anyone is at fault it is the government of Malawi. Madonna could have backed out of this chaotic adoption at any time and I’m SURE everyone would have been calling her an awful person. But she stuck it out and maybe because of her precedent Malawi will put in an adoption procedure that makes sense.

What I find striking is how many people on this board would rather see a child grow up in poverty because Madonna didn’t go to the “right country” or her adoption wasn’t text book perfect like Angelina. I say Madonna is fighting the good fight and maybe she will pave the way for other orphaned Malawi children to be placed in healthy, happy, loving homes.

Madonna is a very public figure, pretty much most of her life is an open book. One thing she ain’t is a whiner. She has every right to feel and vent her frustration over they way David’s adoption when down.

Julia A on

I don’t think Madonna wanted to bend the rules on purpose. She adopted from Malawi because she was starting to do charity work there. She saw the children there and felt a connection. I’m not saying this is necessarily the right way to go about the adoption process, but it’s certainly understandable if we look at it from her viewpoint.

Ellen on

Good for Madonna. She doesn’t sound whiny to me, she sounds like she is just putting to rest rumors that she’s being treated differently from everyone else, and just expressing how the process has been for her. I guess the “perfect” police are out today…as usual.

As for where she adopted…I believe she was already involved with projects there, and her heart called her to adopt from there. I wouldn’t fault that she wanted to save a child from there…Malawi has 2 million orphaned children…..2 million orphaned children w/no adoption laws! So people who could help these children….aren’t able to. If anything, Madonna has raised attention to that area, the plight of the children, and possibly forced Malawi child officials to consider how they will take care of these children, and how they will respond to those who want to help. And you people balk at rule-breaking….instead of celebrating a child making it out of an orphanage. Truly sad.

Renee on

Sheba I agree. I think you said what I couldn’t and did it well 🙂

Sasha on

WoW! I guess you ladies were no taught to follow rules when growing up. So much attitude is not called for.

Renee on

Sasha, you have never heard the saying that sometimes rules need to be broken. Sometimes it’s true. I’m so glad earlier women didn’t follow the rules when it came to fighting for the right to vote for example

emmalee on

“Madonna shouldn’t have adopted from a country because they didn’t have adoption rules?”

I think posters just meant that she shouldn’t have been surprised by the complexity of the process, especially when rules are unclear.

“What I find striking is how many people on this board would rather see a child grow up in poverty because Madonna didn’t go to the “right country””
I haven’t seen anyone say that they would have preferred a child grow up in poverty. Don’t twist people’s words.

Jeanette on

I agree Renee, Ellen, Sheba. And Sasha, I don’t think people were giving you attitude. My opinion is that trying to adopt in a country that doesn’t have a procedure in place to do so isn’t breaking rules. It’s not as though she went into a country that says, say, you must wait x amount of time to adopt, and she said, too bad, I’m not doing it. It’s not as though she went into a country where there was a law that no international adoptions were allowed and said, too bad. Forging new rules or fighting for change is not “rule breaking.” I agree that giving a child a home is worth fighting for and good for her for doing so, even if she did go about it in a different way than others. I also don’t think her comments were whiny or indicative of an expectation of special treatment. She merely was expressing her opinion, something we all get to do on here fairly freely. She’s gotten a lot of crap for this adoption that she was doing it as a fad and has perhaps heard of others talking about celebrities in general doing this as a fad, and she is responding to that and saying – do you know how tough it is to adopt? Whether you adopt in Malawai or elsewhere internationally (or domestically), it is a challenging process. She’s saying, give me a break, I am not changing my life and going through these steps and these emotions to be hip, I’m doing this to bring someone into our family.

Hilda on

Why would any one fault Madonna and compare her to Angelina? Didn’t Angelina adopt Maddox in the most dubious means? I am not faulting her but to me all that matters is the child is saved from afate worse than death. I know this comes off as though she is whining but I think she is just sharing an experience. She was naive to think it would be easier, granted but we all learn from experience.

Agencies have to also be careful because there are too many molesters out there who could adopt a child and harm them.

(a different) Sasha on

Renee, I agree. But I can see Sasha’s point – Madonna does have formidable resources and obviously a certain amount of cojones to bend the ‘rules’ and that can be uncomfortable for women to see other women doing sometimes.

gargoylegurl on

I have to agree…Madonna has caught so much unfair “flak” for adopting David. I think her heart was and always has been in the right place. She fell in love with David and wanted to adopt him despite the fact that he was born in a country with no adoption laws to speak of.

Angelina has said she felt a connection with her children. She wanted to take them all, but the actual children she adopted – she felt something very special – they were meant to be hers.

Sure, Madonna could have adopted from Ethiopia or somewhere with “proper” adoption laws, but there was something about David. Should she of turned her back on him because he was born in Malawi? I’m glad she has done this, even if people criticize her, she followed her heart. She has done a wonderful thing and hopefully, along the way, she may have set in motion the opportunity for other Malawian orphans to find families of their own.

Debbie on

No matter how prepared you are for the adoption there is always a curve ball thrown at you. We adopted a foster child from right here in the US and the whole process took three years with, just like Madonna stated finger printing, tests, training (never mind that we already were parents) etc. And what I hated the most but took it in stride were those monthly invasive visits. It was a very exhausting and traumatic journey and there were many times when my husband and I who never had fights before were even considering seperating. (It’s not uncommon for adoptive parents to seperate afer the adoption and I know why).
I’m not a fan of Madonna but I respect what she is going through.

Sarah on

If the average person like you or me went to Malawi on a mission trip and fell in love with a child we would NOT have been allowed to adopt that child. Madonna used her celebrity and wealth to adopt a child from a place that had NO adoption laws in place and now she’s going to whine that it was sooo hard?! GIVE ME A BREAK!


For all you people who give kudos to Madonna for basically making her own rules and doing what she wanted– YOU need to understand one thing..ADOPTION IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT. Its not your RIGHT to walk into another country and demand to take one of their children.

jaQ on

good for madge, defending herself, and her beautiful, selfless choice to adopt a lovely, needy young man into her life and family. it warms my heart, and i can’t imagine that any celebrity (or family, period) would take “fads” or trends into consideration, when making the decision to add to their family via adoption.
if i could afford to adopt or foster children, now, or in the future, i would hepl as many as i could. i have so much love to give, but i think it would be best for me to stick with my two babies, for personal reasons. 😦 still, i fantasize~ someday, for adoption, and especially surrogacy.
what an amazingly wondeful gift to david, and to the world~ making it a better place for one more precious baby boy. i hope all of the loose ends tie themselves up, and that david is soon named an offial, permanent part of the ciccone/richie clan. 🙂

Astrid on

So Madonna can hardly believe that she’s been asked “invasive questions”, been fingerprinted and had psych evaluations? She’s adopting a human being, not a puppy. She sounds to me like she’s surprised she had to go through such a routine, like the ‘normal’ people have to do.

Renee on

Astrid, you sound you didn’t read the previous comments.I think even normal people would be surprised at how much detail and work actually goes into adoption. She probably knew it would take a lot of work and I think it’s unfair that people are attacking her. Visiting this site, I learned just how difficult the adoption process is. The media makes it sound like it’s way more simple than it is even and I don’t know too many people who have or can afford to adopt. I hear people talking about that they didn’t even know adoption was so expensive in my classes when adoption is discussed. Also, did it occur to you that maybe Madonna was letting other people know that the adoption process isn’t a piece of cake?

CelebBabyLover on

Jeanette and Renee- I couldn’t have said it better myself! Also, to the people comparing Madonna to Angelina, I do want to point out that at least two of Angelina’s adoptions have come under scrunity as well. When she first adopted Zahara, some tabloid reported that Z’s biological mother was actually still alive, and therefore Angie had adopted her illegaly (if either of the birth parents is alive, they must give consent for their child to be adopted, and they must relinquish their parental rights).

Then, just a few months ago, InTouch (along with, I think, a few other tabloids) reported that Z’s biological mom was still alive…and that she and Z’s biological grandmother wanted her back! As it turned out, the whole thing was false (it was eventually confirmed that Z’s bio mom is indeed dead, and Angie’s adoption of her was legal and binding.).

When Angie adopted Pax, rumors began flying that she was getting special treatment, mainly that she had gotten them to speed up the process (in reality, the entire process took almost a year. A rep for Brad and Angie confirmed that they began the adoption paper work shortly after Shiloh’s birth in 2006, and Pax, as we all know, was adopted in April 2007). There were also numerous complaints that she shouldn’t have adopted another child so soon after Shiloh’s birth.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that Angie has also been accused of not having text-book perfect adoptions.

Car on

Because of the ‘no adoptions’ law in Malawi and the huge amounts of money Madonna was investing in orphanages there, it gave the impression (rightly or wrongly) her little boy was ‘bought’. I think that is what the outcry was about. The two things hand-in-hand appeared very unsavoury.

However,anyone who has been involved in International adoptions knows very well the huge amounts of money that goes into the pockets of the facilators/lawyers/agencies etc.

I remember media reports ran a story that at the same time as Madonna’s adoption, there was a missionary family living in Malawi trying to adopt an orphan child they had been caring for since birth, they had been trying for more than three or four years and had gotten nowhere. They felt that Madonna did get very special treatment. Hopefully they have since been able to adopt their child, I would love to read a follow up to their story.

Renee on

Car ,you bring up a good point. It sounds like to me that they should be more upset with the Malwai than Madonna.I hope that couple got the child they wanted to adopt but it seems to me that Madonna isn’t having an easy time with it either.Hopefully,all of this may open Malwai’s eyes to allowing international adoption. Plenty of people would be happy and willing to give these children homes and families.