A Malawi judge has approved Madonna's adoption of a Malawian boy she met in an orphanage in 2006. The 49-year-old pop star wasn't in court for Wednesday's ruling.
Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, have been caring for the boy, David Banda, in London. David turns 3 in November.
David's mother died when he was a month old. His father has said he believed he could not care for him alone, and that placing him in an orphanage was the best way to ensure David's survival. The father has said he didn't object to the adoption.
Critics have said Madonna used her celebrity status to circumvent Malawian adoption laws allegations she denies. Malawian law is fuzzy on foreign adoptions. Regulations only stipulate that prospective parents undergo an 18- to 24-month assessment period in Malawi, a rule that was bent when Madonna was allowed to take David to London.
Speaking to reporters last week at the Cannes Film Festival, Madonna said the criticism hurt.
''It was a big struggle, and I didn't understand it,'' she said. ''But in the end I rationalized that, when a woman has a child and goes through natural childbirth, she suffers an enormous amount.''
Madonna and Ritchie have a son, Rocco, 7, and Madonna has a daughter, Lourdes, 11.
Madonna met David while establishing charity projects in Malawi. She is funding her own and six other orphanages in the country.
Her Raising Malawi organization also announced that the singer is funding a multimillion-dollar academy for disadvantaged children in Malawi.
''I Am Because We Are,'' a new documentary that Madonna produced and narrated, shows poverty and disease devastating the lives of Malawi's children, and urges people to volunteer.
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