The Malawian judge rejected Madonna's petition to adopt a four year-old girl. The judge cited the residency requirement as the reason for his denial. All prospective adopting parents are expected to reside in Malawi for at least 18 months, but this requirement was waived when Madonna previously adopted a Malawian child.
It is possible that the judge felt pressured by many who protest Madonna's adoption plans. Activists claim that the girl is best kept with relatives. A group of human rights NGOs state that adoption by non-family members should always be a last resort. Many Malawian children become orphaned when all family is deceased, particularly due to high rates of AIDS. This girl's mother died two weeks after giving birth to her, but she does have some extended family members remaining.
Others complain that Madonna is bi-passing traditional adoption proceedings. And in the case of a second adoption, there is increased emphasis on the rules, due to a concern that a perceived ease of adoptions may contribute to the rampant problem of child trafficking.
Madonna can make an appeal to the court. She has attempted to respond to opposition by releasing a book this week called “I Am Because We Are,” which shows images of orphans and announces an online charity. All proceeds will go to her Malawian charity.