Madonna leaves Malawi after judge grants adoption approval

Friday, October 13th 2006, 5:08 am
By: News On 6

LILONGWE, Malawi (AP) Madonna and her husband left Malawi Friday after gaining custody of a 1 year old boy they adopted during a weeklong tour of orphanages in this impoverished southern African nation.

The private plane departed for an undisclosed destination just before 2 a.m. after a three hour wait on the tarmac at Lilongwe airport. No reason was given for the delay.

Earlier a judge gave an interim order allowing Madonna to take the boy home with her.

The boy's father said he was happy for his son, named David, and pleased with the celebrity couple who want to be his parents.

``They are a lovely couple,'' said Yohame Banda, who met Madonna and her filmmaker husband in court as part of the formalities.

``She asked me many questions. She and her husband seem happy with David. I am happy for him. Madonna promised me that as the child grows she will bring him back to visit.''

Madonna has yet to comment publicly since her arrival in Malawi on October 4th, though she has made several public appearances in support of projects she supports here to care for AIDS orphans.

Malawi law does not allow for inter-country adoptions, and generally requires people who want to adopt to spend 18 months being evaluated by Malawian child welfare workers. Malawian officials had indicated earlier such restrictions would be waived for Madonna and Ritchie, but refused to elaborate Thursday.

Madonna and her filmmaker-husband have a son, Rocco, 5, and the singer also has a daughter, Lourdes, 9.