Malawi father drops fight to stop Madonna adoption

BLANTYRE (Reuters) - The father of a Malawian girl being adopted by Madonna says he has dropped his fight to get the child back and has urged the U.S. pop star to take good care of her.

Malawi’s Supreme Court on Friday approved Madonna’s application to adopt a second child from the country, overturning a lower court ruling.

James Kambewa, the father of 4-year-old Mercy James, originally said he opposed the adoption.

However, he told Reuters on Saturday he had decided not to fight the case, asking only that Mercy be brought up knowing he was her biological father.

“Let the child go ... My only plea to Madonna is that she should seriously look after the child,” he said in an interview.

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“I am asking Madonna to make sure that, while the child is growing, she must be informed of me as her biological father ... she really must know that while she is far away the father is still alive.”

A Malawian court ruled in April that Madonna could not adopt Mercy because she was not a resident of the southern African country.

The Supreme Court overturned that decision, saying the child, who has been living in an orphanage, would have a better life with the singer. She never lived with Kambewa.

“When the child was born I was never told,” he said.

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Rights groups have accused the government of giving Madonna special treatment by skirting laws preventing non-residents from adopting children.

The government came under fire in 2006 after Madonna, who has supported orphans in the country through her Raising Malawi charity, adopted 13-month-old David Banda.

Officials at the charity said Mercy was expected to be flown out of Malawi this week.

Additional reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by Andrew Dobbie