May 5, 2009

Residency a key issue in Madonna appeal

Malawi's residency requirement was the key point argued in Madonna's appeal of a court's denial of her petition to adopt a little girl.

The recording artist, who is already the mother of two biological children and a son she previously adopted from Malawi, was told last month she could not adopt the girl, Mercy James, 4, because she didn't meet the southeast African nation's 18-month residency requirement. The judge said at the time that she feared ruling in Madonna's favor could potentially open the door for child trafficking.

Madonna did not attend Monday's court appeal, but CBS News reported the singer's lawyer continued to argue on her behalf that she should be allowed to adopt Mercy because the child would be better off than she would if she was raised in an orphanage in the impoverished country.

The panel could announce its decision in the next few days or weeks.

Madonna's lawyer also told CBS News he doesn't think the child's biological father, who only recently came forward to say he objects to the adoption, will have any impact on the court's decision because no new evidence is allowed to be introduced.

The singer attended the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala Monday night in New York.