When the pop icon was trying to adopt her first daughter, she was met with unreasonable backlash.
Madonna is known as the Queen of Pop but there were struggles in her life that made her who she is and gave her the courage to fight for things important to her. Like the time she traveled to Malawi to adopt her two children, David Banda and Mercy James, according to PEOPLE. In 2017, she opened Malawai's first-ever pediatric surgery and intensive care center, which she named Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, after her now-16-year-old daughter.
At the opening ceremony, she recounted her experience of adopting David and Mercy. "I met Mercy soon after I met my son David, but they were living in different orphanages. David was in Mchinji in Home of Hope, and Mercy was here in Blantyre at Kondanani. Mercy was suffering from malaria, and David from pneumonia. And when I held each of them in my arms, I whispered in their ears, that I would look after them. And I promised them that they would grow up into strong and healthy adults," Madonna told the audience at the Queen Central Hospital.
She noted that there were problems with this process. "I was granted permission to adopt David first. And sometime later, I filed a petition to adopt Mercy. But this time, the judge who was presiding said no. I was recently divorced, and she informed me, as a divorced woman, I was not fit to raise children and that Mercy James was better off growing up in an orphanage," the singer shared. This adoption process caused mass outrage. Malawian law requires adoptees to live in the country for one year before adopting, which Madonna did not do. At the time, she was still in the middle of a divorce from Guy Ritchie, citing irreconcilable differences. Mercy was placed at Children’s Village following the death of her teenage mother.
"If you know me, you can imagine how I received this information. It’s true, I am a freedom fighter. I am a feminist. I am a rebel heart. But I am also a compassionate and intelligent human being. And if you cannot give me a logical reason for the word ‘no,’ then I will not accept the word ‘no.’ I hired a team of lawyers, and I took my case to the supreme court, and it was not an easy battle," she explained in her speech. "The adoption laws in Malawi had not been reformed since the early ’40s, and it had not occurred to anyone to change them yet. So my argument was that women have been raising children for centuries, on their own … not to mention the fact that I was doing just fine raising my own three children," she said.
While David's adoption process was relatively smooth, the Grammy winner got a lot more pushback on Mercy's adoption. "I never gave up. And I never backed down. And I believe that if you want something badly enough in life, the universe will conspire to help you get it. It may not be exactly when you want it, it may not come exactly when you think it’s gonna come. It may not come in the package that you want it. But if you persevere, you will win," the entertainer emphasized. She concluded by saying, "I fought for Mercy, and I won. It wasn’t easy. And with the blood, sweat, and tears of so many people here today, we fought for this hospital — and we won. So I’m here to say: never, ever give up on your dreams. Never stop fighting for what you believe in. And finally: Love conquers all."
Cover Images Source: (L) Getty Images | Angela Weiss; (R) Getty Images | Michelly Rall