"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," said the singer.
Being a mother is an emotion that words fail to describe, and not all mothers and children share a biological relationship. Pop icon Madonna is a mother to six children, four of whom she has adopted. The 62-year-old singer is mom to daughter Lourdes, 24, who she shares with personal trainer Carlos Leon, son Rocco, 20, with her ex-husband Guy Ritchie. She's adopted children David Banda, 16, Mercy James, 15, and twins Stella and Esther, 8.
Though they're one big happy family, the road to motherhood wasn't an easy one for Madonna. Adopting David in 2006 was easy, and the following year, she wanted to adopt Mercy James from Malawi. Mercy was placed at Children’s Village following the death of her teenage mother. Unfortunately for the Material Girl singer, the courts in Mercy's home country were not in favor of her adopting a child, given how she was in the midst of her divorce from her second husband Guy Ritchie.
But the singer was determined. “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 seven-time Grammy winner shared, according to PEOPLE. Malawi laws also require potential adopters to stay in the country for at least a year, which Madonna didn't do.
“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 recalled.
“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,” Madonna shared. “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.
The mother was just not willing to give up the fight. “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,” said the Vogue singer.
Madonna stuck to her words, and even though the adoption battle took three and a half years, she never once faltered and was finally able to call Mercy her daughter. “I fought for Mercy, and I won. It wasn’t easy... 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," said the singer.
In the years that followed, she also adopted two more children, and finally, in 2017, she went back to Mercy's country to start the first-ever pediatric surgery and intensive care center. She named it The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care. The center at the Queen Central Hospital was funded by Madonna’s charity, Raising Malawi, which she founded in 2006. All this was simply because she didn't want anyone to lose out on their shot at life because of an illness that couldn't be treated.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Jason Merritt