Madonna's adoption confirmed
Madonna is set to adopt again, it has been confirmed.
The singer has renewed her bid to care for three-year-old Mercy James now that her marriage to Guy Ritchie is stronger and Malawian officials say she is "on the cusp" of completing the process.
Penstone Klembe, Malawi adoption minister, told Britain's The Sun newspaper: "Madonna's representatives have been visiting the girl. The adoption is now advanced — all the government is waiting for is Madonna to forward the petition of adoption formalities.
"Then Mercy will be able to leave the country for a new life."
According to friends, Madonna, 49, and Guy, 39 - who began the process to adopt David Banda from Malawi in 2006 before it finalised earlier this year - renewed their bid to adopt the toddler after working to save their marriage following rumours the singer was having an affair with sportsman Alex Rodriguez.
One friend said: "The adoption process in Malawi is so long and stressful that all the legal wrangling put a huge strain on their marriage.
"They dropped proceedings to pour all their energies into each other. But Madonna now feels they are stable enough to press ahead with the adoption again."
However, Mercy's family are said to oppose the adoption.
Her grandmother, Lucy Chekechiwa, 60, says she is "firmly against" Mercy being adopted outside of her home country.
She said: "We know that it is Mercy who Madonna really wants. We heard it is because my granddaughter is such a beautiful, happy child.
"Twice I have told the adoption people that I do not want Mercy to go outside the country.
"But they keep on at us. Now they say that Mercy will be leaving us, but can return at age 18. Yet I might not be alive then."
The couple's original bid last year was dropped after the girl's uncle, John Nglanade blocked the application.
As well as David, Madonna and Guy have an eight-year-old son, Rocco, and Madonna has an 11-year-old daughter, Lourdes, from a previous relationship.