Madonna and her children were on hand for the opening of Malawi’s first pediatric surgery, named after the pop star’s adopted daughter Mercy James.
The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care officially opened its doors Tuesday, and the 58-year-old singer recalled her emotional three-and-half-year journey to adopt her now-11-year-old daughter, Mercy, having previously adopted her son, David Banda, in 2006.
“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,” the Grammy-winning artist told the crowd at the Queen Central Hospital.
The “Like A Virgin” hitmaker also remembered being told she was “not fit to raise children” due to her recent divorce from director Guy Ritchie.
“I was granted permission to adopt David first. And some time 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,” Madonna stated.
Not only was Madonna’s separation from Ritchie an obstacle in her path, but under Malawian law, would-be parents are obligated to live in the country a year before adopting, but Madonna defied the rule, and hired a team of lawyers to help her in her efforts to adopt Mercy.
“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 continued.
After a hard-fought legal battle, Madonna finally won her case and was able to adopt Mercy in 2009.
“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,” she told the audience.
“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.”
Mercy, who was seen hugging her mother on stage, also gave a speech, where she talked about the honour of opening the new hospital.
“It is a great honour to know this hospital is named after me. What’s more important is that it will heal many kids and save many lives,” Mercy stated.
Madonna recently welcomed two new children, four-year-old twins Estere and Stelle, whom she also adopted from an orphanage in Malawi. She is also the biological mother of daughter Lourdes Leon (20), and son Rocco Ritchie (16).