Madonna Deemed 'Unfit Mother' When Trying To Adopt A Child In 2009

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Alexandra Lozovschi

Queen of Pop to the rest of the world, Madonna goes by the name of mom to six people. The 63-year-old star has two biological children -- Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, 25, and Rocco Ritchie, 21 -- and four adoptive ones: David Banda, 16, Mercy James, 15, and twins Estere and Stelle Ciccone, 9.

While Madge isn't the only celebrity to turn to adoption, it wasn't smooth sailing for the pop icon as she strived to expand her family following birth complications due to placenta praevia. In her case, it was precisely her celebrity status that posed the most hurdles, with a Malawi judge even deeming her an "unfit mother" when she went through the process back in 2009.

The "Material Girl" hitmaker, who often shares endearing snaps of her brood on Instagram, opened up about her adoption struggles in a compelling essay for Harper's Bazaar. Keep reading for the full story.

Facing Criticism

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When Madonna decided to adopt her first Malawian child in 2006, she went into it with an open heart.

“I decided that I had an embarrassment of riches and that there were too many children in the world without parents or families to love them,” she wrote in her 2013 essay for Harper's Bazaar.

The superstar, who shares daughter Lourdes with personal trainer Carlos Leon and son Rocco with ex-husband Guy Ritchie, detailed she applied to an international adoption agency and "went through all the bureaucracy, testing, and waiting" as everyone else signing up for the process.

However, the singer and actress faced heavy criticism when she adopted her son David, describing the backlash as "a real low point in my life" in the candid article.

“I could get my head around people giving me a hard time for simulating masturbation onstage or publishing my Sex book, even kissing Britney Spears at an awards show, but trying to save a child’s life was not something I thought I would be punished for,” she wrote. “In any case, I got through it. I survived.”

Adoption 'S**t Storm'

Madonna, who met David at an orphanage in Mchinji when he was barely one year old, recounted all the stumbling blocks she had to overcome before she could finally take her new son home.

“I didn’t know that trying to adopt a child was going to land me in another s**t storm. But it did,” she shared. “I was accused of kidnapping, child trafficking, using my celebrity muscle to jump ahead in the line, bribing government officials, witchcraft, you name it. Certainly, I had done something illegal!”

Not Allowed To Adopt Because She Was Divorced

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Things weren't any easier the second time around, with Madonna facing a major roadblock in the Malawian legal system when she applied to adopt Mercy in 2009.

“When I adopted Mercy James, I put my armor on,” the pop icon, who confessed her first adoption was "an eye-opening experience," said in her essay. “I tried to be more prepared. I braced myself.”

The star went to great lengths to be united with her new daughter and saw her first application in May that year get rejected by the Malawian High Court. While it was reported that the adoption fell through because she wasn't a resident in the country, Madge revealed wasn't allowed to adopt because she was divorced.

'Unfit Mother'

Determined to bring Mercy home, Madonna fought the country's legal system, re-appealing later that summer. The star, whom the Supreme Court of Malawi eventually granted the right to adopt the little girl on June 12, 2009, detailed the obstacles in her path before the adoption was finalized.

“This time, I was accused by a female Malawian judge that because I was divorced, I was an unfit mother,” she said. “I fought the supreme court, and I won. It took almost another year and many lawyers. I still got the s**t kicked out of me, but it didn’t hurt as much. And looking back, I do not regret one moment of the fight.”

Despite the many tribulations, her family is now a tight-knit bunch who relishes every moment spent together. As for Madonna, she's walked away with a valuable lesson.

“One of the many things I learned from all of this: if you aren’t willing to fight for what you believe in, then don’t even enter the ring,” wrote the megastar.

Her twin daughters Estere and Stelle were also adopted from Malawi.