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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006, 05:25 GMT 06:25 UK
Father now backs Madonna adoption
Madonna with her children, Lourdes (left) and Rocco, and David Banda
Madonna said her children had welcomed young David
The father of a Malawian baby adopted by American singer Madonna has urged human rights groups challenging the adoption to leave the child alone.

Yohane Banda told the BBC he feared the controversy stirred by the groups could prompt Madonna to return the child.

Malawian rights groups have begun a legal challenge, accusing Madonna of bending the law to adopt the baby.

David Banda is now at Madonna's London home after a Malawi judge granted her a temporary custody order.

The Malawian activists say Madonna has used her wealth and prestige to sidestep a law requiring foreign adoptive parents to live in the country for 18 months.

Return fears

Yohane Banda had earlier told the AP news agency he would not have consented to the adoption if he had known it meant giving up his son.

He initially thought Madonna would just "educate and take care of our son".

If everybody went there, they'd want to bring one of those children home and give them a better life
Madonna

"I was never told that adoption means that David will no longer be my son - if I was told this, I would not have allowed the adoption."

However, he later told Time magazine he did not want to challenge the adoption.

"I don't want my child, who is already gone, to come back. I will be killing his future," he was quoted as saying.

He has now told the BBC he wants rights groups to leave the child alone, for fear that they may anger Madonna and prompt her to return the child.

He said he was unable to look after David.

First interview

Madonna has meanwhile said she is "disappointed" by media coverage of her bid to adopt the baby, saying it will discourage others from doing the same.

HAVE YOUR SAY
The best thing Madonna can do is ask the press to leave her alone
Jeremy, Druffield

"The media is doing a great disservice to all the orphans of Africa by turning it into such a negative thing," she said on Oprah Winfrey's chat show.

The pop star said her children had "embraced" the one-year-old's arrival.

The singer was giving her first public interview on the planned adoption that has created headlines around the world.

Interviewed via satellite from the UK, she said that she first spotted David in a documentary she is financing about Malawian orphans.

"I became transfixed by him," she said. "But I didn't yet know I was going to adopt him. I was just drawn to him."

When she subsequently met the child at a Malawi orphanage, she was told he had survived malaria and tuberculosis but still had severe pneumonia.

"I was in a state of panic, because I didn't want to leave him in the orphanage because I knew they didn't have medication to take care of him," Madonna said.

She told Winfrey that she gained permission to take the baby to a clinic, where he was given antibiotics.

She said she witnessed conditions in Malawi that were the equivalent of a "state of emergency".

"I think if everybody went there, they'd want to bring one of those children home with them and give them a better life."

The pop star funds six orphanages through her Raising Malawi charity and is setting up an orphanage for 4,000 children in a village outside the capital, Lilongwe.




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