NEW YORK (AP) -- Madonna has confirmed her attempts to adopt a young Malawian girl and said through a spokeswoman that she is following standard procedures in adopting the child amid criticism by some that she was using her fame to quicken the process.
The 50-year-old pop superstar also confirmed she took her 3-year-old son David, also adopted from Malawi, to visit with his biological father Yohane Banda for the first time since she and David left the country in 2006.
"Madonna is committed to maintaining an ongoing relationship with David's Malawian roots," said Liz Rosenberg in a statement Tuesday morning.
Madonna arrived in the African nation this week with David, her 12-year-old daughter Lourdes and 8-year-old son Rocco, and has toured the country and also visited a day care center built by her charity. But she also came to the country in attempts to bring home another child from Malawi. In her statement, Madonna confirmed she is trying to adopt a girl named Chifundo "Mercy" James who is about 4 years old.
Malawian welfare official and another person involved in the proceedings had confirmed an adoption application was under way and spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is considered sensitive.
The girl's 18-year-old mother was unmarried and died soon after she gave birth, according to the child's uncle, John Ngalande. Her father is believed to be alive but has little contact with his daughter, he said.
A coalition of non-governmental organizations called Mwakusungula have criticized Madonna's adoption attempts, saying that adoption should be the last resort and that children need to be taken care of by their own family.
"Mercy James is a child who has her extended close family members alive and we urge Madonna to assist the child from right here," a statement from the coalition said.
But others have said that the adoption would give enormous opportunities to the child that she would be unable to achieve in the impoverished African nation.
Malawian law is fuzzy on foreign adoptions. Regulations stipulate only that prospective parents undergo an 18- to 24-month assessment period in Malawi, a rule bent when Madonna was allowed to take David to London.
Madonna first traveled to Malawi in 2006 while filming a documentary on the devastating poverty and AIDS crisis. Her Raising Malawi organization, founded in 2006, raises funds to provide food, shelter, education and health care for children.
Associated Press writer Celean Jacobson in Lilongwe, Malawi, contributed to this report.