Madonna Discusses Difficult Journey to Adopt Daughter Mercy

"I never gave up. And I never backed down."

By Annie Reuter

Madonna was present at the opening ceremony of Malawi’s first-ever pediatric surgery and intensive care center on Tuesday (July 11). The facility was been named The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, after her 11-year-old daughter, Mercy.

Related: Madonna to Open Surgery Center in Malawi

The superstar discussed the struggles she had adopting Mercy and the importance of following dreams regardless of the obstacles involved, reports People.

Madonna said she met Mercy shortly after she adopted her son David Banda in 2006. Mercy, who was living in a different orphanage, was suffering from malaria and Madonna promised to look after her.

“I was granted permission to adopt David first,” Madonna told the audience at the Queen Central Hospital. “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.”

Mercy was placed at Children’s Village after the death of her teenage mother, which gave Madonna even more incentive to continue fighting for her. In the end, she took her case to the Supreme Court, which was not a simple process.

“The adoption laws in Malawi had not been reformed since the early ’40s, and it had not occurred to anyone to change them yet. So my argument was that women have been raising children for centuries, on their own … not to mention the fact that I was doing just fine raising my own three children,” she said.

“I never gave up. And I never backed down,” she continued. “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 added.

She concluded her speech by telling those in attendance to “never, ever give up on your dreams. Never stop fighting for what you believe in. And finally: Love conquers all.”

The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care at the Queen Central Hospital was funded by Madonna’s charity, Raising Malawi.

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