After nearly a week of silence—but photo ops, passport stamps and statements from Malawi officials aplenty—Madonna has finally confirmed her reason for touching down in the African nation. And it's not just to model a $2,800 Chanel tracksuit through as many impoverished villages as she can.
It's to adopt Chifundo "Mercy" James.
"Madonna is committed to maintaining an ongoing relationship with David's Malawian roots," rep Liz Rosenberg said in a statement this morning.
"I am also officially confirming that Madonna has indeed filed an application to adopt Mercy James, a 3-year-old girl she met at an orphanage she visited two years ago on a previous trip to Malawi.
"Madonna is following all required procedures and is waiting for a judge to hopefully grant her an adoption by this Friday."
The 50-year-old star and her three children, 12-year-old Lourdes, 8-year-old Rocco and 3-year-old David (who was welcomed into the then-Ritchie home back in 2006 but whose adoption was completed only last year), arrived in Malawi on Sunday to help serve as the welcome wagon for their would-be sibling.
On Monday morning, Madonna attended her first court hearing in the adoption process, but after the hourlong, closed-door session, the judge adjourned the case pending a second hearing this Friday (when, it's quite possible, another delay may arise).
Afterwards, Madonna and David spent nearly three hours with a familiar face.
"Madonna and her son David visited with David's biological father, Yohanne Banda, yesterday in Malawi where Madonna reintroduced them for the first time since the adoption," Rosenberg said.
While several Malawi welfare officials stepped up late last week and over the weekend confirming—and, in some cases, condemning— that the Material Mama would be expanding her single-parent brood, today's statement marks Madonna's camp's first acknowledgment of the endeavor.
(Originally published on March 31, 2009 at 7:20 a.m. PT)