Madonna fought the law and the law bent under her material might.
Malawi's High Court on Friday approved the pop icon's petition to adopt 4-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James, despite the fact she hadn't fulfilled the country's 18-month residency requirement.
Reading from the three-judge panel's ruling, Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo said Madonna's interest in helping Malawi orphans—she founded Raising Malawi, a charity that helps feed, educate and provide medical care for them—should have been taken into account when the lower court made its decision.
"We find the judge in the lower court to have dwelled so much on media reports on the issue of residence, and to us this was not evidence enough to deny Madonna a chance to adopt Mercy James," Munlo said, according to Reuters. "We therefore grant Madonna the adoption order."
Despite the relative ease with which she acquired custody of now 3-year-old David Banda from the African country, in April a lower court rejected Madonna's application to adopt for the second time, perhaps not wanting to open the African nation to the accusations of favoritism and special treatment that plagued it in 2006.
She appealed the decision later that day.
"Madonna has shown that she is bold and compassionate enough to come forward to adopt Chifundo James," Munlo said.
Such a ruling cannot be changed.
"I am ecstatic...My family and I look forward to sharing our lives with her," the Material Mom said in a statement.
Of course, Madonna isn't Mercy's mom just yet. As was the case when she adopted David, Malawian officials will be checking in with the child for the next year before all is made official.
Ex-hubby Guy Ritchie, who three years ago was rumored to not really being onboard with the missus's decision to adopt David, offered up a ringing endorsement of her mothering skills back in April. He expressed his hope that she would ultimately be successful in her quest to adopt again.
"Madonna is a fantastic and loving mother who cares deeply about her own children and children who may need additional help and support…This time it did not work out, but there will be other opportunities, and I wish her well in them. She is a great mum," he said.
So assuming there are no qualms in the future about the quality of care Mercy is receiving (minus Madge's "no TV" rule), Madonna's brood now numbers four.
(Originally published June 14, 2009, at 4:09 a.m. PT)