Madonna has already stated her case in the court of public opinion—thanks, Oprah—but she'll have to wait a bit longer to state her case in the courts of Malawi.
A preliminary hearing challenging the legality of Madonna's adoption of 13-month-old David Banda, set to take place today in the city of Lilongwe, has been postponed two weeks to allow the judge more time to hear from all involved parties.
It's the second time the hearing has been pushed back. A week ago, the judge delayed the proceedings to allow more time for government officials to prepare their case.
The legal proceedings stem from a petition filed by the Human Rights Consultative Committee, a group of 67 Malawi-based human rights groups that are making it their business to ensure the "Hung Up" singer and husband Guy Ritchie didn't receive any special treatment in the adoption process.
The HRCC has also petitioned the court to be named as a party in the case, so that the committee, along with the government-sanctioned social workers and the orphanage where David resided, will be allowed to assess the Ritchies' suitability as parents.
"The judge will continue hearing our application on November 13, because we are still looking for more 'sufficient interest' in the case," Justin Dzonzi, the chairman of the committee as well as the coalition's lawyer, told Reuters.
The postponement was made after Judge Andrew Nyirenda held a closed 90-minute hearing with Dzonzi and Alan Chinula, the Ritchies' Malawian lawyer, in which both sides submitted arguments as to why or why not the HRCC should be allowed to help monitor the family or review the adoption proceedings.
According to USA Today, Nyirenda decided to delay the hearing so that Attorney General Jane Ansah would have more time to consult with the Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services, the government body which approves all foreign adoptions.
For its part, and despite mounting evidence to the contrary, the HRCC insists it's not out to thwart Madonna's plans to become a three-time mother or to have David removed from her custody. Rather, the committee claims it's simply trying to hold the government accountable for adhering to national laws for foreign adoptive parents and to ensure all prospective caregivers have been held to the same exacting standards.
But there's the rub: The various factions have differences of opinion over what those standards are.
Per the HRCC, Malawi law requires would-be adopters to maintain residency in the country for at least 18 months, during which time they would be monitored by social workers and only then be granted full custody rights of a child. The HRCC maintains the laws discourage child traffickers or pedophiles from taking advantage of loopholes.
Backed by government officials, Madonna's camp has stressed that no laws were broken and while it may be common practive for would-be parents to stay in Malawi for 18 months, it is not law, and regardless, she will be held to the same standards as other prospective parents.
Two weeks ago, the Ritchies were granted an interim order allowing David to fly out of the country and join the family in the U.K. However, the Ritchies won't be granted full custody of the boy for another year and a half, after Malawi government-appointed social workers in Great Britain give their approval.
While none of the Ritchies were present at the Malawi court Friday, David's birth father, Yohane Banda, did appear.
He told reporters that he was appearing to protest the HRCC's protest of the adoption.
While earlier this week he claimed he was duped into allowing Madonna to adopt his son, claiming the concept of relinquishing full custody was never fully explained to him, he has since retracted that statement and is urging the Ritchies not to be disheartened by the "harassment" and return David to the orphanage.
He said the HRCC pressured him into making the earlier statement about his misunderstanding of the process.
"I am surprised what these guys are up to," he told reporters Friday. "Me and my family agreed with the adoption. I just want these people to leave my son alone."
Madonna is fighting back in her own way. On Wednesday she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to present her side of the story, proclaiming that the adoption controversy was manufactured by the media. According to the New York Post, the Oprah visit was the first in a full-on media blitz.
She's reportedly booked appearances on the Today show, Dateline NBC and Live with Regis & Kelly all next week.