ADOPTION CHIC

Madonna Arrives in Malawi

Amid a storm of criticism, the Madonna machine has touched down in Malawi and is now camped out in a posh luxury lodge in the AIDS-ravaged, impoverished country, awaiting court procedures that will allow the star to add 4-year-old Mercy James to her clan. It is likely that Madonna, with the aid of a crack legal team, will achieve her objective and depart with a new sister for her Malawian son, David Banda. Early reports had said Mercy, the child Madonna had selected, was an orphan with no parents. Now relatives have come out of the woodwork. James' grandmother told tabloids, "It is stealing, I won't let her go." Also, Mercy's father is now said to be alive and has agreed to the adoption, along with other relatives. Adoption agencies have criticized the move, saying that taking an orphan from his or her home country should be the last resort. "The best place for a child is in his or her family in their home community," a spokesman for Save the Children said.