Madonna Wins Adoption Appeal in Malawi

UPDATED 06/12/2009 at 10:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/12/2009 at 06:10 AM EDT

Madonna Wins Adoption Appeal in Malawi



Madonna's family has just gotten bigger, now that the pop star has legally won the right to adopt a daughter from Malawi.

"I am extremely grateful for the Supreme Court's ruling on my application to adopt Mercy James. I am ecstatic ... My family and I look forward to sharing our lives with her," Madonna said in a statement through her spokesperson Friday.

Preparations are already underway to bring Chifundo "Mercy" James, 3, from the African country to America private jet, after the singer stayed up throughout the night hoping for a courtroom victory.

"It's the early hours in New York now but my client has been awake all night waiting for this," Madonna's Malawi lawyer, Alan Chinula, tells PEOPLE. The attorney spoke to his client as soon as the ruling was made official, at around 2 a.m. her time Friday. "She was ecstatic when I broke the news to her. She said, 'Thank heavens.' "

Chinula says he is "now awaiting instructions from New York to start preparing travel arrangements for Mercy. I have to be there for her passports and everything."

It is likely to take three to five days before the paperwork is ready and the child is able to leave and join fellow adoptee David, also 3. He was formally adopted in 2008 after some controversy and legal challenges.

Private Jet Arranged

Madonna, 50, is not expected to fly out to Africa from New York, but Philippe Van Der Bossche, director of her Raising Malawi charity, has been asked to arrange a private jet as soon as possible.

It is believed that Mercy may, in the short term, be moved to the Kumbali lodge where Madonna stays when she is Malawi.

The ruling – by Malawi's highest court – was made after a lower court had turned down Madonna's first bid to adopt Mercy in April. That court had said the singer had not spent enough time in Malawi.

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