NEW YORK - Madonna has urged more people to adopt children from Africa, sidestepping comments by actress and fellow adoptive mother Angelina Jolie about only adopting from countries with clearly defined
Madonna, 48, who is in the legal processes of adopting a 1-year-old boy from Malawi, was accused by adoption groups last year of using her celebrity status to bypass laws about foreigners adopting from Malawi.
She has also faced criticism this week from Jolie, who has adopted children from Cambodia and Ethiopia as well as having a daughter with actor Brad Pitt. Jolie said in a magazine interview she would have steered clear of adopting from a country where there was no legal framework for adoption
But Madonna said she initiated the adoption, which she saw as "saving a life," despite the laws of adoption in Malawi being less than clear and little used.
She said only two countries in Africa - Ethiopia and Kenya -- had clearly defined adoption rules with other African countries not used to dealing with such issues.
"We were basically creating the laws as we went," Madonna told TV host David Letterman on his CBS network "Late Show."
Madonna, who also has a 9-year-old daughter and 6six-year-old son, said she and her British film director husband, Guy Ritchie, had not expected the difficulties or controversy they had faced in the adoption.
"There's over a million orphans in Malawi, and in my opinion the laws need to change because these children need to be rescued," said Madonna.
Madonna said she was warned by a social worker that adopting a child from Malawi could be difficult.
"She didn't say don't do it, but she just said expect challenges, and, boy, did we get them," said Madonna.