Madonna recalls struggles in adopting her children: 'I would cry myself to sleep'

The world may view Madonna as a pop culture icon. But when it comes to being at home, she prefers the title of mom.

However, the highest-selling female artist of all time told People Magazine Wednesday that adopting four out of her six children was a struggle.

The 59-year-old singer is a mother to 20-year-old Lourdes, 17-year-old Rocco, 11-year-old David, 11-year-old Mercy, as well as 5-year-old twins Estere and Stella.

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Madonna described how she first saw David as a baby suffering from pneumonia and malaria at Home of Hope, an orphanage in Malawi. She instantly began the adoption process, only to face backlash when she brought him home to London in 2008.

“Every newspaper said I kidnapped him,” she explained. “In my mind, I was thinking, ‘Wait a minute. I’m trying to save somebody’s life. Why are you all s-----g on me right now?’ I did everything by the book. That was a real low point for me. I would cry myself to sleep.”

Madonna faced more trouble when she met Mercy around the same time as David. She claimed her 2008 divorce from British filmmaker Guy Richie prompted Malawian officials to tell her she wasn’t capable of raising a child.

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“The way I was treated — that sexiest behavior — was ridiculous,” she said. “I’ve had some pretty dark moments, but I’m a survivor.”

Madonna successfully challenged the refusal in Malawi’s Supreme Court and Mercy came home with her in 2009.

In February, Madonna brought orphaned twins Estere and Stella home with her. She claimed that adoption process was just as difficult.

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“Because I’m a public figure, people don’t want to be perceived as giving me any kind of special treatment, so I get the hard road,” she said. “It’s complicated, but it’s so worth it.”

As for being the Queen of Pop?

“They don’t have a clue,” said Madonna. “And that’s a good thing. I’m just their mother.”