Judge Postpones Ruling on Madonna's Bid to Adopt Toddler From Malawi

Madonna won't know until next week whether a Malawian boy she found in an orphanage in 2006 will become a permanent member of her family, her lawyer said Thursday.

Lawyer Alan Chinula had expected the judge to rule on the adoption Thursday but said the hearing was delayed after a Malawian human rights group presented arguments on "shortcomings" in the southern African nation's adoption laws.

Chinula said the group was not challenging the adoption and he expected it to be approved next week.

The pop star and her husband, film director Guy Ritchie, were not present at Thursday's hearing in the Malawian capital. They have been caring for the boy, David Banda, in London. He turns 3 in November.

Chief Social Welfare Officer Simon Chisale, the official overseeing the adoption, paid the Ritchies two home visits, writing in a report that Madonna was a "perfect mum" for David.

Malawi Human Rights Commission lawyer Grace Malera confirmed that she argued before the judge on anomalies in the current adoption laws, but refused to give details. Local human rights activists have accused the government of bending Malawi's strict adoption laws because of Madonna's celebrity status.

David's mother died when he was just a month old. His father has said he believed he could not care for him alone, and that placing him in an orphanage was the best way to ensure David's survival. The father has said he did not object to Madonna adopting David.

Madonna found David while establishing charity projects in Malawi. She is currently funding her own and six other orphanages in the country.

Her Raising Malawi organization also announced that the singer is funding a multimillion-dollar academy for disadvantaged children in Malawi.

"I Am Because We Are," a new documentary Madonna produced and narrated, shows poverty and disease devastating the lives of Malawi's children, and urges people to volunteer.