But father of young Mercy James has never even met his daughter
NEW YORK - The father of an African girl Madonna hopes to adopt says he wants to take care of his daughter himself — even though he's never met her.
James Kambewa, believed to be the biological father of Chifundo "Mercy" James, said he doesn't want the pop star to adopt the 4-year-old.
"I want to take care of her, and I'm capable to take care of my baby," he told CBS' "The Early Show" in an interview to be aired Monday. "Mercy, she is a Malawian — so (I) need her to grow as a Malawian as well with our culture."
Kambewa wears a necklace bearing his daughter's name but has never met her and says he has only seen her "in newspapers and TV — not face to face."
Madonna spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg said in an e-mail message Saturday she doesn't know if Kambewa is the father of the girl, who lives in an orphanage.
"All I know is that Mercy has been in an orphanage since the day she was born," Rosenberg said.
Madonna's appeal of a court ruling denying her request to adopt the girl is to be heard Monday in Malawi, in southeast Africa. The "Material Girl" and "Like a Virgin" singer already has adopted a son, David, from there.
Malawi requires prospective parents to live there for 18 to 24 months while child welfare authorities assess their suitability. The rule wasn't applied when Madonna was allowed to take David to London in 2006.