Country Decorating

This weekend, after months of trials and tribulations, the latest addition to Madonna’s growing brood, Mercy, commenced her new life in New York. A source from The Sun revealed that Madge wanted Mercy “to feel like a little princess when she arrives,” and from what we’ve seen, the new Mum pulled out all the stops. The youngster barely had time to think when she arrived, as her new siblings Lourdes, twelve, Rocco, eight and David, three, threw her a welcome tea-party in Madonna’s $37 million New York townhouse.

It comes as no surprise that Madge wants the best for her newly adopted daughter. Reports reveal that the singer has created a whopping wish list in order to provide Mercy with the most fabulous boudoir she could hope for. Items on the list include porcelain dolls, antique teddy bears, a library of leather-bound children’s books and ancient maps of Africa to adorn the walls. It’s comforting to know that Madge wants her baby girl to remember her Malawian roots.

As well as all the items inside, Madonna has also commissioned a garden tree house for Mercy and fellow Malawian brother David. At least that way, the children who are used to open savannas, can get a taste of nature from the confines of their new Upper East-Side address.

And it doesn’t stop there! Apparently Madonna was so impressed with how pal and fellow mum Gwyneth Paltrow had decked out Apple’s bedroom in her Hamptons home, that she has roped the actress in for some serious ‘Gwynterior design’ inspiration. With the Goop Goddess and the Material Girl on board, we’re vouching that Mercy’s new pad is going to be tip-top.

Lucy Chekechiwa, the maternal grandmother of Chifundo “Mercy” James, said that the family never agreed to put the four-year-old up for adoption on a permanent basis. She said she had long fought to keep Mercy, whom the southern African country’s highest court ruled that Madonna could adopt earlier this month, and that she had only recently given up her long battle to keep her.

She said: “The initial agreement was that Mercy was to be kept in the orphanage for six years. After six years Mercy was supposed to be brought back here and then I would have taken care of her. “At first I didn’t want her to go but as a family we had to sit down and reach an agreement and we agreed that Mercy should go. “The men insisted that Mercy be adopted and I won’t resist anymore. I still love Mercy. She is my dearest.”

Speaking in a Channel 4 documentary – Madonna and Mercy: What Really Happened – to be broadcast on Monday, Miss Chekechiwa added that she had fought against the adoption for three years but had finally agreed to let Mercy go. She said that Madonna came across Mercy at an orphanage during her first visit to Malawi in 2006 with her then husband, Guy Ritchie, and decided that Mercy was “the one”.

However, Miss Chekechiwa refused to let the little girl go at that stage, so Madonna instead returned home with David Banda, whose family had not raised such strong objections. Miss Chekechiwa’s daughter, Mwandida, was Mercy’s mother. She fell pregnant aged 14 to an older student at school, but died from complications of childbirth days after Mercy was born.

Mercy’s father, James Kambewa, claims he was told that Mercy too had died and only learned the truth after being tracked down by journalists in April. He now says he wants his daughter back. He told Channel 4: “I am not supporting the adoption because I am still alive. I don’t see any justification why the girl should be adopted. “But on the other hand when I learnt that my daughter is still alive I was very happy and I think I still need to raise her. “It’s true that a child needs both parents but that doesn’t stop me from taking care of Mercy. I know I’m capable. I can do that.” The programme also investigates the links between the adoption and the Kabbalah-sponsored Raising Malawi charity, whose co-founder is Michael Berg, the co-director of the Kabbalah Centre.

Annie is an expert furniture and interior design writer. Her current area of specialism is pool tables, mirrors and carpets

French Country Decorating, BelleEscape.com

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