Madonna wins appeal to adopt Malawian girl Mercy

Madonna can start planning a new life for Mercy James, the little girl she applied to adopt from Malawi. The country's highest court has approved the millionaire singer's wish to welcome the four-year-old into her family.

The decision is the culmination of an, at times heart-rending, two-year process for the queen of pop, who was forced to appeal against an April decision that she could not adopt the child. Then, Judge Esmie Chondo ruled out the adoption saying prospective parents had to be resident in Malawi for 18 months.

Mercy will be a new sibling for David, the youngster the singer and her second ex-husband Guy Ritchie adopted from the African country in 2006, eight-year-old Rocco - her natural child with the British filmmaker - and Lourdes, 12, from a previous relationship.