Nancy O’Dell has had the opportunity to interview Madonna plenty of times over the past 10 years, but now, for the first time she finds an icon who is positively glowing, and for good reason, the son she has adopted from the African nation of Malawi, 1-year-old David Banda.
“The very first night,” asks Nancy, “what was that like?”
“It was a morning, actually,” remembers Madonna. “He arrived at 7 o’clock in the morning and the children were getting ready for school. We were all in the kitchen, it’s that quiet thing that happens in the morning when no one’s totally awake, the coffee’s brewing. He came with my nanny. And the door opened, it was just really quiet and she walked in and she was carrying David and the children just ran to him. Lola grabbed him and held him and it was just this strange quiet moment. It was amazing.”
Madonna also tells Nancy she was “very relieved” to have her son home, especially after all of the visa problems surrounding the adoption.
The singer was forced to leave Malawi without her son in order to make her daughter, Lola’s 10th birthday party.
Madonna tells Nancy that Lola was “bummed out” when she returned home without David because “she thought that was going to be her birthday present. So [she was saying] every day, ‘Is David coming? When’s he going to get here?’ They were very excited.”
Nancy notes that Madonna has said she was drawn to him, and asks what it was that made her know that he was the one.
There is no hesitation in Madonna’s answer.
“His eyes. He just had a soulfulness and a knowing look in his eyes and the first time his head turned around and he looked into a camera, I was completely drawn to him and curious about him. He haunted me.”
Madonna’s even learned a song in David’s native language of Chichewa to sing to him.
“One of the ladies that worked at the orphanage was always singing it to him so I said teach it to me.”
And besides lullabies, like most 13-month-olds, David also enjoys learning new things to say.
“He doesn’t have that many words,” says Madonna with a smile, “he says bye bye bah bah and mama. That’s his vocabulary right now.”
Soon, David will get to meet all of his famous mother’s famous friends. Madonna tells Nancy that she is already planning a playdate with Gwyneth Paltrow’s 6-month-old son, Moses, as well as an introduction to her good friend, Rosie O’Donnell.
“I obviously you know relied on her advice a lot, because she’s adopted 3 children, to guide me through this whole process.”
But not even an adoption vet like Rosie could have imagined the drama Madonna would go through when it came to bringing David home.
Nancy notes, “Angelina Jolie goes off and adopts a child and she almost becomes a saint and then there’s this controversy surrounding the wonderful thing you are doing. Did it feel in any way like I’m a little hurt by this?”
“It felt unfair,” says Madonna, “It felt like a personal attack. It felt like it had nothing to do with what I was actually doing.”