Africa has an estimated 43 million orphans, largely as a result of HIV/AIDS
Madonna and Guy Richie have been granted an interim adoption order allowing the celebrity couple to leave Africa with a one-year-old boy.
The decision by the judge at a Malawi court brings to an end 24 hours of uncertainty for the couple who both appeared in court earlier to convince authorities to sidestep strict Malawian law.
Under Malawian rules, nobody can adopt until they have fostered a child for two years - while living in the country.
But this afternoon Assistant High Court Register Thomson Ligowe said Judge Andrew Nyirenda: "has just given out an interim order" that would allow Madonna to take baby David Banda.
The decision comes on a day the couple face a growing backlash from international agencies and social workers over the adoption.
Despite receiving the father's blessing, aid workers have attacked Madonna and Richie's adoption claiming that it undermines efforts to keep children within communities.
They argue that rather than whisking children off to a foreign land there should be more help directed towards helping extended families care for orphans.
Aids activists also claim that David, whose mother died shortly after giving birth, is bound to feel estranged and disorientated after moving from the poor village of Mchinji to America or Britain.
Bill Phillbrick of the Hope for African Children Iniative in Atlanta, America, told The Times: "International adoptions are not a solution. The answer is supporting the community."
Jackie Schoeman, executive director of Cotlands, a South African organisation that cares for children affected by HIV said: "For us, first prize is to place the kids locally or even regionally. If the only other option is for them to be in long-term institutional care, then we would consider international adoption."
Babies have become Africa's fastest-growing export. It has an estimated 43 million orphans, largely as a result of Aids.
The number of foreign adoption agencies in Africa have trebled in recent years as they capitalise on the demand from rich European and American families who are willing to provide homes and finance the substantial costs of cross-border adoptions. Madonna is set to release a video showing her adoption of the baby in a bid to raise money for charity.
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