Madonna's bid to adopt another Malawian child has been approved. High Court Judge Esme Chombo is not due to make an official ruling on the adoption of four-year-old orphan Mercy James until Friday, but Chombo has reportedly told the singer she will be granted custody.
A senior Malawian official said: "This is all very confidential, and Judge Chombo must still make her ruling - but that ruling will be in favor of Madonna."
"Madonna is a very good mother and ambassador for Malawi. She has improved the lives of thousands of orphans."
The 50-year-old star was photographed with Mercy for the first time Tuesday and the child is believed to be spending all her time with Madonna and the pop beauty's other children - Lourdes, 12, Rocco, eight, and three-year-old David, who was also adopted from Malawi.
Madonna spent an hour in court in the African country's capital Lilongwe on Monday, telling Chombo she would be "a deeply loving mother" to Mercy, whose Malawian name is Chifundo.
In adoption papers, the singer said: "To deny Chifundo the opportunity to be adopted by me could expose her to hardship and emotional trauma which is otherwise avoidable."
Madonna and her family - including her new daughter - are expected to fly to Britain on Saturday and the "4 Minutes" hitmaker has reportedly told staff at her London home to "prepare for the arrival of my new little girl."
Madonna - who has been accused of using her fame to bend Malawi's adoption laws to her advantage - knew her decision to adopt a second child would attract criticism but insisted she didn't care.
Her friend, British filmmaker Ben Fellows, said: "Once Madonna puts her mind to something, she achieves it - and this adoption is no different."
"She told me she thought it was very important that David had a sister from the same background as him and she had unconditional love to give another child."
"She knew exactly what she was walking into. She sent me an email just before she left for Malawi and signed it off, 'Let the storm commence!'"
Fellows insists Madonna - whose ex-husband is British director Guy Ritchie - is an excellent mother, and will be able to offer Mercy a wonderful home.
He said: "Despite her reputation, Madonna is a warm, loving woman. She speaks from the heart."
"She couldn't understand the criticism. Surely it shows how loved Mercy James is going to be that Madonna is prepared to go through all of this again in order to adopt her?"