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By Andrea Peyser
February 13, 2017
Some friendly advice for Madonna: Lose the epic aggression, quit flashing your naughty bits and start behaving like an average soccer mom.
I recently described the frequently bod-baring music mogul as the “diva of degradation.’’ Perhaps I was too harsh. But no worse than Madge herself, who repeatedly dropped the F-bomb and expressed a wish about “blowing up the White House” in an oral hemorrhage she delivered at last month’s Women’s March on Washington. (She contends she spoke “metaphorically.”)
Seriously, sister: It’s not all about you.
As she’s done twice before, the Material Momster swooped into the dirt-poor African nation of Malawi, this time to adopt twin 4-year-old girls. The adorable tots, Stelle and Estere Mwale (pictured with Madonna), have escaped deprivation, leaving the orphanage in which they’ve lived since their mother died days after their birth. Taking up residence in the lap of luxury in New York City with a multimillionairess as a single parent, they’re sure to attend the finest private schools and travel to exotic vacation destinations via Gulfstream jets. They’ll want for nothing.
Except, perhaps, the constant attention of their globetrotting mother. Madonna’s 16-year-old son, Rocco Ritchie, escaped from her custody under a court settlement reached in September, and now lives in London with his filmmaker dad, Guy Ritchie, 48, Madonna’s ex-husband. He was fed up with being dragged around the planet by his mum, sources have told The Post.
The process for adopting a Malawian child normally takes anywhere from several months to two years. But Madonna blasted through the hoops, formally applying to adopt the twins just two weeks before taking them home Wednesday. This kind of speed has caused adoption advocates to complain that rich and/or famous folks are able to move to the front of the child lines with pockets full of cash.
And it raises the question: Why are so many world saviors, including the former couple Brangelina, averse to taking in kids who need love here at home?
There are about 427,000 youngsters in foster care in the United States, with some 111,820 of them waiting to be adopted, Schuyler Bader, executive director of DC-based Voice for Adoption, told me.
Many languishing in foster care are considered “special- needs” cases, said Bader, suffering from such things as physical, emotional and developmental disabilities that severely decrease their chances of being adopted. But some are just too old.
The age at which a youngster is considered to be of special needs is 5!
“Everyone wants an infant or a toddler, the closest thing to having their own child,” said Bader, whose organization supports all adoption, international and domestic. “From a personal perspective, I would love to have an advocate like Madonna adopting from foster care and domestically.’’
Madonna enraged some in Malawi after adopting David Banda Ciccone Ritchie, now 11, in 2006 and Mercy James Ciccone Ritchie, 11, in 2009.
(She also has a daughter from a previous relationship, Lourdes Leon, 20.)
“She just came unannounced and proceeded to villages and made poor people dance for her,” Joyce Banda, the country’s former president, lashed out to a reporter after a 2013 visit. She was angered by Madonna’s boasts (which the star denied making) of building entire schools in Africa, when, Banda claimed, she’d just raised money for new classrooms. The songstress and her entourage were stripped of their VIP status and forced to wait with the masses at the airport in the nation’s capital of Lilongwe.
But on a visit the next year with the country’s new president and David’s biological father, Madonna turned Malawians into some of her biggest fans.
At 58 years old, Madonna is considered too old to adopt in Malawi. But a judge, Fiona Mwale, made an exception after Madge aced a physical exam.
The jurist admitted being swayed by Madonna’s claims, born a Roman Catholic, she holds strong religious values and doesn’t believe in hitting kids or using foul language around them, according to a court document obtained by The Associated Press. Apparently, Madonna’s Women’s March antics never came up.
She also pointed out that Madonna raised $7.5 million for the construction of a pediatric surgery ward in Malawi. I guess money talks.
There’s time for Madonna to transform into a mom we’d be proud to call our own. For the sake of two little girls I hope she does.
By Andrea Peyser
February 10, 2017
When Sydney Phillips, the girl expelled from school because she wants to play basketball, walked defiantly into her New Jersey learning center Monday, some boys in her class were ready.
Sydney is too proud and too athletic for the junior bullies to accept.
Worse, in their eyes, she’d made their school look bad. So six of them, including five players on the school’s boys’ hoops team, sat on the gymnasium floor, glaring, she told me, crossing their arms in an apparent attempt to physically block her entrance into their Catholic school’s morning assembly.
“I think the were trying to intimidate me,’’ the 13-year-old seventh- grader at St. Theresa School in Kenilworth, said. Then, showing maturity well beyond her years, she added, “It really doesn’t bother me.’’
While another youngster might have buckled in the face of such aggression, Sydney simply stepped around the guys and took her rightful place in the gym. She didn’t complain to school brass as the harassment clicked up several notches.
It was just the latest struggle of a child her father calls “one tough girl.’’
But cyberbullying by adults, who should know better, bothered her, but did not break her.
A pal showed Sydney a Facebook page in which some parents of kids enrolled in the pre-K-through-eighth grade school posted mean comments — essentially urging her to leave.
She’s not going anywhere.
About the boys who don’t want to see her on the court, she said, “I’m probably better than all of them.’’
In December, when Sydney was still 12 years old, her dad, retired Kenilworth Police Capt. Scott Phillips, sued the school and the Archdiocese of Newark, which oversees it, demanding that his daughter be allowed to play basketball on the boys’ team. The girls’ team had been disbanded in the fall after too few kids showed interest in joining. He is seeking no monetary damages.
Sydney Phillips and her father, Scott Phillips
A Newark Superior Court judge shot down the suit, ruling that the school’s religious status protects it from bias claims under the state’s discrimination laws.
Her dad appealed the ruling.
Then last week, a letter from an archdiocese lawyer hit the family like a slap in the face: Neither Sydney nor her younger sister should attend St. Theresa “tomorrow morning or any day thereafter.’’
Sydney’s 11-year-old sister, Kaitlyn, who isn’t involved in the basketball battle, cried hysterically. Sydney learned the news while she and her friends were attending a practice session of the New York Liberty professional women’s basketball team, whose members invited her after hearing about the case.
What followed next was so demeaning, it should outrage any parent, not to mention people of all genders and ages who recently marched all over the world to uphold the rights of females.
On Feb. 2, a pastor, associate pastor and deacon, accompanied by two, then four local police officers, stood in front of St. Theresa’s door after the young sisters tried to attend school despite the letter. They were kept out for two days.
Then, an appellate-court judge ordered school officials to allow the girls back in class.
The whole legal mess has yet to be settled.
No one at the archdiocese or the school would comment about pending litigation. Officials at the Kenilworth Police Department failed to get back to me.
The roundball war threatening to rip apart the school is upsetting parents, including Lisa Bergamotto, whose two daughters and a son attend St. Theresa.
“I would be heartbroken if Sydney and Katie were not in the school. We love them so much,’’ she said. ”We love this school.’’
California psychiatrist Jeff Sugar, MD, an expert in bullying who is not involved in the case, attached to the school a scary term coined by an Oregon psychologist — “institutional betrayal.’’
“You expect an institution to stand up for you,’’ he explained. Sydney has “won a battle, but she appears to be losing the war. It will be hard for her to be at that campus.’’
Sydney isn’t backing down. “I hope that the judge rules I could stay in school permanently,’’ she said, “and he or she rules I can play.’’
I’m trying to raise my own daughter to be strong — a warrior. And like Sydney, to never give up when fighting for what’s right.
Message to St. Theresa: Let Sydney flex her wings.