NEW YORK - Madonna told Oprah Winfrey Tuesday she was surprised by the firestorm surrounding her efforts to adopt a 13-month-old boy from the African country of Malawi. And she blamed the media for it.
Madonna taped the interview via satellite from London, for airing Wednesday. It was the first time she'd spoken publicly in depth about the adoption.
According to a member of the "Oprah" audience, Madonna said she was startled by press reports about the toddler's father, Yohane Banda, who was quoted last week as saying he didn't realize he was signing away custody of his son, David, "for good."
"She said she met with the father, she looked him in the eye," audience member Sheryl Lewis recounted.
Madonna, she added, said she acted according to the law and had both "oral and written approval... and now the press have gotten to him," Lewis said.
In an interview posted Tuesday on Time magazine's Web site, Banda said, for his son's sake, he will not contest the adoption.
"I don't want my child, who is already gone to come back," he said. "I will be killing his future if I accept that."
Madonna told the "Oprah" audience that she and her husband, Guy Ritchie, had been thinking about adoption for more than two years, said Lewis, who lives in Deerfield, Ill.
Another "Oprah" audience member, Amanda Bannon of Crawfordsville, Ind., told ABC News that "the biggest thing was that Madonna wants to get the point across that she doesn't want this to be a discouragement to other families to not adopt."
Madonna, 48, traveled to Malawi on Oct. 4 with Ritchie. They spent eight days visiting orphanages she is funding through her charity.
David was taken to London last week after Malawi's High Court granted Madonna and Ritchie an interim adoption order.
Madonna has two children — daughter Lourdes, 9, and son Rocco, 6.