Madonna says that she and Guy had planned on adopting a child two years ago, not knowing where they would adopt. It was her ongoing philanthropic work in Malawi that finally brought the Ritchies to David.
"I'm financing a documentary about orphans in Malawi, so I was allowed to view footage and photographs of a lot of the children. An 8-year-old girl who is living with HIV was holding this child. I became transfixed by him. ... But I didn't yet know I was going to adopt him. I was just drawn to him."
David had spent most of his life in an orphanage with 500 other orphans. Madonna didn't know the state of David's health when she was visiting Malawi and considering adopting David. She brought a pediatrician to test all of the children's health for their overall well being, and later learned that David tested negative for tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and other common illnesses striking African orphans.
"When I met him, he was extremely ill," Madonna says. "He had severe pneumonia, and he could hardly breathe. I was in a state of panic, because I didn't want to leave him in the orphanage because I knew they didn't have medication to take care of him. We got permission to take him to a clinic to have a bronchial dilator put on him. ... He had pneumonia and was given an injection of antibiotics. He's still a little bit ill, not completely free of his pneumonia, but he's much better than he was when we found him."