"I offered that in court when I met him. And he … didn't want that," she told NBC's Meredith Vieira in an interview airing this week. "…When I met him, I said, 'I would be happy to facilitate with you, you know, to bring him back to your village and help you financially raise him.' And he said no."
Madonna said that she does not want to sound like she's judging David's father.
"I think he truly felt in his heart of hearts that — and who knows if he was telling me the truth — that (David) would have a better life with me," she said. "So, when he said no, that was my, you know, my sign that, you know, it was my responsibility to look after (David)."
In an interview which aired Wednesday on "Today," the singer said she expected people to be cynical about the adoption. "People accused me of a publicity stunt when I had my daughter," she told Vieira.
The pop diva said she was upset by the controversy stirred up by the adoption, and that she found herself "just feeling so sad about the state of the world and how negative everybody was."
2She said that she's pulled through that dark moment, but she still sounds miffed by the public's reaction.
"With all the chaos, pain and suffering in the world," she said, "the fact that my adoption of a child …who was living in an orphanage, you know, was the number one story for a week in the world to me, that says more about …our inability to focus on the real problems."
Madonna doesn't think the criticism she's received about the adoption has been fair. "I followed every rule, every law and every regulation. All the criticism is ultimately a blessing in disguise because now people know about Malawi and now people know about orphans there," she said.
Meanwhile, she is enjoying the process of getting to know David, who is already showing a distinct personality.
"He's got a terrible temper. He's very flirtatious. And he's hysterically funny," she said, adding that she was drawn to his face and his eyes.
She said that when she first met David he was sick with pneumonia and had a 104 temperature that could have claimed his life. When she saw him sick and frail, she said, "I'm going to save his life, whether he ends up being my child or not."
The second part of Madonna's interview will air Thursday on "Today" and on "Dateline NBC" on Wednesday night.
By Judy Faber