Malawi's highest court announced Friday that international pop star Madonna will be allowed to adopt a second child from the country.

Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeals said the singer's efforts to help orphans needed to be taken into account.  He also said the lower court's ruling that she had not lived in Malawi long enough was not a good reason to block the adoption and that adoption offered a better life than the orphanage.

Madonna's lawyer said he telephoned her after the ruling and she was "excited at the news."

Local human rights groups expressed reservations about the decision and its implications for other international adoptions.

The decision reversed a lower court's ruling that had denied Madonna's request to adopt a three-year-old girl named Chifundo "Mercy" James.

In 2006, the courts waived the 18-month residency requirement, when Madonna adopted her three-year-old son David Banda.

Human rights groups criticized the boy's adoption, accusing the Malawian government of giving Madonna special treatment.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.