"I’ve had some pretty dark moments, but I’m a survivor," she told People in a new interview. "Because I’m a public figure, people don’t want to be perceived as giving me any kind of special treatment, so I get the hard road."
Madonna, 59, first met David Banda, now 11, at an orphanage in Malawi when he was just a baby battling pneumonia. At the time, she was already a mom to daughter Lourdes (whom she welcomed with former flame Carlos Leon) and son Rocco (whom she welcomed with ex-husband Guy Ritchie).
When she brought him home after the adoption process was complete in 2008, she didn't exactly get the feedback she had imagined. "Every newspaper said I kidnapped him. In my mind, I was thinking, 'Wait a minute. I’m trying to save somebody’s life. Why are you all sh**ing on me right now?' I did everything by the book. That was a real low point for me. I would cry myself to sleep," she confessed.
Soon after, she began the adoption process of her little girl Mercy, now 11, which was even more difficult than David. Since she recently divorced Guy at the time, Malawian officials told her she was "not capable of raising a child." Madonna adds, "The way I was treated — that sexist behavior — was ridiculous."
This past winter, Madonna made headlines when she adopted twins Esther and Stella from Malawi. And while the little girls have made their mark on Madonna's Instagram, let's just say they're in the dark about who their mother really is. "They don’t have a clue," Madonna said. "And that’s a good thing. I’m just their mother."
Click through the gallery below to learn all about Madonna's six kids!