Saturday, September 19, 2009

Elton May Become Lev's Guardian

The 62-year-old singer announced last weekend that he wanted to adopt the 14-month-old boy called Lev, who he said had ''stolen his heart''.

But his hopes were dashed after Ukraine's family, youth and sports minister, Yuri Pavlenko, said the country's laws would not allow it because Sir Elton is too old and is in a same-sex relationship.

However, Mr Pavlenko appeared to indicate a change of heart on Thursday, when he said that Sir Elton "has the right and opportunity to invite the family of this boy to visit him, take them under his guardianship and help him grow into a good person."

He also suggested that the adoption could not take place because although Lev is being looked after in an orphanage, his mother is still alive.

Mr Pavlenko added: "I'd like to ask everyone to be tolerant to the boy. This is not an orphan, the child has a mother and an elder brother and so he cannot be adopted by law.

"He has a difficult fate, like his mother. Help has been provided to his mother to find strength to bring the family back together."

Adoptive parents must be married under Ukrainian rules, and although Sir Elton and his partner David Furnish have been joined in a civil ceremony, the former Soviet republic does not recognise same-sex unions.

The law in Ukraine also states that adoptive parents should be no more than 45 years older than the child, making Sir Elton, 62, too old.

Sir Elton met Lev, who is HIV positive, at an orphanage for children whose parents had fallen victim to Aids.
Ukraine has the fastest-rising HIV infection rate in Europe, and had travelled there with his Aids foundation.

If he were successful, Sir Elton would follow in the footsteps of actress Angelina Jolie, who has three adopted children from Cambodia, Vietnam and Ethiopia, and Madonna, who adopted a little girl from Malawi earlier this year.

However, Sir Elton is likely to face opposition to any attempt to care for the toddler because the country's Orthodox and Catholic churches have strong views on gay adoption. The Orthodox Church in Ukraine has already branded Sir Elton a "sinner" because of his sexuality.

- Guardian

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