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Elton John prevented from adopting Ukrainian child

Date:15 SEP 2009

Sir Elton John won't be able adopt a 14-month-old child from Ukraine because the pop star is too old and isn't married, a Ukrainian government minster has said.

After meeting a HIV-positive child at an orphanage in Ukraine run by an anti-AIDS charity, Sir John announced at the weekend that he and his partner, David Furnish, wanted to adopt the boy, named Lev.

Sir John told reporters: "David always wanted to adopt and I always said no because I am 62 and I think because of the travelling I do and the life I have, maybe it wouldn't be fair for the child.

"But having seen Lev today, I would love to adopt him. I don't know how we do that [apply for adoption], but he has stolen my heart. And he has stolen David's heart and it would be wonderful if we can have a home."

Ukrainian law requires a parent to be no more than 45 years older than an adopted child and does not recognize gays unions as marriage.

The Family, Youth and Sports Minister of Ukraine, Yuriy Pavlenko, said: "Elton John will not be able to adopt a Ukrainian child and if he files that request we will unfortunately deny it.

"The law is the same for everybody: for a president, for a minister, for Elton John."

Children's charities had expressed their misgivings about Sir John adopting the child and celebrity international adoptions in general.

Speaking to CNN, James Georgalakis, EveryChild's Communications and Advocacy Manager said: "Research conducted in the Ukraine in 2007 which showed high-profile celebrity adoptions and news around foreigners coming into the country and adopting children generally was actually encouraging vulnerable young mothers to abandon their children into homes hoping their child would be adopted by a rich foreigner and have a better life.

"So it's quite well documented that these high-profile adoptions could actually be increasing the number of children in institutions."