Elton John to support Ukranian boy after his adoption was denied

In September, Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, visited an HIV-positive orphanage in the Ukraine to raise awareness for his Aids foundation. While there, Elton met a little HIV-positive 14 month-old boy and told the press that he’d love to adopt him. Elton said “Having seen Lev today, I would love to adopt him. I don’t know how we do that but he has stolen my heart. And he has stolen David’s heart and it would be wonderful if we can have a home.” The Ukrainian government quickly shot Elton down, and issued a statement saying that Elton wasn’t eligible to adopt from the country because he was single under their definition and, at 62, was too old. Under Ukrainian law, foreign adoptive parents must be married to an opposite sex partner, and must be no more than 45 years older than the children they plan to adopt.

Elton and David might not be able to take little Lev home with them, but they plan to make sure he and his brother are supported throughout their lifetimes. In an interview with BBC radio, Furnish said that he and John were devastated that they weren’t able to adopt the boy but that they would provide financial support to ensure that he was well cared for:

Elton John’s partner says the musician was devastated that he wasn’t allowed to adopt an HIV-positive Ukrainian toddler, but plans to support the boy anyway.

The 62-year-old pop star met 14-month-old Lev at a home for HIV-positive children in September. But he was refused permission to adopt the boy because he was too old and not married.

John’s partner David Furnish said Tuesday the couple was “massively gutted” by the rejection.

Furnish told BBC radio they were working to ensure Lev and his brother “have the best health care, education and family options available to them.”

John and Furnish tied the knot in 2005 in a civil union in Britain. Ukrainian authorities do not recognize gay unions as marriage.

Furnish said the couple would campaign for a change in Ukrainian law.

[From AP via Huffington Post]

As Kaiser mentioned in her story about this in September, I understand the age restrictions on adoption and why that’s necessary. It seems unfair to both adoptive parents and orphans that gay unions aren’t recognized under Ukranian adoption law, though. Good for Elton and David for remembering this little boy and making sure he’ll be provided for even though they won’t be able to care for him. It really tugs your heartstrings to hear stories like this.

Photos are from 9/14/09. Credit: BARM/Fame Pictures

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18 Responses to “Elton John to support Ukranian boy after his adoption was denied”

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  1. Firestarter says:

    That is certainly wonderful of him to care for the boy financially, since he can’t care for him personally.

  2. megan says:

    Like you, I understand the age requirement but its horrible that these children can’t be adopted by loving, good people based on who they’re married to.
    I’m so happy to hear that Sir Elton and David plan to support the boys regardless. Teared up over it, actually.

  3. Obvious says:

    this makes me like elton. alot. i’ve never been a huge fan, heck he never really registered on my radar unless the press is being saturated with elton stories. but this breaks my heart. not he age requirements, but the fact there is a warm loving family able to give this child a home, and sadly not many people want to adopt HIV positive children. Even if elton is older he would have given this child a wonderful home.

  4. nikki says:

    nice nice story

  5. SolitaryAngel says:

    With regular adoptions (aka completely healthy children), these rules make sense; however, these are HIV-positive foreign orphans—there’s not a long line of rich people waiting to snatch them up and give them the proper health care for their needs! In this case, with seriously ill children, I would think that all countries could see their way to relaxing these strictures and allowing people with love in their hearts and money to see that these children receive the best in their short lives!!! I have just fallen in love with Sir Elton. Was meh on him before, but now I’m “Team Elton”!!!!!

  6. lucy2 says:

    I understand the age requirement, but if an older person can prove they’re in reasonably good health, capable of raising the child, and that if something happens to them, there is a family support structure who will care for the child, why not allow it?
    I really, really applaud him for continuing to provide financial support though, rather than simply sidestepping the rules to get what he wants anyway.

  7. Sigh. says:

    I know it doesn’t really matter now (they are “single” by their, and many others laws), but how old is David?

  8. heb says:

    Its too bad that David Furnish couldn’t adopt him as a single person in Ukraine. Angelina has done that before in other countries.

  9. ashleigh says:


    So it’s okay for HIV positive children to get substandard parents? Or it isn’t okay to discriminate based on sexual orientation unless the kids aren’t “normal?”

    Either a country allows gay people to adopt, or they don’t. By allowing gay people to only adopt certain “hard to place” children, we’re creating a tiered system that I’m really not comfortable with as an adoption advocate. FWIW, I’m pro-gay adoption, and I think this is a wonderful thing that Elton John is doing. But I have an issue with the idea that this kid already has problems, so he should just be happy to get adopted at all, even if the parents aren’t “good enough” for a “normal” kid. Or the idea that gay people are good enough to adopt, so long as they aren’t taking a kid that anyone else could conceivably want.

  10. Lantana says:

    So if you can’t be more than 45 years older, can he adopt a 17 year old?

  11. champagna says:


  12. SolitaryAngel says:

    @ ashleigh: That’s not what I said at ALL–nor what I meant but if you want to take issue with it and jump on me, you’ll do it without my help. :)

  13. EMV says:

    It’s not just that he is gay it is that he is single according to the Ukrainian law. A straight woman would not be able to adopt there either. It is awful since they are both financially sucure and loving. There are so many children that need loving homes.

  14. irishserra says:

    I think the reasons for rejection are ridiculous. If a child has the option to be in a loving home with parents (even for a short time) versus an orphanage (where the caretaker/child ratio is not to the child’s advantage), wouldn’t it make sense to allow that child the opportunity to have a home where the love and attention are focused on him (or her)?

    Additionally, it’s not like Elton john and David Furnish are isolated. No doubt they have good friends and family around them who would be willing and able to take over the care of the child should they be unable to for any reason. Therefore, I think the age criteria, while well-intended, is not necessarily sound when you consider the numerous special-needs children sitting in an orphanage.

    Likewise with the marital status requirements, all situations are different, but I venture that well-conducted home-studies should be able to turn out some financially and emotionally stable single-parent families.

    I am not aware of the conditions of Ukranian orphanages, but I can’t imagine that the care and love given to the children in such situations are as high quality or quantitative as one could find in a home of single parents or older parents.

  15. Anna says:

    Now that’s the gesture of people for whom orphans are not merely acessories, objects, ways to stroke their ego. Here’s looking at you, Madonna-child-stealer.

  16. Emily says:

    Wow, what a sweet story. I guess there’s been a nice guy hiding under Elton’s bitchy facade all along.

  17. girl says:

    I am a fairly conservative person but that is a bunch of bullsh1t. That poor child clearly needs a home. Good on EJ and his partner for making sure the child is provided for financially. That is extremely generous and it must have been heartwrenching for them to have been turned down like that.

    I just don’t understand the thinking behind this. A child is better off in an orphanage than with loving parents? Something about them being a gay couple would make them less capable of loving him?

    I find it similar to the obstacles that my youngest child will deal with in her life as she grows up. She was born with a facial anomaly and no matter how much surgery she has, people looking at her will likely be able to tell her face isn’t like everyone else’s. But guess what. We all have our little ‘imperfections’*. Just because a couple is straight doesn’t mean they will be absolutely ideal parents. It is much more complicated than that.

    *= Please don’t read too much into my use of the word ‘imperfections’. I couldn’t think of a better one. My daughter is not handicap, she is just looks a bit different than most people. And she is incredibly cute.

  18. Ursula says:

    I appreciate what Elton John and his partner are trying to do for this child. But I have never liked him and I am not going to start. He is rude, obnoxious and too self centered (yes he give a lot to charity, I know) to adopt a child. The orphanage does not look bad at all and the kids seem happy there. Their mother also has access to them so things are not all that bad. In the celeb world, this poor kid will probably become a junkie before the age of 15 and with OD himself because of depression and all those other complications that come from being a celeb spawn. Personally, I do not believe that being adopted by a celebrity is all that it is cracked up to be.