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Elton John could become Ukrainian baby Lev's 'guardian'
Friday, September 18 2009

After being branded unsuitable to adopt by Ukrainian officials because of his age and sexuality, Elton John was given new hope yesterday that he could look after the baby boy who won his heart in a Ukrainian children's home.

After originally saying Elton was barred from becoming little Lev's legal guardian, the authorities there have come up with a compromise. The deal would allow Elton to bring up the child in Britain with his partner David Furnish but also involve Lev's mother, who retains parental rights to him.

It was unveiled by Ukraine Families Minister Yuri Pavlenko who had previously refused to contemplate the 14-month-old boy's adoption because the 62-year-old pop star was too old and in a same-sex relationship. On September 17, 2009 he said 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 stressed: 'I'd like to ask everyone 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, who is living back in the community now. I am sure that soon this family will be united. Let's help the mother to find strength to bring the family back together.'

His comments represent a change of heart in support of Elton who met Lev on September 12, 2009 and immediately expressed the desire to adopt him. Under the scheme, the mother - who has not been named and is believed to be an HIV sufferer, would be encouraged to accept an invitation to visit Sir Elton in Britain with both of her two children.

A source in Kiev said: 'It would be entirely up to the mother if she agreed to this arrangement. It could allow her to stay involved in their upbringing under Elton's guidance.' The deal would mean halting official legal moves which have begun to strip the mother of her parental rights, so making Lev - and his sibling - orphans.

It is likely to be controversial in Ukraine where there is strong opposition - led by the Orthodox and Catholic churches - to gay adoption or anything similar. One churchman has already branded Sir Elton a 'sinner'.

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