- Title: UKRAINE/FILE-FURNISH: Elton John still misses boy he tried to adopt
- Date: 2nd July 2012
- Summary: VARIOUS OF JOHN PERFORMING ON STAGE VARIOUS OF FURNISH AND ELENA PINCHUK SITTING IN VIP SECTION
- Embargoed: 17th July 2012 13:00
- Location: Ukraine
- Country: Ukraine
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVAUNW79AV5P6UWVYY95RE0LMVL
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Elton John's husband David Furnish said on Saturday (June 30) that the pop legend's trip back to Ukraine stirred up memories of the HIV-positive 14-month old boy he and John tried to adopt in 2009, and that they still "feel for him in our hearts."
Furnish, the Canadian film producer who wed John in a civil ceremony in 2005, made the comments backstage at an Anti-AIDS charity concert in Kiev where John was performing.
"The last time we were here in the Ukraine, we visited the orphanage in Donetsk, and we met this wonderful little boy Lev in the orphanage. And we tried very desperately to adopt him, but unfortunately Ukrainian law did not support that. But we know now the boy is home with family. He's out of the orphanage. He's being raised by a member of his family. And Elton and I keep in touch and are making sure he is receiving the best care and the best attention," Furnish said.
The singer, who along with Furnish became parents on Christmas Day in 2010 to a son by a surrogate, tried to adopt Lev from an orphanage they visited in the Donetsk region in 2009. Ukrainian authorities prohibited the 64-year-old gay star from adopting the child because of his age and sexual orientation.
Furnish said that Lev had become a part of his life together with the celebrity couple's new son Zachary--albeit from afar.
"So we feel for him in our hearts. The most important thing is that he's out of the orphanage, and he is with family. So this makes us very happy. We're sad we could not adopt, but now we have our own son that we were able to have thorough surrogacy in America, and he has brought us much happiness and joy, and we wish the same for little Lev as well," Furnish said.
John has visited and performed in Ukraine several times since 2007 and often collaborates with the privately-funded Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation, run by the wife of Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk. Furnish and Elena Pinchuk sat in the VIP section of the concert with luminaries that included Pinchuk's father, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski.
During his visit to the orphanage in 2009, John said Lev had "stolen our hearts, and we would try in our--the most we can--to give him a future and a home."
Despite their disappointment at being denied the adoption, Furnish said, he still loved Ukraine, and he hoped to continue working on raising HIV/AIDS awareness there.
"I can say to all Ukrainians because I know they have big hearts, please support people living with HIV. Help them, support them, show them kindness, show them love. That way we can all live together a longer happier life, and I know this country has the compassion to do that," Furnish said.
According to a 2012 report by UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Ukraine is experiencing the "most severe HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and the CIS countries," with new cases of infection rising steadily since 1999.
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