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Ukraine Says No to Elton John's Desire to Adopt an HIV-Positive Boy

September 14, 2009

It's a sad day when an HIV-positive child is stuck in an orphanage, unlikely ever to be adopted. However, the Ukranian Family, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko apparently felt confident in rejecting singer/songwriter Elton John's bid to adopt a 14-month old HIV-positive boy named Lev, according to a report from Reuters. After all, Elton John didn't meet the criteria: He was neither legally married nor young enough, according to Ukraine's rules. Pavlenko seemed to care little that the adoption would transform Lev's life and perhaps spur other people to adopt HIV-positive children in resource-poor countries, although he admitted that only about 30 HIV-positive Ukrainian children have been adopted since 2007, the Associated Press reports.

To be fair, it is not that Ukraine is attempting to discriminate against John in particular, or even necessarily against homosexuals. The country's adoption rules explicitly require that the adopting parent be legally married and be no more than 45 years older than the child he is seeking to adopt. John is 62 and is in a civil union with his long-term partner, David Furnish; same-sex marriage is not legal in the United Kingdom.

John has not formally put in a request to adopt Lev, who he met while he and his HIV/AIDS foundation visited a Ukrainian orphanage for the children of parents with HIV. But he did express a desire to adopt the boy, spurring Pavlenko's reaction. "The law is the same for everybody," Pavlenko said. "For a president, for a minister, for Elton John." However, Pavlenko added that he hoped the situation would serve "as a call to Ukrainians -- adopt these children, give them a chance to live, irrespective of whether they are healthy or have such a diagnosis." According to Pavlenko, Ukrainian orphans currently outnumber the parents seeking to adopt them by about 16 to 1.

What do you think of the situation? Was the Ukrainian minister justified in denying John's request? Should marriage status or age be a viable measure of a person's readiness to adopt? Is it right to set rules or requirements on the adoption of HIV-positive children -- or on any children who are deeply in need, for that matter? Add your comment below!



  
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