Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.



Paper Orphan

October 6, 2009 permalink

The "orphan" boy, sought for adoption by Elton John and his partner David Furnish, has two living parents who both want to keep their child.



Sergey with son Lev
Joy . . . dad Sergey with Lev yesterday
Arthur Edwards/The Sun

Sir Elton can have Lev . . . if I can come too

From OLIVER HARVEY, Chief Feature Writer, in Makeyevka, Ukraine, Published: October 6 2009

THE grasping killer dad of the boy Sir Elton John hoped to adopt told the star last night: "Take my lad AND me."

Ukrainian former drug addict Sergey, 31, brazenly suggested Sir Elton might pay for him and 15-month-old Lev to live in Britain.

He told The Sun: "I'm not against the idea of Elton becoming a guardian.

"I would be willing to meet Elton and talk about it.

"I don't mind my boy going to Britain to be with Elton - as long as I can go too, so I can take care of him."

We revealed yesterday that Sergey and Lev's mother Marina live separately in squalid flats in a grim Ukrainian industrial town.

Elton John with Lev
Oh boy . . . rock star Sir Elton meets little Lev

Both are HIV positive. Marina, 25, is an alcoholic who had both her sons taken from her - and Sergey served eight years for strangling a 14-year-old girl.

Even if the singer could legally adopt Lev, his parents insist they would never allow it.

Skint and jobless shoemaker Sergey said: "No matter how much money he offers, I wouldn't agree to an adoption. I'm Lev's father."

Then, seeing the chance to cash in, he went on: "I know Elton is a rich man. Maybe he could help Marina and me and the boys get a flat so we could be a family again.

"That would be ideal. And if Elton could buy me a shoe shop, that would be great."

Sir Elton and partner David Furnish met Lev at the Ukrainian orphanage where he lives with his brother Artyom, three.

Ukrainian officials told Sir Elton, 62, he cannot adopt Lev because he is too old and they do not recognise gay couples as married. But they have not ruled out him becoming guardian to both boys if he strikes a deal with their parents.

Sergey spoke as he and his mother Yulia, 55, made an emotional reunion trip from their home in Mariupol to the Makeyevka orphanage, where Lev and Artyom are in care.

As the boys ran into her arms, Yulia could not hold back her tears. She said: "Lev hugged me tight. It was heartbreaking. I wanted to scoop the boys up and take them home.

"I brought Lev a toy keyboard because he is so musical. I want to teach him some of Elton's songs."

She went on: "When we arrived, Artyom said, 'Hello, Granny' and kissed me. I took Lev in my arms and the tears welled in my eyes. These boys are like my own children."

Yulia handed out presents and sweets to her grandsons, adding: "It was terrible when we waved goodbye.

"Lev didn't know what was happening but Artyom was screaming and holding my dress, saying, 'Granny, please take me home, please'. The staff took them away and I heard them crying."

Yulia also made it clear the impoverished family are willing to do a deal.

She added: "I don't want Elton to adopt the children. But it would be OK if he was the boys' guardian. Lev is so sweet, he took Elton's heart away. He could give them a good life. But he must look after the boys' parents too and keep them together as a family. Elton could be godfather."

Tattooed Sergey, like Marina, is confident their sons will be returned to them.

He insisted: "I don't think my criminal record is an obstacle." And Yulia does not seem to see her son as a murderer. She said: "Sergey was just 19. He went for a walk with a pretty girl. She accidentally stood on his foot and he grabbed her by the neck and threw her in a lake. He ran away and she died."

The home where Lev and Artyom live specialises in children from families affected by HIV. Director Viktor Goncharov, 55, said: "It's best for the boys if they go to their family.

"But Sergey needs to get a job and sort himself out. Then a court will decide."

Source: The Sun (UK)