Elton John Cannot Adopt Ukrainian Orphan

09/14/2009 at 10:15 AM EDT

Elton John Cannot Adopt Ukrainian Orphan
Elton John and Lev
The Ukrainian orphan Elton John wants to adopt will not go home with the singer and his longtime partner David Furnish, a Ukrainian family minister said Monday – citing a national law that prohibits unmarried couples from adopting, the Associated Press reports.

John and Furnish entered into a civil partnership on Dec. 21, 2005, the first day such unions became legal in John's native England.

John, 62, met Lev, a Ukrainian toddler, while touring an orphanage where many of the children's parents have died from AIDS.

"Having seen Lev today, I would love to adopt him," John said over the weekend. "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."

Ukrainian laws are very strict when it comes to adoption. Not only do the laws ban same-sex couples from adopting, they also state that the parents cannot be more than 45 years older than the child. Their only hope would be a presidential dispensation to take home 14-month-old Lev.

On Monday it was also revealed that, according to the country's law, should Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko grant John and Furnish's wish, the pair would also have to adopt Lev's brother, who is also in care.

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