LONDON — Look out, Madonna and Angelina Jolie – pop star Elton John has decided he wants to join the ranks of A-list celebrities with adopted children.
But it's not clear if John, 62, will be able to adopt, and the Rocket Man star has not yet started formal proceedings, which are often long and complicated.
John and longtime partner David Furnish are interested in trying to adopt a Ukrainian toddler named Lev they met during an orphanage tour there.
The singer told reporters in Ukraine on Saturday that Furnish has long wanted to adopt a child but that he was reluctant until he met Lev at an orphanage where many of the children's parents have died from AIDS.
"David always wanted to adopt a child and I always said 'no' because I am 62 and I think because of the traveling I do and the life I have, maybe it wouldn't be fair for the child," John said.
"But having seen Lev today, I would love to adopt him. 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. I've changed my mind today."
He acknowledged bureaucratic hurdles may make adoption of a Ukrainian child impossible, citing the lack of a formal adoption protocol between England and the Ukraine as a serious potential problem.
"I don't know what the procedure is to adopt a boy from the Ukraine. I don't think I can because England doesn't have a treaty with the Ukraine," he said.
But he said the fact that Furnish, 46, is Canadian may provide an avenue for adoption from the Ukraine. Some countries also make it difficult for gay couples to adopt.
John and Furnish toured the orphanage – where John performed for the children – as part of his AIDS Foundation work. Ukraine has one of the fastest rising rates of HIV infection in Europe.
John said he was motivated in part by the sudden death last week of one of his closest friends, keyboardist Guy Babylon.
"It broke my heart because he was such a genius and so young and has two wonderful children," John said. "What better opportunity to replace someone I lost than to replace him with someone I can give a future to."