First Same Sex Couple (Lesbian) Adoption in Rhode Island (1993).

Last month, I attended the retirement party of Judith Ashton, a pioneer in the placement of children who have been overlooked in the healthy-white-untraumatized- newborn fantasy of adoption, and in the practical and unswerving support of those adoptive families. About a hundred people celebrated her, each of them part of an adoptive family. I was struck that in the room were as many stories as one could imagine of how glorious and/or how searing a child’s journey can be. The variables are not always clear, yet we all proceed with hope, even faith, into the unknown woods of parenthood.

I have a partner and we have two kids. Bo-ring. But wait. There is a story here, too. I was lucky enough to adopt my older daughter (as a single parent) when she was 11 days old; six months later a daunting court challenge from her birth father arose and threatened our bond. I am grateful that Charles Greenwood, who knows as much about loving a child as he does about the law, was with us in the fight, so that eventually the adoption went through. Later, I met the woman who was to become my life partner, and she gave birth to our older daughter 3 years after that. We chatted quite tentatively with Charles about the possibility of adopting one another’s kids, and he was our advocate from the outset. He spoke with the judge who would hear such a case, and the judge asked Charles for background reading in anticipation of the case coming into his court, … and then we WENT. So with this adoption as well, Charles was instrumental in seeing that the RIGHT thing happened, namely that in 1993 we became the first lesbians in Rhode Island to adopt one another’s kids.*

High school theater and the post-college job search are the current centers of our daughters’ lives, and we still feel gratitude every day for the strands that got woven, however serendipitously, into the web that is our family, by blood, adoption, and chosen friendships.


* From time to time there are statements about this topic which we need to clarify.