Gays have adopted for 20 years in R.I.
Providence Journal, 01:00 AM EST on Thursday, January 1, 2009*
Regarding National Adoption Day, which occurred on Nov. 15: The fact that we can celebrate adoptions on that special day is a tribute to the Rhode Island Family Court and Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah for sponsoring the event. The court provides the judicial and support staff and coordinates the festivities with the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and various private adoption agencies and their social work staffs.
In your article reporting on the event, one statement stood out to us as lawyers and a law firm whose practice focuses on adoption. The article quoted a new parent’s belief that he and his partner were only the second same-sex couple in Rhode Island to adopt a child. In fact, same-sex couples have been adopting in this state for almost 20 years.
One of the lawyers in our firm participated in the initial same-sex-couple adoption in this state and together we have handled at least 150 such adoptions. DCYF and the Family Court have been in the forefront of promoting families regardless of sexual orientation. What
matters for all children is a warm, loving and secure home that can provide for emotional and developmental needs. Such homes are difficult enough to find without precluding prospective parents because of discriminatory considerations.
As long as there is a bonding between prospective parent(s) and child and it is in the best interests of the child to be adopted by the petitioner(s), Family Court will grant such petitions. Given recent political developments in other states on same-sex marriages and adoptions,
we can be proud in Rhode Island of our commitment to equality and our focus on families and children.
SUSAN M. FINK
* We wrote this letter to Providence Journal to clarify some statements made in the news about National Adoption Day.