A Florida Rollercoaster: JTL Adoption Story

My wife and I met in November 2004, and were married 5 years later on November 10, 2009. Living in Florida we always accepted that we would never have the rights that others have. No marriage, no adoption for us here in Florida. Then, an article in the local newspaper when Lukas was a couple of months old gave us hope. A lawyer was doing second parent adoptions for same sex couples. 

We called the lawyer and he told us that they were hard to get granted, but it was worth a try. We had to get a home study and gather paperwork. We did background checks and fingerprints and my wife had to answer questions on what kind of parent she would be. It felt intrusive but we would do anything to secure our son’s legal well being. 

Once the paperwork was filed our lawyer told us that there were 4 family court judges that we could be assigned. He said that two of them would for sure grant the adoption, one probably would, and the other was a definite no. Once we filed our paperwork you can probably guess which judge we were assigned, the one who would not grant them. 

We went into panic mode and started looking for lawyers in Miami where they were also being granted. Our lawyers met with us and came up with a plan. They would ask the judge to recuse herself from our case but would also put in a stipulation that she recuse herself from all cases like ours. We were nervous and scared because if she said no and our adoption was denied, we would not be able to be granted an adoption in the state of Florida. Our lawyer told us that if it were denied that our only hope would be to go to South Dakota who granted out of state adoptions and didn’t require residency. 

Thankfully, the judge excused herself and agreed to not take on any same sex second parent adoptions in the future. We scored a win for not only us but for any other couples who might have been assigned to her in the future. 

After much anxiety, stress, and tears, our adoption was granted on December 19, 2012 shortly after our son’s 1st birthday. The judge finally confirmed my wife as our son’s legal parent. We were finally recognized legally as the family we have always been. Even though this confirmed what we already knew, it was such a relief to know that no one could ever take him away from his beloved Mami. Knowing how emotional this journey is, we are about to set out on it again. We would love to make our special guy a big brother, and with love and hope, that will happen. 

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