Pioneers in Florida: The Amador Batten Family Story

Photo Credit: Lisa Rigby

My husband Joel and I always knew we wanted to be fathers.

Living in Florida at the time we knew that the political climate in 2009-2010 was not extremely favorable for two gay men wanting to grow a family. We were so excited when we learned that the ban on gay adoptions was no longer being enforced and we immediately began our journey towards parenthood.

We knew that we believed in adopting already existing children and decided to try to adopt through the state. We were a part of the first exclusively gay and lesbian group to be licensed to foster/adopt in our area. Although we had hoped to adopt through the state, all our placements were reunified with their family.

As fate would have it, while we were still fostering and praying for a permanent placement, we received a phone call. A friend of a friend had a sister that was pregnant and in the process of reaching out to an agency to adopt the baby out. The friend knew that we were hoping to become parents and suggested that we reach out to the young lady.

We met one afternoon at a Starbucks and after a rather interesting, scary and somewhat uncomfortable conversation she said she would like some time to think about whether or not she would consider us as the adoptive family for her unborn child. We exchanged numbers and we waited.

After about a week I received a text with an attached photo, it was a sonogram photo and the text read, here is your son, let’s talk. Joel and I were over the moon with excitement but that was quickly replaced by the reality of the legalities that were to follow. We hired an amazing attorney in Fort Lauderdale that was eager to help us adopt this child. There were many difficult months ahead of us, our attorney wanted us to petition the court as a couple. We were indeed legally married in MA. but Florida would not recognize that marriage, or so we feared.

Our son was born in October of 2011 and by late January we became the first same gendered couple to jointly adopt a child in Broward County Florida.  Our baby slept through the entire adoption hearing but the Judge came by to congratulate us, he told our sleeping boy that his dads were pioneers,  that they had paved the way for other families just like his to be created. He went on to say that one day he would be extremely proud of us and the lengths that we had gone through to be his parents.

That was one of the most amazing days of our lives.

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