Many of our readers wanted to make sure they were kept updated on the gay couple from Key West, Florida that sued the state so they could adopt their foster son. The couple won the case when the judge declared the Florida adoption ban unconstitutional. Now the couple is speaking out.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Wayne Larue Smith and partner Daniel Skahen talk about their family and more details about the case are revealed. The article is reporting that the state attorney general's office will not appeal the order, which means the decision will not be reviewed by a higher court and therefore hold no sway in future cases. In the past, the attorney general's office has argued in court records they are "upholding public morality and providing for the healthy development of foster children by ensuring they are raised by dual-sex parents."
Much more, including a video interview link with the couple, after the jump...
In the interview, the couple talks about their fight to adopt their now 12 year-old foster son:
The two men have fostered more than 30 children since DCF accepted their application nine years ago, from a 2-day-old newborn to a 17-year-old. Still, there was something missing.
The little boy who had come to their home in 2001 wanted a real father, Smith said. Not a foster dad. Not a permanent guardian -- a legal nicety that occurred in 2004 granting Smith the ability to make decisions on the boy's behalf.
At the doctor's office, at the grocery store, at an airline ticket counter, the boy seemed to visibly deflate every time a stranger asked Smith, ''Is that your son?'' Smith said.
One part of the interview I found revealing about the hurdles LGBT parents have to face came from the boy's teacher, who openly talked about looking for things the parents were doing wrong just because they were gay:
The 12-year-old boy's teacher testified the couple were among the most involved and nurturing parents in her class. ''I must confess,'' she told a judge, ``the first year I had him, knowing he was of gay parents, I looked for things, and I found nothing.''
As a foster parent in the state of Florida, I can certainly vouch for the higher standards and difficulties same-sex couples face in the state. The very presence of the ban on adoption creates an atmosphere of distrust around gay parents, much like what the teacher alludes to.
Watch a video interview from the couple here.
When it comes to being a family against all odds in Florida, perhaps Skahen says it best:
We were a family going into this. We're just more of a solidified family now.
Cross-posted on Bilerico-Florida.