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Thursday, August 30, 2007

To All the Homophobes, Hatemongers & Hypocrites

Gay couple become first in Colorado to adopt children

August 29, 2007

On Monday, Morgan and Evinn had no legal parents. Today, they have two — both moms.


"People say they need a mother and a father ... They had a mother and a father — and they abused them."


"People say, they need two parents. We say, they've got two parents," says Jeannie DiClementi, who along with life partner Mary Ross, have become the first gay couple to adopt children together under a new state law. "This is a victory for children."

Colorado already permitted adoption by married couples or by singles — straight or gay. But for singles with partners, the partner has not been able to adopt unless the couple married, which gays can't legally do in Colorado.

In May, Gov. Bill Ritter signed the so-called second-parent adoption law, which allows same-sex couples, as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives, to jointly adopt children.

"This law gives children in a one-parent family a chance to grow up in a two-parent home," Ritter said then. "This law will give children a better chance to succeed."

Morgan, 4, and her 21-month -old sister — Ross' great-nieces — desperately needed another chance. Both kids were severely neglected and abused by their young parents, who preferred playing video games to caring for their children, Ross says.

The girls' mother and father, Ross' nephew, had been on the social service radar for years, but efforts to help them proved futile.

how many special-needs children have they adopted? How many of them are foster parents to children who have been neglected and abused? People want to take away the ability for same sex couples to adopt, but I've yet to hear anybody put a plan in place to protect the children

In August 2005, Adams County caseworkers tracked down Ross, 45, and DiClementi, 57, who had moved from Colorado to Fort Wayne, Ind. for new jobs.

At that point, they were the only family members with the resources and stabilitiy to take the girls.

Would they take a special-needs child? And her baby sister, who had serious medical problems?

The couple didn't hesitate.

"Sisters should be together," says DiClementi, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at Purdue University.

By May 2006, both children were living with them in Indiana. But last December, a judge ordered the kids back to Colorado, saying that the county had failed to properly document parental abuse.

"We went through the ceiling. It was unbelievable," DiClementi says. Ross, a social worker, quit her job and left graduate school to move back to Colorado with the children. With the help of friends, who donated furniture and toys, the couple maintained two homes, with DiClementi traveling to Denver every few weeks.

In February, a court-appointed advocate for the children presented the judge with evidence that their birth mother had posted their photos on a Web site she maintained featuring bondage, sadomasochism and violent sex. Both parents subsequently gave up their parental rights, clearing the way for DiClementi and Ross to adopt the girls, which became official Tuesday.

"People say, well, they need a mother and a father," DiClementi says. "They had a mother and a father — and they abused them."

Although the girls have thrived with them, it hasn't been easy. Morgan, who repeatedly banged her head and clawed herself when she first came to them, is still prone to self-injury and has various developmental delays. Evinn suffered a stroke before birth and has respiratory trouble and other physical problems.

"I want to ask some of those critics (of the law), how many special-needs children have they adopted? How many of them are foster parents to children who have been neglected and abused? People want to take away the ability for same sex couples to adopt, but I've yet to hear anybody put a plan in place to protect the children," DiClementi says. "For them, it's not about the children. It's about the politics."

For Ross and DiClementi, it's about making sure two little girls have emotional and financial security if something happens to one of their parents. It's about being able to travel home to Indiana and back to Colorado without asking permission from a court or a county.

It's about being able to tell people proudly, "These are our daughters."

source: RockyMountainNews.com

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