A gay couple from Virginia have gone to extraordinary lengths to adopt, after they moved from their home state to Maryland and then back again in order to bypass laws explicitly banning same-sex adoption.
Capital News Service reports Doug and Chris Maulden-Locke had to wait eight months to get through pre-adoption background checks after they moved to Maryland, and only had 10 days to find a baby they wanted to adopt.
The couple said they were uncertain what would happen when they went before a judge in Montgomery County in February.
Dough Maulden-Locke said: “We were in suits, (our future daughter Mya) was in a dress, the birth mother was there, and the judge said, ‘I reviewed the paperwork and I see no other choice but to approve this adoption’.”
“It was the happiest words we heard all year,” he added.
In Maryland, there is no explicit prohibition on same-sex couple adoptions, which led courts to interpret their legality differently.
Until recently, it was rare for judges to approve same-sex adoptions anywhere in Maryland but Baltimore city.
Janice Goldwater, director of Adoptions Together, an adoption agency and resource for families in Maryland, said: “It used to be judge-by-judge, but that’s changed. As a society we have moved towards a lot more recognition where we see many different forms of stable, functional and healthy family systems, and we see legal protections now following.”
Chris Maulden-Locke said: “I think in the past two years, with same-sex marriage passing, it’s certainly become much more acceptable, much more understood. I’m just amazed. We’ve never had any sort of discomfort or made to feel awkward in preschool or daycare.”
On finding a birth mother, the Maulden-Lockes said they did not have to wait long to be selected after they passed a background check and a home study.
Doug Maulden-Locke said: “We had been told that a biracial, same-sex couple should expect to wait two to three years. But it was just 10 days later, which is unheard of.”
Chris also commended the court’s expediency, saying the judge was happy to grant the unmarried, same-sex couple the adoption of their now 2-year-old daughter, Mya.
“I don’t get a lot of happy occasions in court,” the judge said, according to Chris Maulden-Locke.
Chris and Doug, who have now moved back to Virginia, said they are also planning to legally get married.
They added if it didn’t require them to leave Virginia, they would adopt again.