Relatives and friends wept in joy and cheered as at least four gay male couples carried or walked with their children to a stage at the D.C. Superior Court on Saturday, Nov. 17, where judges signed papers finalizing the adoption of their kids.
With D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and a contingent of family court judges, social workers, and lawyers looking on, the gay couples joined at least 25 straight couples or single parents who had their children’s adoptions finalized during the city’s 26th Annual Adoption Day ceremony.
“The ceremony is designed to celebrate the joy of adoption and encourage area residents to consider adopting or fostering a child in the District’s public child welfare system,” said a statement released by the Superior Court and the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, which facilitates adoptions in the city.
Among the couples participating in the ceremony were Reginald Wilson and his husband Wesley McCammon, who recently moved from Mississippi to the D.C. area, where they adopted Reginald Jr., 9, and his biological sister, Regina, 10.
As the family was introduced by the ceremony’s emcee, NBC News 4 anchor Barbara Harrison, Wilson wept uncontrollably, saying later he was overcome by joy at the columniation of his and his husband’s dream of becoming a family with children.
Gray, who was sitting nearby, walked over to Wilson and hugged him. About a half hour earlier, the mayor delivered remarks praising the city’s adoption program and expressing support for D.C.’s longstanding policy of allowing same-sex couples to adopt.
“We’ve come to an age of enlightenment where, of course, we recognize traditional families and hope that they will adopt,” Gray said. “But also single adults ought to be considered for adoption because they make wonderful adoptive families,” he told the gathering. “And frankly, I’m proud to be in a city where we have approved marriage equality and we have some of the most loving families in the city who are same-sex couples.”
Also participating in the ceremony were D.C. residents Chad Copeland and Kevin “Scooter” Ward and their adopted son Norman, 5; and Silvio Weisner and his husband Jeffrey Weisner and their 10-month-old adopted daughter Madeleine Susannah Weisner.
“She was born just outside of Houston, Texas, and we were there on the day she was born,” Silvio Weisner told the Blade. “We brought her home to D.C. nine days later.”
Judith Sandalow, executive director of the D.C.-based Children’s Law Center, which provides legal services to people seeking to adopt or become foster parents, said the city’s Child and Family Services Agency routinely approves gay people and same-sex couples as foster or adoptive parents.
She said anyone interested in learning more about how to adopt or become a foster parent should contact the agency at 202-671-LOVE or go its adoption/foster care website, adoptdckids.org.