Judy Mitchell and Robyn Moreland are the kind of couple that should never have problems becoming parents.
Marriage has been a major roadblock for same-sex couples looking to adopt in the U.S., and the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage isn't the be-all and end-all solution to their problems. This family is no exception.
Both women knew they wanted to have kids, and they found someone to share that
with in each other.
Judy and Robyn met at a school they both taught at and have been together for roughly 13 years. When Judy failed to get pregnant via in-vitro fertilization, they looked to adoption to build their family.
They now have seven adorable children. Most of them are young enough that they don't have memories of their lives before being adopted, but the couple's oldest children do.
Judy and Robyn have an infinite amount of unconditional love for their children.
Don't just take my word for it, take Chase's:
Plus, being out of the foster care system will make it much easier for Chase and his siblings find jobs and pursue higher education in the future:
"I personally have friends who are still in group homes right now, and I know it is a lot more difficult for them to get a job or to get the financial aid to go to college," says Chase. "When I moved in with Judy and Robyn, there's more likelihood that I will be able to access those resources that are available to me."
One of the biggest challenges of all?
Robyn is the only legal guardian of all seven children, meaning Judy's rights as a parent are few to none.
What would happen if Robyn, who ended up applying as the guardian, became seriously ill? What if something happened to one of the kids and Judy was barred from coming to their aid because she isn't their legal guardian?
Robyn describes the extra precautions they had to take to protect their children:
"We had to go and get wills, have everything set out legally so that if something were to happen to me, the kids would be able to stay with Judy because otherwise the state would take them."
This summer's marriage equality ruling was historic. But gay couples are still fighting for their right to adopt.
Some recent (and pretty eye-opening) challenges include:
- Michigan passed a law allowing groups that contract with the state government to deny service to any couple or individual that "conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs".
- Mississippi has a law that outright bans gay couples from adopting.
- Alabama, Florida, and Texas have considered similar bills.
- Gay couples are currently allowed to adopt in Alabama, but they will have to wait: the law requires same-sex couples to be married for at least a year before they can adopt.
- Catholic adoption agencies in Illinois and Massachusetts shut down so they would not have to adopt to gay couples.
Yet, over 400,000 children were in the U.S. foster care system as recently as 2013.
Judy and Robyn's kids found their family, and their family should be recognized as such.
Watch them tell their story here: