In 2012, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse weren’t planning on being a part of history; they just wanted to adopt each other’s children and be a family in the eyes of the law.
But the Michigan couple’s case challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban ended up among those before the U.S. Supreme Court when it issued its historic ruling in June. Now, months after they earned the legal right to marry, the women finally realized their dream: they formally adopted five children Thursday in an Oakland County Circuit courtroom.
“We’ve made changes throughout the United States and we’re very proud of that, but I think our proudest moment is this one right here,” DeBoer said Thursday, the Associated Press reported.
The registered nurses who served as foster parents to children with special needs are now the legal parents of Nolan, 6; Jacob, 5; Ryanne, 5; Rylee, 3; and Kennedy, 1, the Detroit News reported.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet — we’re just ready to be a family and get on with life,” DeBoer told the newspaper.
DeBoer and Rowse had been dating for about 12 years when they first embarked on their legal journey; a car crash prompted them to worry about the future of their children should one parent die. They learned that, under Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, one wouldn’t necessarily get custody of the other’s children.
Their adoption case ended up before U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman, who urged them to instead challenge the state’s gay marriage ban.
“By no means did we set out to be trailblazers,’’ DeBoer told The Post’s Jerry Markon in January. “Taking on the marriage ban seemed like a huge battle, and it still is, but the ban isn’t right. It harms families like ours, so we decided we needed to do it.’’
In June, the high court ruled that same-sex couples had a legal right to marry. Two months later, DeBoer and Rowse married, MLive reported.
And then their four-year odyssey ended with an emotional 15-minute ceremony in Judge Karen McDonald’s courtroom, where she asked the two women if they were ready to take on being parents.
“I’m honored to do it,” McDonald said as she began, the Detroit News reported. “What a long road. Let’s get started.”