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Comptroller Lembo Praises Conn. For Welcoming Gay Adoption

Susan Haigh
Shannon Smith, left, poses with his husband, Ross Stencil, and the couple's two adopted sons, Giovanny, left, and Louis in May at a Department of Children and Families event to encourage same sex couples to apply to become foster and adoptive parents.

Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo is commending the state for making progress towards accepting the idea that gay couples can successfully adopt and raise children.

At the recent Connecticut Voices for Children annual Youth Day at the state Capitol, Lembo said it’s admirable that Governor Dannel Malloy and other state officials are reaching out to recruit same sex couples to provide foster care and adopt children.

He said that was not the case more than 25 years ago when he and his partner Charles Frey tried to adopt two foster children they had been taking care of in New York. Lembo said the judge was unreceptive.

“He said that a traditional – my word – two-parent family had not been identified. That the social service district had done an inadequate job of trying to find a real family for these kids – that included two parents. And so therefore our petition to adopt was denied.”

They appealed the judge’s denial and it took two years before they were finally approved to adopt the children who by that time were 12 and 14. The children are now adults living on their own.

“There’s nothing quite like being hung up on by a social worker who thinks you’re just trying to find a child to molest. And that’s not my guess, that’s what they told me.”

Lembo and his partner have signed up to be foster parents again, this time just to provide temporary emergency placement for children under the age of 4.

They did so after the state’s Department of Children and Families launched a campaign in May to encourage same sex couples to apply to become foster or adoptive parents.

At that time Connecticut had about 4,000 children in foster care.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.