Meet the First Gay Dads to Legally Adopt in Puerto Rico
After the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, Jorge and Joel were finally able to fulfill two of their dreams: marriage and fatherhood.
Policeman Jorge Vázquez Ramos and nurse Joel Andrades Rivera were married in August 2015 following the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. The Puerto Rican couple had been together for 10 years, but it wasn't until this ruling that two amazing developments occurred in their lives: they were able to marry and become dads.
Jorge and Joel had been in the process of trying to adopt since 2009 but same-sex adoption was illegal in Puerto Rico until 2015. They had begun the process of international adoption but as soon as the Supreme Court made their ruling, the two applied to adopt in their home country. In November 2015 the Department of Family organized an event for children in state custody to meet with prospective gay parents. As Joel was unable to attend, Jorge went along alone. There, he meet siblings Yair and Alaya.
Jorge was immediately struck by their humility and sincerity. The siblings cared for one another, played well with each other, and felt free to be themselves around him. It only took one encounter for Jorge to know that this brother and sister were meant to be his children.
The feeling was mutual, too, for as soon as the meeting with Jorge was over, Yair and Alaya told their social worker that they hoped to be adopted by Jorge.
In December Yair and Alaya were able to meet Joel, whom they immediatly deemed "Papá." The dads prepared their home for their children, writing their names in each of their rooms. When the children arrived at their new home, Jorge and Joel remember their faces lighting up with excitement. They were finally home. Once the adoption was finalized, Yair and Alaya became the first children to be legally adopted by a same-sex couple in Puerto Rico.
To Yair and Alaya, it does not matter that they have two dads. Yair believes his family is no different to one with a mother and a father, and Alaya says the care she receives from her two dads is the same as other parents.