Skip to comments.Judge's concerns were legitimate, attorney says (homosexual adopting 11 y.o. boy)
Posted on 01/03/2005 5:33:26 AM PST by Born Conservative
Gay man claims Chester Muroski could have had ulterior reasons for executing a delay in a boy's adoption.
HAZLETON - Don Murray was thrilled the day his adoption of an 11-year-old boy was approved, but he was far less happy with a Luzerne County judge he claims caused an unnecessary delay. Murray, who is gay, said he believes his sexuality prompted orphans court judge Chester Muroski to initially refuse to approve the adoption at an Oct. 18 hearing. Muroski halted the proceeding and appointed attorney John Bellino to review the case, resulting in a more than two-month delay.
Muroski, through an employee, said he could not comment on the case because adoption proceedings are confidential. But Bellino said he was "shocked" when he learned Murray was questioning Muroski's objectivity. He said the judge had other, legitimate reasons for asking him to look into the case to ensure the adoption was in the child's best interest.
Murray, of Grant Street, had taken the boy in through a foster care referral made by Philadelphia's child welfare agency, which had custody. The child was placed with Murray and his partner, Donnie Strawser, about three years ago.
Murray said he and Strawser, 42, had undergone all required background checks and home examinations. All agencies involved with the child had signed off on the adoption, he said, and so he thought the Oct. 18 hearing was a mere formality.
But Murray said he ran into a problem when Muroski, seeing Murray was single, asked him if he resided with anyone.
"When I said 'his name is Donnie,' he (Muroski) rolled his eyes and called my lawyer to the bench and said 'I don't like surprises,' Murray said. "It wasn't like we hid this. From the very beginning, we were very open."
Bellino said he understands Murray was upset, but finds it hard to believe Muroski's actions were based on a bias against homosexuals. He noted Muroski has previously approved at least a dozen other gay adoptions over the past few years.
In Murray's case, Bellino said Muroski was concerned that the 11-year-old boy's biological brother, who was also placed with Murray, had been transferred to another foster care home.
Bellino said the judge wanted him to investigate the circumstances of that transfer before approving the adoption. Bellino said once he determined there was nothing amiss, he recommended the adoption be approved and the judge agreed.
Murray confirmed the boy's brother was transferred because he had difficulty accepting the rules of the home. But he questions if that was Muroski's motivation, noting the issue of the transfer did not come up until later in the proceeding.
Murray said he believes Muroski approved the adoption only after Philadelphia officials called and said they would take the case to court there.
Whatever the true reason, Murray said he's glad the ordeal is over and is now concentrating on adopting a second child, 7-year-old boy, who is also in his care.
"We'll definitely be going through Philadelphia for that," he said.
May God protect this poor 11 year old boy from harm.
Related story in same paper today:
He calls them 'dad'
Gay men add son to their family unit
"What I want is for them to be happy, whatever they turn out to be in life."
HAZLETON - They've been in a committed relationship for nine years, but Don Murray and Donnie Strawser always felt there was something missing.
The same-sex couple worked hard to develop a strong, loving relationship, they said. But their happiness was tempered by an unfulfilled desire each had: to have someone call them "dad."
It took two years, lots of hearings and even more patience, but the men got their wish Dec. 21 when Murray's adoption of Shawn, an 11-year-old foster child for whom he and Strawser were caring, was finalized.
With the adoption, Murray and Strawser join more than 300,000 homosexual men and women nationwide who were identified in the 2000 U.S. Census as raising children, said Sean Cahill of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in New York.
While it remains a controversial societal debate, gay adoptions have gained approval through courts nationwide, Cahill said. Currently only two states, Florida and Mississippi, ban adoptions by homosexuals, he said.
In Luzerne County, orphans court judge Chester Muroski has approved at least a dozen other adoptions to gay men or women over the past several years, said John Bellino and Michael Shucosky, two attorneys who have been court-appointed to represent children in adoption and custody proceedings.
Officially, Murray, 34, said he is listed as Shawn's adoptive parent, with Strawser, 42, considered a "supportive spouse."
The couple, of Grant Street, said they love children and thought about adopting for years. Having once been a foster child, Murray said he chose to work through the foster care system because he wanted to help children from troubled homes overcome their problems.
"There are hundreds of thousands of kids in Pennsylvania sitting in group homes and foster homes who desperately need someone to love them. That's what Donnie and I are trying to do with these children, show them caring and love," Murray said.
On a recent afternoon Shawn was engrossed in watching a movie on the portable DVD player he got for Christmas. On the shy side, he wasn't interested in talking with a reporter.
The boy has lived with Murray and Strawser three years as a foster child. Now that his adoption is complete, Murray is working on adopting a second foster child, Angel, a 7-year-old deaf boy, for whom they've been caring. The couple also has two other foster children, a 17-year-old female and a 16-year-old male.
The children, all from Philadelphia, were placed with Murray and Strawser through the Institute for Human Resources and Services, a foster care placement agency in Kingston. The men said they underwent background checks and are subject to frequent home inspections.
"Any foster parent will tell you, it's not easy. You're expected to hold yourself to a much higher level than the average family," Murray said.
Theirs is not a typical household, they admit, but they do all they can to make it feel that way.
"We cook, we clean, we do laundry just like everyone else," Strawser said.
"I was up until 2 a.m. Christmas Eve baking cookies," Murray noted.
For entertainment, they take the kids to the movies, the mall and one of Strawser's favorite places, amusement parks.
"I'm a big amusement park fan. It's nice to have kids because he won't get on any of the rides," Strawser said with a laugh, referring to Murray.
That doesn't mean there have not been challenges. The couple had to take sign language classes to communicate with Angel, who is completely deaf.
"We had sign language books all over the house. Now we have it down pretty good and don't have to grab the books every time we talk to him," Murray said.
Angel also initially had behavioral problems, especially at school.
"In the beginning I was there three or four times a week. Now it's maybe one time a year," Murray said.
The men, both of whom work at an area home improvement store, get financial help through daily stipends paid for each foster child. Currently, that totals about $100 per day.
Murray said that seems like a lot, but each child has special medical and other needs that must be met. Money was never an issue for he and Strawser.
"They could say to me tomorrow we're not paying you any more and I'd say fine," Murray said.
As they try to build a home for the children, the couple said they also know some people frown upon the idea of gay people raising families.
"The big fear is that gays will try to make the child gay. That certainly is not the case here," Murray said. "I don't push a kid one way or another. What I want is for them to be happy, whatever they turn out to be in life."
The couple say they've never been the type to openly display their affection for one another, preferring to keep that part of their lives private.
"No couple, straight or gay, should ever let kids know what happens behind closed doors. What happens is between us."
Today they're focused on building a healthy, happy home for the children and themselves.
"There is nothing we wouldn't do for these kids. If we lost them you might as well take my heart with them," Murray said.
And they hope their story will motivate other local gay couples to consider adopting.
"Maybe this will let more gay people know it can be done. There are so many kids out there who need help," Strawser said.
TIMES LEADER STAFF PHOTOS/FRED ADAMS
Angel, 7, hopes to soon become the second adopted son of Don Murray, a gay man who recently completed the adoption of 11-year-old Shawn, seen in the background.
Don Murray, 34, of Hazleton helps his recently adopted son, Shawn, 11, work a portable DVD player the boy received for Christmas. Murray, who is gay, said his new son has brought a new joy to his life.
they ain't got no shame do they? why is it that homosexual men always try to adopt BOYS, not girls? I'm sorry for the few that are sincere about parenting but it's better to be safe than sorry.
Murray confirmed the boy's brother was transferred because he had difficulty accepting the rules of the home.
And the rules were?
OMG! This poor child, and now they are planning on getting another one. Who is protecting the children? They are only protecting the queers.
Before I joined this forum I was not aware of how rampant homosexuality is. How they are cramming it down our throats at every angle they can. It's like a wildfire out of control. Lord help us.
This is going to take time to undo. The homosexuals have used the courts to their advantage for decades.
I'd like to see the word, tolerance, deleted from the discussion and replaced with tolerate. We have been told that we must show tolerance which implies acceptance rather than tolerate which means to endure something or someone unpleasant.
I can tolerate someone's inclination, but I have no tolerance with the wholesale destruction of societal mores.
I should've read the entire thing before responding, sorry.
He will. Count on it. This crap won't last forever.
Words fail me here, prayers for this one.
If you want on/off the list let me know.
I totally agree. Can you imagine the outcry that would occur if a single heterosexual middle aged man tried to adopt a 12 year old girl....would never happen.
These people are clueless and should be locked up.
"With the adoption, Murray and Strawser join more than 300,000 homosexual men and women nationwide who were identified in the 2000 U.S. Census as raising children, said Sean Cahill of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in New York."
Sorry, but I don't ever recall that the census asked whether anyone was homosexual or heterosexual.
God save the children.
It's one thing for two consenting adults to live a homosexual life, but the 11 year old boy is a minor and has no legal say in the arrangement.
What happens to these boys after they're adopted is something we never hear about. There seems to be no data or stats that would show how these boys are abused.
"Cramming it (homosexuality) down our throats"
You have a way with words!!!
If you can't procreate, you molest and transform minds... thus "passing on" your "sexual preference".
How much better if society lets you adopt a young mind, and bring him into your home, for you to shape, and mold and create in your own image?
Homosexual behavior is NOT compatible with Military Service.
That is the Law and ought be policy.Equally True by reason
of their choices and Lifestyle-and world view homosexual
behavior ought disqualify those who choose to live an unnatural,anti-social, self and socially destructive lifestyle ought NOT be placed in any position of trust. Any
unjust Judge who would place children in a homosexual home
unjustly mandates they be exposed to that which is against
nature and Natures God. IT is unreasonable to believe that
homosexuals could provide for the best interest of a child
when they expose all who care about them to the increased
incidence of violence,and mental disorders, and drug abuse,and disease,and infidelity.Social Science documents
the lifestle is unsafe for anyone --especially the children.
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