Like so many parents, Jessie and Cooper Odell spend their days helping their 8-year-old with homework, taking him to the park, playing football or attending church on Sundays.
But their journey to becoming a typical family was anything but routine.
"Until recently I always felt like I had to look over my back,'' said Jessie Odell, 39, a Palm Beach event planner who has cared for the boy since July and is finally able to adopt him. "God has finally given us what we've been fighting for.''
For 33 years, Florida barred gays and lesbians from adopting. That changed last October, when Florida's Third District Court of Appeal in Miami ruled the law unenforceable and the state declined to challenge it. Since then, family law attorneys estimate more than 100 men and women in South Florida's gay and lesbian community have pending adoption cases.
"The phones have been ringing off the hook,'' said family law attorney Elizabeth Schwartz, of Miami. "It's been 33 years of pent up desire,'' she said.
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