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Bill and Mary and Aaron

By Nottage and Ward on March 22, 2019

Throughout the last decade, we’ve marked the milestone 50th anniversary of many significant events of the 1960s that altered our lives: the March on Washington; the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, John Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy; the beginning of the Vietnam War; Medicare signed into law; and the Voting Rights Act established—the list is staggering.

And as we close out this decade, February 13th of 2019 represents the 50th anniversary of a meeting involving three people you likely have never heard of, but whose importance puts them on this list. Their names are Bill Jones, Mary Davidson, and a 2-year-old boy named Aaron.

Bill Jones, a gay man living in San Francisco in the 1960s, had always wanted to be a dad. He grew up in a broken home taking care of his younger brother, instilling in him a sense of nurturing, caring, and connection that he desperately wanted to share with a child. In short, he was the ideal parent.

He became an elementary schoolteacher, allowing him to play an influential role in the lives of many children, but he still ached to have a child of his own. After the Cuban Revolution, he heard of unwanted children and visited Havana to inquire about adopting a child. But social intolerance was in full force in Castro’s Cuba, and Jones was forced to the leave the country. He later tried to adopt a woman’s unwanted child, but faced insurmountable legal battles at the time.

Resolute, he contacted a local adoption agency, where he came in contact with Mary Davidson, a social worker who firmly believed that homosexuals had just as much love to give a child as any heterosexual parent. A strong advocate on the inside who believed in Bill and knew how to navigate the system, Mary was able to put Bill in contact with a little boy named Aaron, who was struggling to find a permanent home.

In a story on NPR from 2015, Jones said, “He was darling, but he had been turned down by about five couples. His mother was a heroin addict. When she gave birth to him, he went through withdrawal himself. And by about two years old, he knew no words at all.”

Even though Jones turned down Aaron at first, he changed his mind. “You know, children know when they’ve been rejected. So, I found myself down at FAO Schwarz. I had bought a teddy bear. I went back to the adoption agency and I said, ‘I want to give a present to that kid.’ Aaron heard my voice and came running across the room and threw his arms around my legs. And I just cried.”

Quietly, 50 years ago this February, a loving man in California gave a lost, lonely child a warm, caring home. We at Nottage and Ward, LLP, celebrate this moment in LGBT history, and invite you to call our Chicago LGBT family law attorneys if you have any legal questions. Our number is (312) 332-2915.

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