A history of crime and drug addiction spanning two decades should not bar a man from being eligible to adopt, said a New York surrogate judge who credited the man’s attempt to turn his life around.

Since leaving prison for the last time in 2000, the prospective father has “demonstrably devoted himself to rebuilding his life,” Nassau County Surrogate John B. Riordan ruled in Matter of the Adoption of Unknown (pdf), 362, allowing the man and his wife to take the first step toward becoming adoptive parents.

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