Actually, I think we do know.
We have always known that as a lesbian couple we are lucky to live in NZ, at least compared to a lot of other places. We know now that as a lesbian couple ttc, we are not only lucky but also extremely thankful for living in NZ. Especially after reading about other people’s legal struggles, particularly in terms of rights and responsibilities of known donors/non-bio parents.
Nearly 3 years ago, civil unions became legal in NZ for same sex couples. While many see civil unions as a ‘second-class’ marriage, it has also brought with it a whole raft of legislative changes to our benefit.
This included the removal of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ from birth certificates, to be replaced with ‘parent one’ and parent two’. This means that, because I am K’s partner and we are embarking on this together, we will both be named on the birth certificate right from the start. We will therefore both be legally recognised as the parents without any adoption hassles.
Also, because we went through the clinic, when BD donated he signed a legal waiver that he was relinquishing all rights and responsibilities to any children subsequently born.
Our arrangement with BD is that K and I have full rights and responsibilities to any children; we are not asking for any financial support in any way shape or form, and as such BD does not have any role in decision-making for any children. We were very upfront about this the whole way through, and to be blunt BD had no choice but to agree to it if he wanted to help us.
That said, we do want to encourage a relationship between BD and our children, they will know he is their father, as will our friends and family. I can’t say that he will be the father will be in name only, because we do want them to have a special relationship, but it won’t be father in the traditional sense of the word.
At the end of the day, while we are encouraging a close relationship, the children will be OURS; mine and K’s. I still have struggles with the concept of another person being biologically closer to the children, and I probably always will, but I have realised that most of this stems from how other people might perceive it. Friends of mine from uni that are really closer to BD – will they see the child as his and not mine? It is also lessened by the relationship I have with BD. While I don’t like the idea of someone having this bio link; when I think about BD having this link – it doesn’t seem quite so bad.
At the end of the day, I have to remember that there are two truths which remain;
- K and I will be the ones that are there day in/day out for these children. We will be the ones that they will know they can rely on, we will be the number one source of love, comfort and family.
- This is about K and I deciding to make a family. If one of us had decided that we didn’t want to do this, or didn’t want to use BD, then it wouldn’t be happening. If BD decided that he didn’t want to do this then, as much as we love him, it wouldn’t be the end of the dream -we would find another way.