I haven't written about getting Woody registered because what should have been one of the biggest milestones for Heidi and I, ended up being one of the worst experiences of my life.
Everything Heidi and I had planned and worked towards, the research, the conception, the wedding had all been for nothing. That's how it felt at the time.
Being told you were not your sons parent, was undoubtedly devastating.
We arrived at the registry office, I had every piece of ID I owned, including our wedding certificate. We sat down and all was seemingly well. The lady took both our ID's and then left to ask her colleague something. Heidi and I unaware of what she was about to return and say.
We were watching out the window and the most beautiful and glamorous Indian wedding ceremony. They definitely do it the best!
The woman returned with the worst possible news I could hear. It was literally my worst fear! "Unfortunately, Kirsty, you cannot be named on Woody's birth certificate" "What? No! Why?. We've researched, we've done it all correctly!"
Because Woody was conceived prior to our marriage ceremony and without the help of a licensed IVF clinic, I had no rights to his parental guardianship. It was brutal. I fought back with everything I have read. We were married before his birth, how could this be? I played the same, if not a greater role, than any father; I put him there, I inseminated. He was mine.
I cried like a little girl. The woman left to call her Head Office to get all the facts and figures. As it turns out, if Heidi and I were civilly partnered as opposed to married, it seems the story would be different. Ironically!
She returned again to say the information she had given us was indeed correct. And I would not be named on the birth certificate. Her advice was for me to adopt him. That's right. I was to adopt my own son. Now, I'm fully aware that biologically I'm not his father, and I never will be and I will never try to be. He has his biological father that he will be in contact with and know from the offset, which is more than any licensed clinic could offer. We chose to do it this way with Woody's best intentions at heart! We wanted him to grow up knowing who his father is and the gift he had given us.
Admittedly, by now I was a complete mess. I became quite agitated and quite honestly, I was rude. "So, Woody is quite clearly a white Caucasian male, if Heidi had bought in one of the men from the Indian wedding and said that's his father, you wouldn't have batted an eyelash, but you're questioning because I'm female!" Granted, the woman was speechless but credit where credit is due, she was very sympathetic. But that didn't help my heartache! No father has to prove they are their child's father. So why now?
There has to be a limit, I guess if they didn't have these precautions in place then women could walk in with their best friends putting them on the birth certificate. However, if it's one rule for one, it should be the same for the other too. If I have to prove I am his parent then so should any male! Right?!
Heidi signed all the relevant paperwork and was asked how many birth certificates she would like, she looked across to me, and her heartache was just as obvious to see as mine. I replied "None, I'll get 50 copies of the adoption certificates with my name on thank you!" Heidi accepted 1 full and one short certificate.
I cried for hours, a couple of days in fact! I couldn't believe I was basically told he wasn't a viable parent regardless of our relationship/marriage/research/conception. We did everything if not more than a heterosexual couple just for this one piece of documentation that to be honest, I am fully aware, won't really matter once he gets a passport!
But actually, the effects of me not being on the birth certificate are frightening. It would mean, if anything, anything happened to Heidi, I had no rights over Woody. If he was for any reason seriously ill, I would not be classed as immediate family to see him. He would be automatically given to Heidi's mum. Which luckily for us, she is the most supportive person of our decisions and would more than willingly hand him back to me to care for. I'd probably move in with her if anything happened to Heidi to be honest haha!! I mean I am even incapable of peeling potatoes by myself! But what if she wasn't like that? What about those families who are torn apart in these situations. Then I could potentially never see my son again!
I spent that week on the phone to citizens advice, the adoption agency, social services and solicitors. I was told I couldn't adopt Woody. Adoption means that a named parent needs to relinquish parental rights so that they can be passed to another. As Heidi was the only person named on his birth certificate I would effectively being adopting Woody from Heidi which is what we didn't want!
The solicitors, Eric Robinsons, were amazing! They gave us free advice, they looked into it and phoned us back with an answer, for free, that would not even bring them business. They were incredible.
As it is, Heidi would have to give me parental rights as the second female parent. They directed us to the forms online, how to fill them out, what court to take them to get the rubber stamp, the court fees of £215 and where to send them after. Following all that, we need to re-register Woody with both Heidi and I on the Birth Certificate.
So £215 to have my name where it should rightfully be! I mean Woody is worth the world so £215 is a drop in the ocean. But it's principle.
So we took a trip to the courts, who hadn't come across this before. But after stealing a judge to get advice, it was resolved within the hour, amazingly! The forms were signed and stamped and the staff were super! "How would you like us to pay?" "Oh, you don't need to pay!" It was an amazing day. You only have to pay the court fees if parental rights are disputed, and this wasn't the case in our situation. We know who Woody's parents are, there's no ifs and buts about it!
We had to get a couple of copies of his birth certificate, so it's quite lucky Heidi accepted the copies really! To send away with the signed and stamped forms. And that's what we've done. Last week I sent the forms and we are currently awaiting the paperwork back so we can proceed with re-registering Woody.
Re-registering him is no rush, now Heidi has given me parental rights it eliminates all the detrimental effects of not being named on the birth certificate. It now means I have just as much say in his medical treatment, his school choices and his upbringing as Heidi. That's a relief if anything was to happen to Heidi! Which it won't, it can't, because it's a fact that I'd be lost without her. I rarely cook, because I'm a rubbish cook, I rarely do the washing, because Heidi's all over that and complaints that I don't even fold the washing when I'm rarely asked to take it off the line! Like seriously, I manage to flood the house when I shower let alone look after myself and Woody without her!! But it's nice to know I'll have my place on his birth certificate where it should always have been!
Woody has two parents, that absolutely dote on him, he was 100% planned and wanted and conceived out of love. Should it really matter our gender?! Hopefully, now same sex marriage is legal, the other laws surrounding it will catch up soon and this won't be the case for much longer, but at least there's a way around it, no matter how long winded. It's worth it. Woody is worth it :)
- Hi, I'm Kirsty. I'm 23 years old from Southampton, UK. I studied Forensic Biology at University and graduated in 2014. I work as a Assistant Store Manager in retail because I love it, I love people and it allows me to spend more time with my family :)I have been with my wife, Heidi, since February 2012, married since April 2016 and have a beautiful baby boy, Woody, together born 25/07/16.We're a very active family, we have a little Westie, Trudy, too. So we love dog walking, holidays and lots of adventure!!I've blogged our journey through planning our baby, trying, conceiving, pregnancy and onwards in the hope of helping others fulfil their dreams as we did. Find link below. Enjoy :) and please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions :)
Thursday, 29 September 2016
"You cannot be named on the birth certificate"
Hi, I'm Kirsty. I'm 23 years old from Southampton, UK. I studied Forensic Biology at University and graduated in 2014. I work as a Assistant Store Manager in retail because I love it, I love people and it allows me to spend more time with my family :)
I have been with my wife, Heidi, since February 2012, married since April 2016 and have a beautiful baby boy, Woody, together born 25/07/16.
We're a very active family, we have a little Westie, Trudy, too. So we love dog walking, holidays and lots of adventure!!
I've blogged our journey through planning our baby, trying, conceiving, pregnancy and onwards in the hope of helping others fulfil their dreams as we did. Find link below. Enjoy :) and please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions :)