With great nervousness and excitement, we had our day in the Family Court recently, where we petitioned for parental orders so that the non-bio-dad (NBD) of Evelyn and Gaia can have the same rights afforded to him as a "normal" couple.
After being shown into a courtroom, the Registrar started by saying that she usually never reads the case notes before a hearing, but for some reason she read ours, and point-blank said that she and the Senior Registrar did not have the powers to grant our request.
She then went on to say that, however, she had managed to find a free court and a judge, who was waiting upstairs "now", and would hear our case!
Trevor and I, lawyer Peter Berry (Berry Family Law) and our Barrister, Susan Buchanan, waited upstairs until the courtroom was ready. We then went in and sat in front of His Hon. Justice Cronan.
His Honor said that he was not sure he could grant our request, but with some assistance from Ms Buchanan, you could see the little light go off in his head, that he could actually grant the orders!
As we went through "the process", you could almost see him ticking off boxes on his list, and after some evidence provided by us on the stand (now THAT was a nerve-wracking experience!) he said something along the lines of ... blah blah blah "Mr Elwell and Mr West - who I will now refer to as 'the parents' ... !!!!!
At that stage I can't exactly remember what went on. I'm sure Trevor has a bruise on his knee from where I was squeezing so hard, and the tears were definitely starting to roll down our faces ...
WE ARE NOW BOTH OFFICIALLY PARENTS!!!!!
Why did we have to do this?
Because we, as a same-sex couple, cannot marry in Australia, we do not automatically get the same rights over children as a heterosexual couple do when they marry. We also cannot adopt, second-parent adopt, or cross-adopt ... so basically, the NBD had NO official rights over the girls. What happened if the bio-dad (BD) was in an accident? The NBD can be refused entry as he is technically not "family", he also cannot sign any paperwork in regard to the welfare and well-being of the girls.
But now ... woo-hoo!!!
Our latest scans ...
We have also just received our 28-weeks scans of "Baby R" ... growing nicely, and still expecting to be delivered the last week of September.
A quick update on the girls ...
Evelyn - three top teeth, three bottom
Gaia - two bottom teeth, and two top teeth (after a few interrupted nights of sleep!)
Gaia can now also sign "more" and "cat" ... clever bunny she is! (no, there are no hearing problems, but we have been using Australian Baby Hands since the girls were newborns as a means of communication).
It's only a couple of weeks until we all fly to the UK so the girls can meet Trevor's relatives - especially his 97yo grandfather (who Skypes and was busy rebuilding his computer last time we spoke to him!).
We are back for a week or so, and then off to India again! Tickets are booked, visas are being organised ... watch this space!