After living with lesbian mothers since birth, an almost three-year-old Australian girl will be “transitioned” back to her biological family after her birth mother “changed her mind.”
During her pregnancy, Grady, 42, agreed to give same-sex couple Blaze and Darnley her newborn. The couple had been longtime friends of Grady and lived with her while she was pregnant to help run the household. They had tried IVF to start their own family, but it had failed.
The group had a “quasi-adoption” plan drawn up by a lawyer which specified that Grady and her three other children would have “some ongoing relationship” with the child, though there were no specific details.
Grady, Blaze and Darnley are all profoundly deaf and use Auslan sign language to communicate. The father of the newborn is also deaf, but the child and her three other half-siblings have no hearing problems.
Grady said that when she learned she was pregnant, the child’s father would not provide financial support and she wasn’t financially stable so she made the agreement with Blaze and Darnley rather than go through a formal adoption agency. She also said it was important to her that the child be brought up with someone with the same disability as her.
The child was born in June 2013 and Darnley and Blaze took care of the couple immediately. However, a few months later, Grady discovered through a DNA test that a man named Harper was actually the father. He wanted to both have a relationship with his daughter and support her financially. Because of that, Grady changed her mind and wanted her daughter back.
When Grady came to Blaze and Darnley to “reclaim” her child, the couple got authorities involved. The interim judgment at the Federal Circuit Court ordered that the girl live primarily with the coupe.
During the trial, the couple questioned Grady’s motivation for wanting her child back as well as her parenting skills. They said they worried she would change her mind again.
Last month Justice Michael Kent made a final decision that the child should have meaningful relationships with Blaze and Darnley and her biological parents too. He ruled the child primarily live with her parents and created a four-step transition schedule.
In his ruling, Kent referred to expert evidence about the importance of a child’s relationship with their biological family, saying that she will “gravitate to her biological family” and grow to resent her adoptive parents.
He also ordered her surname be changed from Blaze-Darnley to Grady-Harper.
Now, as part of the transition process, the child will spend one weekend a month with Blaze and Darnley and they will have no legal parental responsibility for her.
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