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The mother in a same-sex relationship will not have to adopt a child to be recognized as a parent.

A woman in a same-sex relationship who was forced to adopt her child because authorities refused to register her as the mother of her child has won a High Court order quashing the adoption.

Sarah Osborne, 48, and Helen Arnold, 48, had a baby with the help of IVF in 2014, but Osborne was forced to go through the ‘painful and humiliating’ process of formally adopting her child – including being questioned by social workers about her suitability as a parent and undergoing a criminal record check.

The couple registered the birth of their child at the Cambridge Vital Statistics Office, but the registrar said that unless Osborne was the father, and she “clearly wasn’t”, her name was not allowed on the birth certificate. They said, wrongly, that there “could only be one” mother.

This was in violation of the law which states that same-sex female couples who have a child through IVF – and who have consented to be treated as a parent – must be named on the child’s birth certificate.

Osborne described the Registrar’s attitude as ‘disrespectful, indignant and flippant’ and said they ‘made me feel stupid for asking or expecting to be named a parent and I was not worthy of such official recognition, as if I were a random stranger. street”.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s error was “a travesty”, the couple said, as they waived their right to anonymity in the hope that others will not have to go through the same ordeal. They spoke after Judge Macdonald delivered a High Court ruling in London which revoked the adoption order and annulled the original birth certificate.

“It gives me great pleasure today to make this order because I know that for your clients it has been a very difficult number of years,” the judge said. “I’m sure it has caused them a lot of distress, discomfort and upset and I hope the court making the order today can bring them some form of closure. It is extremely regrettable that these events have occurred.

The women were in tears as the judge announced his decision, with MacDonald wishing the family “all the best for the future”.

“For our child, it was just incomprehensible that adoption was our only option and then finding out that none of this was necessary was incomprehensible,” Arnold said. “The fact that our child has two mothers already sets them apart, already represents something that they must learn to adapt to, to explain and to accept. Knowing that they were also “adopted” was an added layer of complexity and was potentially very detrimental to them. »

They launched a high court legal bid by the Cambridge family law firm (CFLP), to have the adoption of their child annulled, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

“We are thrilled to have finally had this flawed adoption order overturned and we look forward to being registered, as I always have been, as the parent of my child,” Osborne said. “At the same time, we are very angry and deeply disappointed that we had to fight so hard to correct Cambridgeshire County Council’s failures to have the adoption order revoked. We should never have been put in this situation in the first place.

A spokesman for Cambridge County Council said: ‘We recognize the impact this has had on the family and would welcome the opportunity to work with the General Registry Office on a review to try to prevent any family or local authority to find themselves in a similar situation again. .”

The title and text of this article were modified on July 16, 2022 to remove personal data.

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