Woman agreed to father a child for her Facebook friend via Messenger
In early 2017, a Massachusetts woman and her fiance found out that neither of them could conceive and took to Facebook to find someone who would.
“[W]ho wants to release a baby for me [fiancee] and me ?! âshe wrote, according to court documents.
“Hey, if you and [fiancÃ©] were serious about a babyâ¦ so I would, âreplied her childhood friend.
The informal surrogacy plan organized on Facebook quickly deteriorated.
Originally, the childhood friend offered to conceive a baby with her boyfriend and then give custody to the Massachusetts woman so that she could raise him as if she were her own.
âSome people say they couldn’t do it or that it would be heartless to give up a baby,â she continued, âBut just because it wouldn’t help.â
She sympathized with the Massachusetts couple, acknowledging that many of the common pathways to same-sex parenthood were far too expensive for many people to afford.
That’s why she offered to do it for free, saying her insurance would cover all medical costs.
âI know you would make amazing parents,â the birth mother wrote in Facebook posts.
They agreed that the intended mother and her fiance would be present in the delivery room and that the couple would speak to their birth mother’s child when they were older.
The biological mother said she doesn’t care about having a relationship with the child as she has already had two children and is just helping them.
Worried about complications that could arise after the child was born, the intended mother requested a consultation with a lawyer, which the birth mother ruled out, reassuring the intended mother that things would not get complicated.
“[I donât care] what the lawyer says, âshe wrote. ââ¦ I’m expecting a baby for this couple, end of story.
The birth mother told the intended mother that she would try to conceive after St. Patrick’s Day.
Four weeks after the original Facebook post, sent the expectant mother a photo of a positive pregnancy test.
Court records show the mothers kept in touch via Facebook Messenger, but it is not known if they ever met in person before the child was born on December 13, 2017.
As they left the hospital, the birth mother turned the child over to the intended mother, prompting the hospital to file a child neglect report with the Department of Children and Health. family.
After investigating the two houses, they “concluded that [they] had no problem with the two households.
Massachusetts law requires that expectant parents have a dependent child for six months before they can apply for adoption and, as such, have filed a petition with the consent of the birth mother for guardianship.
After about a month, the Intended Mother had broken up with her fiancÃ© and began to deal with depression and anxiety, but the birth mother completed the guardianship process, keeping the Intended Mother as tutor.
A clerical error in hospital records affected Keanu with the birth mother’s health insurance policy, expelling her eldest child from insurance and causing the birth mother to change her mind.
“This greatly upset the birth mother, and she sent a Facebook message to the mother-to-be telling her to ‘adopt’ the child immediately or ‘return it’,” court documents say, although she did not. not reached the six months of guardianship. .
At around 4.5 months of age for Keanu, the birth mother requested that the guardianship be terminated, but legal proceedings were delayed and when the baby was 8 months old, the intended mother applied for adoption. the child.
As time passed with Keanu in the care of the Intended Mother, the birth parents became restless – disparaging the Intended Mother all over Facebook, calling her selfish, and even throwing a brick through her. window that had “[h]e is mine âwritten on it.
In May 2019, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court combined the cases – the intended mother’s adoption application and the birth parents’ individual custody cases since they had separated over the years.
Appeals justices inquired about any legal precedent for the case, but no relevant Massachusetts law was seen, causing the court to improvise and ultimately decided it would assess the suitability of the biological parents to take care of the child.
During argument before the court of appeal in February 2021, lawyer Jacqueline Y. Parker, who represented the child on appeal, said that the birth parents “physically and emotionally [abandoned] the child “and showed a” careless nature in giving the child to someone they only knew on Facebook “.
“The father put the child in physical danger by throwing a brick through the guardian’s window,” Parker continued. “The mother exposed the child to potential danger because of her Facebook posts.”
She also cited that the Intended Mother was the only relative Keanu had ever known and that they bonded during this time.
The appeals court judge agreed and, on July 22, finally ruled that the birth parents were unfit to raise the child, advancing the intended mother’s adoption application and granting her full custody. of the child who had belonged to him for more than 3 years.
“I am troubled that the parties have put the child in this danger,” a judge said of the whole ordeal, “But the two groups of potential parents here are far from ideal.”
The result of this case, dubbed “Keanu’s Guardianship,” resulted in an update to parenting and guardianship laws, something Massachusetts has had to improvise on until now.
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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and current affairs, social justice and politics.