Today was the court hearing to officially and legally transfer the parentage of Zander from my husband and I to his actual parents. None of us had any idea what to really expect never having found ourselves in a position where we were required to present at the Supreme and District Courts of Brisbane before... but we all survived!
We paid for an extra day of kindy for our own kids so they didn't have to tag along as well, but Zander's parents were told that it would look better if they had the boys with them on the day.
The whole proceedure was VERY formal. We had to wait to be told to sit. We had to wait to be asked a question before we could speak, and we had to say 'your honour' after every response. Mark and I attended un-represented, but Zander's parents had their lawyer there and he pretty muchly ran the show. He explained what documents had been submitted to the court, and how both parties involved had satisfied the requirements of the Surrogacy Act. The Judge then read through EVERY document.
We all just sat there in silence and waited. It took him nearly 30mins to do so. I found it hard to stop from fidgeting, so I must say I was pretty impressed by the behaviour of Zander and his brother. Zander pretty much just slept through the whole thing, only waking up at the end with a little cry for a bottle. And his 2yr old brother sat and read books and only attempted to run through the court room once or twice!
Then the Judge looked up from his reading and stated that he felt satisfied that this wasn't a commercial surrogacy situation and that it was in the best interests of the child to transfer parentage. He congratulated us all and reiterated that in his 16 years of experience as a judge he had seen just how important it was for children to know where they came from, and encouraged us to keep things open and honest with Zander (all of which we had explained we would do in the court-submitted paperwork anyways).
We gathered outside of the court room after it was over and we all immediately relaxed. The process was finished. Properly, legally finished! We took some photos, Zander needed a nappy change (pooing in court will be his claim to fame!) and then we all escaped the formality of the building and went to lunch to celebrate!
I honestly think the worst bit about the legal side of things was just not knowing what to expect. The reality of it was far less daunting then I'd imagined it would be. I also found it really surreal to see Zander again after a few months. He looked just the same as before, but had obviously grown and changed a fair bit at the same time. He is way more alert and gives away smiles to whoever happens to take his fancy, and is just such a happy, content little guy.
And so the Aussie Surrogacy Journey is officially finished. Obviously this doesn't mark the end of the relationship between our family and Zanders family at all, but it does feel like a significant and celebratory-worthy milestone!
Congratulations Mr Zander, you are now officially your parent's son!