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Katie and Michelle’s Story
Katie (Mama) and Michelle (Mommy) Ford love talking about their family, which includes four-year-old Quinn, 8-month-old Zola, and two dogs. They enjoy camping together, and during the pandemic, bought a camper so that they could go to Connecticut state parks, and swim and enjoy nature with the kids.
From the time they started dating nine years ago, Michelle, a school psychologist, and Katie, a special education teacher, talked about having children. The couple married in the summer of 2014, and started planning for their family by taking a family name – Ford – that they would share with their future offspring. Katie and Michelle talked with their obstetrician, learned everything they could about assisted reproductive technology (ART), and consulted with a psychologist.
Michelle carried and gave birth to both babies. Because she and Katie were married, they didn’t worry about Katie’s legal relationship to the children. Each time, Katie easily filled out the birth certificates with her name as “non-birth parent” – although she did have to cross out the word “father” on the form.
“The hospital staff were lovely,” said Katie. “At no time then or in the future did I run into any problem with anyone doubting that I am the mother of Quinn and Zola.”
Still they are supporters of the Connecticut Parentage Act: “It’s very important to us to live in a state where our family is protected,” says Michelle. They also know unmarried couples with children, and even a married lesbian couple who went through the additional step of an adoption for the non-birth mom, to add a layer of security.
And Katie and Michelle do have their own worry, a big one. “What if, God forbid, anything happened to Michelle? What if she died, what if we broke up? Would I be able to take full custody of the children, would there be any legal doubt that I am their mother?” said Katie. Responsible parents, they executed their wills for all the usual reasons but also to give extra, explicit protection to Katie and the children.
Katie and Michelle see that there’s still a lot around parentage in Connecticut that is “antiquated.” They hope the Connecticut Parentage Act will pass and ease the worries of many parents in the state.