So my IPs' attorney kept telling them they didn't have to be in court to validate our surrogacy contract and get the PBO. I had never heard of this, and expressed my concern. I was assured it would be fine. (I blindly trusted this attorney despite the fact that with the last surrogacy we all had to be in court. Maybe things had changed...)
I was then told the PBO couldn't be started or done before I reached an age of viability. According to all medical standards this could be 24-26 weeks gestation or later. (Meaning the child could/would survive with medical intervention if I were to give birth at this time.) The attorney decided to wait until I was much further along.
We signed all the paperwork and were told that everything would be taken care of. When I mailed the paperwork many weeks ago, we were told that was it. It would be done. I was highly skeptical and I expressed this concern. I thought we HAD to go to court to complete this. That's the way Bexar County does it, and requires it to be done. I was assured it would be fine...and I tried to push aside my fears and just let it go.
Then about a couple of weeks ago in the mail, without any notice, I get more paperwork (affidavits) and a sticky note from the attorney saying my husband and I have to sign these papers and send them back immediately in order to complete the PBO. They were the same papers we had signed weeks before. We immediately went and signed them and had them notarized and mailed them back the same night. I was frustrated at this point and again told my IM that this was ridiculous. The attorney told her not to worry, it was going to be taken care of Tuesday of this week.
Tuesday came and went, and no one heard from the attorney. My IM emailed the attorney to find out what was going on. He writes her back saying he tried on Tuesday and again on Thursday and that all four of us have to appear in court in order to complete the PBO. He then goes on to tell her that he has never heard of this and, in fact, had "one approved this morning over in Seguin." (Um, that's great...that's Guadalupe County. This Bexar. It's different rules/laws.) He then goes on to tell my IM that "The important thing to remember is that it is not required in Texas to get the pre-birth order. Your contract is enforceable." Actually, in the State of Texas, surrogacy agreements are not enforceable. They are recognized as to their intent, but they're not enforceable.
This is where it gets really bad. I'm 36 weeks pregnant. We have no PBO, which means my name has to go on the birth certificate. Because of Texas' laws, my husband has to go on the birth certificate as well because we are married and he is legally presumed the father. This means that when the time comes, both my husband and I have to sign over our parental rights so that my IPs can adopt their child. Until then, we're legally responsible.
Ok, that's not that big of a deal right? Wrong.
My husband and I are in the process of doing step parent adoptions. He's adopting my daughter, and I'm adopting his son and daughter. (I technically only have two children...but I've raised all four since they were very little and consider them all to be my children.) We've talked to our attorney who told us that if we sign away rights to a child I gave birth to in the process of this adoption then we run the risk of the courts not approving our adoptions. I've told everyone involved this. The attorney doesn't care. He keeps leading on my IPs and telling them it's all going to be ok.
At this point I have to be sure I don't give birth until my IPs are able to make it here (which at the very earliest would be over a week from now). I also have to wait until we get a court hearing, which in Bexar County could take weeks. The only chance we have to get in immediately is if we go into an open court on a Friday...which means my husband has to take two days off of work. (He works third shift, so he'd have to take Thursday night in order to sleep, and then Friday night off.) That means there are two days he won't be able to take off after I give birth to help me take care of the kids.
This has been the hardest pregnancy ever. This is not what I wanted for my last journey...and certainly not for my last pregnancy. This is completely unfair...and now our adoptions are in jeopardy. I'm just lost and hurt. I have tried so hard, in everything I do, to give selflessly to others. I figure it's what God would want of me. Call it karma. Plus, it's just the right thing to do. And now, here I am, risking everything in order to give someone else what they want...and this time I don't think the reward is greater than the risk. I am legally, financially and morally responsible for this child until the paperwork is filed...and that's not something I was willing to take on. My responsibility was supposed to be done when I delivered him...because we were to have a PBO that protected me and my family.
UGH! I'm so lost right now. I'm so stressed out! I have literally hundreds of emotions running through me and I'm trying to remain optimistic. I have to keep reminding myself that no matter what, I have to do what is in the best interest of the baby...and right now that means going and making a grilled cheese sandwich and relaxing on the couch with some comedy that will make me laugh till I almost pee myself.
I'll keep ya'll updated when I know more.