Friends and lawyer duo become co parents of a disabled child in Canada legally

Best friends become co parents of a disabled child in Canada legally

Toronto, March22:Natasha Bakht and Lynda Collins are platonic best friends who fought a two-year-long legal battle to be officially recognised as co-parents to Natasha’s disabled son, Elaan.

It’s the first time in Canadian history that two people who have never been in a romantic relationship have been legally recognised as parents.

In a legal first, Natasha and Lynda, both lawyers from Canada, are now recognised as a parenting partnership, with both of their names registered as ‘mothers’ to Elaan.

The 44-year-old decided to have a child using a sperm donor in her thirties. Her friend, Lynda, also wanted to have children so offered to be her birth coach.

Lynda told CBC News: ‘I thought it would be just an amazing life experience to see someone be born.’

But at just six months old, doctors discovered that part of Elaan’s brain was dead and that he had spastic quadriplegia, meaning he cannot use any of his limbs.

He also has asthma epilepsy, visual problems and is unable to speak.

Natasha told the site: ‘I didn’t expect to have a child with disabilities. It just changes what you think your path with respect to motherhood is going to be. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I needed Lynda to remind me of that and she did over and over again.’

As a result, Lynda moved in with her friend to help her out and started sharing some of the responsibilities, even attending medical appointments with her.

When the time came for Lynda to consider having her own child, she realised she already had one.

'These women have made legal history as the first best friends to be co-parents'
After two years, Elaan has finally received an updated birth certificate with both his mothers’ names on it (Picture: The National)

She said: ‘I suddenly had this feeling, why am I adopting a stranger when I have Elaan? We were already living as a family.’

So she set out to adopt him.

The prepared the applications to obtain a declaration of parentage but since they were friends and not ‘conjugal’ partners, Lynda could not apply to legally adopt Elaan.

So the pair thought about fighting against it, arguing discrimination based on family status, but decided the expenses would be too much.

Instead, they hired their friend, Ottawa lawyer Marta Siemiarczuk, to help them make some written submissions to try and convince the court to declare Lynda a parent despite their unusual arrangement.