We were recently told that if we want to proceed with the adoption application, my husband’s name cannot be on my son’s birth certificate as he is not the biological father. After a phone call, the civil registration office sent us the relevant forms that we need to amend the birth certificate. To remove my husband’s name from the certificate, we have to prove that he is not my son’s biological father. This means statutory declarations and a court admissible DNA test. We ordered our test online which was sent to a another GP because our own family GP refused to do it. She said that there is a tegal grey area with General Practice and DNA testing in Ireland, and so she would not be comfortable with performing the tests. Tests that our own health service were asking us to obtain. So we had to find a doctor with less scruples to perform the DNA test.
Having to conduct this test with a medical professional was intrusive enough without having to do it with a nurse that I had never met before. Luckily she was a lovely, thorough woman. We arrived at the GP to be told that they had only scheduled a ten minute appointment for our family. The procedure, with all the paperwork involved, took over an hour. There was a room full of disgruntled patients and a very antsy toddler by the end of it.
What was so frustrating was that we have already conducted these tests privately ourselves, but we have to do it a third time to prove that there is no biological link. Why on earth would we put ourselves through stepparent adoption otherwise?!
The appointment cost us 80euro and passport pictures for the DNA court admissible test came to 24euro. The DNA test itself cost us 500euro, so this part of the process proved very expensive for our family.
To have to sit and listen to my husband, the man who has been by my son’s side since birth, be referred to as the “alleged” father throughout the forms made my blood boil. When I tell people that there has been no contact from the biological father since before birth, they usually reply “Well that’s great, isn’t it? For you, anyway”. It is true that this fact makes it very clear as to who my son’s true father is. But it is unfair that this man still has potential rights to my child that no amount of neglect or disinterest will dissolve just because they share the same genetic material. This truth remains while the man who has cared for him since birth is jumping through unimaginable hoops in order to gain some legal security for his family.
The situation is already so difficult and so complex that I am truly daunted at the prospect of what happens next in the process. And that’s how this process makes us feel; scared, not supported. They will only explain the next step once my son’s name is changed on the birth certificate, so the remaining length of the adoption process is a mystery to us. Once my husband’s name is removed from the certificate, however, there’s no going back. There is not even a tenuous legal link between my husband and son at that point. We must continue with the process, or I will forever be his sole guardian.
I just hope we don’t regret embarking on this journey of stepparent adoption.