AUSTIN, Texas - A same sex couple in Pflugerville are facing laws limiting their parental rights.
Chantelle and Courtney Graham are new parents to Maiori Graham. As new parents they didn’t expect the legislative road blocks they have encounter as a same sex couple in Texas.
Maiori is an IVF baby, Courtney provided the egg and Chantelle provided the womb. As Texas law stands, because Chantell carried Maiori she was the only one considered a legal parent.Courtney had to go through a second parent adoption.
"We want the same equal rights as any other couple and unfortunately the legal system kind of let us down and it forces us to then have to go spend money, emotional effort, time and all of that to try to care for our daughter and make sure that she's protected and make sure we are considered a family unit," Courtney Graham said. “It was painful process, proving to strangers why you deserve to have your own flesh and blood be yours that to me is just so unequal and so unfair that it's just so painful.”
CHA Law Group, Managing Attorney, Christine Henry Andresen handles many same sex family cases and said second adoption is the safest measure same-sex families can take right now.
"Same sex couples shouldn't have to go do an adoption or get a parentage order to confirm their parental rights but they still need to and it can be even scarier if a death happens or something happens and they don't have that order,” Andresen said.
Courtney was able to adopt Maiori eight months later. She and Chantelle plan to have another baby soon and are advocating for legislatures to join them in their fight.
"I hope that it changes for us and for all other families, hopefully before Maiori has to go through it or before a whole bunch of families have to go through it," Chantelle Graham said.