The heartwarming story of how two best friends - one of Indian origin - fought a legal battle to become parents to a 7-year-old.

Do you need to be a couple to bring up a child together These legal co-mommas say noScreenshot: BBC
Features Human Interest Friday, March 24, 2017 - 16:47

The journey from being colleagues-cum-neighbours-cum-friends to "co-mommas" has been a life-altering one for Natasha Bakht, 44, and Lynda Collins, 42.

The women, both of whom are lawyers and also teach at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, made legal history last year. They became the first "non-conjugal couple" - a couple not in a romantic relationship - in Canadian history to become legally recognised as parents.

Natasha and Bakht, close friends and confidants, are now parents to a seven-year-old boy after a two-year long court battle.

It was in 2010, that Natasha, a single mother by choice, gave birth to her son Elaan. Several months later, he was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.

"Since he turned out to have some disabilities, Natasha needed a bit more help than she had anticipated. So I had the appetite to help and she had the need and so I was just over here a lot, day in, day out. What we found is that we're really happy parenting together," Lynda told the BBC.

A CBC News report states that Lynda went along with Natasha to most of Elaan's medical appointments from the start. She later sold her house and moved into the condo above Natasha's house. They started having meals and spending a lot of time together. Slowly, both the women started sharing the responsibility of taking care of Elaan's needs, right from feeding him to his medical and bathroom needs.

All of them even travelled together to Europe and New York, and India too where Natasha's parents are from.

While Collins had thought of having her own child someday and perhaps even adopting, one sudden day she thought of becoming a parent to Elaan.

"I suddenly had this feeling, why am I adopting a stranger when I have Elaan?" she says. "We were already living as a family," she told CBC.

Lynda then discussed this with Natasha and she agreed to legally have her as a "co-momma" to Elaan.

"I'm not a single mom anymore. I have a partner in this journey and I'm so grateful for that. This is my co-momma. Co-momma is how we refer to each other now," Natasha told the publication.

But since the women were not in a romantic relationship with each other, they did not have the option to legally adopt Elaan.

A legal battle ensued over the course of the next two years, and they emerged victorious. Lynda has all the legal rights now to make decisions for Elaan just like the rights of all legal parents. Both the women, according to their declaration, can also have romantic partners.

Elaan will be joining a new school next year, and all the three are looking forward to it. They have also bought a new apartment for Elaan. 

 
Co-moms make legal history

Two Ottawa women are making legal history as "co-mothers" to a seven-year-old boy. Read more: www.cbc.ca/1.3988464

Posted by CBC Ottawa on Tuesday, 21 February 2017
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