Can you legally parent with a close friend? In Canada it is possible.
Natasha Bakht and Lynda Collins are making history. They have become the first women in a non-romantic relationship to legally co-parent a child.
Collins decided to help Bakht when her son, Elaan, was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia. Elaan appeared healthy at birth, but doctors quickly found parts of his brain were dead.
After the diagnosis, it was clear Bakht was going to need more help than she had originally planned. “So I had the appetite to help and she had the need and so I was over here a lot, day in, day out. What we found is that we’re really happy parenting together,” Collins tells BBC News.
After a two-year long legal battle, Bakht and Collins became “co-mommas” in November and could not be more thrilled. Bakht shares, “We want relationships for each other. We’re very excited and open to the possibility of the family growing. Whoever comes into our family, we want them to know that they come with whoever the romantic partner is, the other parent, and Elaan.”
The pair wishes it were easier for more parents in this situation to be legally recognized. Collins explains how family law has a plethora of cases where parents “don’t want to take responsibility for their children,” so when someone does want an active role law and society should be supportive. Bakht and Collins are continuing to share their story and hope it will become easier for families like theirs to be legally recognized.