Twenty months ago, Nonie Wales and her partner Janet Irvine received the miracle of their first daughter Grace Irvine-Wales and now they have received a second blessing in the form of law reforms to the Status of Children Act in NSW.
Janet will, after the legislation is passed through the NSW Parliament in the coming months, have exactly the same rights as Grace’s birth mother Nonie and their family will have the same rights as any other family.
It is amazing how powerfully the news of these law changes has affected me, Wales said.
I didn’t really realise how important and powerful a change it would be until it became a possibility and now a reality.
Nonie and Janet, who had their daughter with the help of a known donor, were always aware of just how precious their ability to start a family was.
Over the last 20 months I’ve been describing the birth of our daughter as being one of the most joyful things that has ever happened in my life, Wales said.
Particularly because we had to take a journey to get there. I mean it’s a journey for everyone, whether you’re straight or not, but there are certain nuances that were different for us as a same-sex couple.
Grace’s arrival was so joyful I suppose because it was just so uncertain as to whether we’d get there. So we don’t take it for granted at all.
Now that they have brought their child into a strong and stable relationship, news of the impending NSW law changes just adds to the foundation upon which Wales and Irvine can build their family.
When I heard about these changes I just thought, that feels right, it feels solid, Wales said.
It seems really small, but just one example of how this is going to change our lives is that it will just make signing forms easier.
Up until now whenever it came to signing a form for Grace, we’d sometimes have these conversations about who should sign it. Now there just doesn’t need to be any of that hesitation.
It’s a small thing but the roots of it are quite deep and they develop a base of solidarity for the family as well as acknowledge and pay respect to Janet as a parent.
On one hand, changes like this shouldn’t be wowed at because it’s what we should expect but on the other hand my hat goes off to the government because there are still sections of the community who struggle to accept what my family and I contribute to society. So I’m sure they’ll cop it from some sections, so good on them for being strong enough to make a stand and bring about some change.