The first three parent family does it all over again
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
In October 2013, Vancouver couple Danielle Wiley and Anna Richards welcomed their daughter Della into the world with biological father Shawn Kangro. Thanks to a BC Family Law Act passed earlier that year, Della Wolf Kangro Wiley Richards’ birth certificate bears the name of three parents.
In January 2015 the family welcomed their second child, a son named Roemer, fathered once more by Kangro.
In a statement made in February 2014 to the National Post, Richards stated, “We wanted our kids to know where they came from biologically and actually liked the idea of having an extended family; it didn’t threaten us to have another person’s involvement so long as it was the right person.”
When it came time to make a decision on a father for their first child, rather than turning to an anonymous donor, Richards and wife Wiley chose long-time friend Kangro. After some lengthy discussion, Kangro agreed and the three proceeded to start their family by artificial insemination.
By Della’s birth on October 23, 2013, the three parents had drafted up an agreement naming Richards and Wiley as the primary parents, taking full financial responsibility and retaining custody. Meanwhile, Kangro would be consulted in any major decisions including healthcare and education, as well as allowing him right to access.
When it came time to make their identification as a multi-parent family legal, although under the BC Family Law Act it is legal for a child to have up to four parents, the law was still not a common practice. Della’s parents are the first to achieve their family’s identification without litigation.
Originally Richards and Wiley attempted to apply for the certificate online in January 2014, but were denied when there were only two spaces provided for parents’ names. A similar issue occurred when they requested a hard copy of the certificate, resulting in further delays.
Richards told the National Post that “In order to put me in as the non-biological mother in second row, we had to declare that the father was not recognized or was unable to be a father, which did not reflect our situation,” so the three made the effort to re-work the form into something more suitable, which was eventually accepted.
With the revised Family Law Act, BC is the only province that allows more than two parents on a birth certificate without legislation. Though similar situations in other provinces can be looked at on a case-by-case basis, this can result in fairly substantial legal fees, even if all desiring parents agree.
When asked if they have plans to have any more children, Richards told CBC that the option is unlikely in the near future following the births of Della and Roemer. However, all three parents told CBC that they haven’t ruled the possibility out.