Craigslist Daddy- It never ceases to amaze me what people will buy or sell. Add to the mix Craigslist, an online site for buying and selling, and you have a recipe for disaster. Consider the story of Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, a lesbian couple from Kansas who after legally adopting 8 children decided they wanted to “have a child” of their own. Not going through conventional methods as most people would, they instead looked to Craigslist for the answer to their dreams.
They found William Marrotta, a mechanic and a married man. He was willing to help the couple and after seeking out legal advice the three had papers drawn up that would not only free him from any financial responsibility, they relinquished him from any parental rights, re-assuring Bauer and Schreiner that he would not come looking for the child in later years wanting to be “daddy.” Everything went smoothly. The pregnancy and delivery brought about a beautiful child, the couple was happy and Marrotta received a card in the mail from the couple with the announcement and their thanks. This was three years ago.
Fast forward to today and Bauer and Schreiner have parted ways, splitting the adopted children between them. Schreiner has custody of the birth child since it is her name on the birth certificate, but Bauer has been sending money to help raise her and has provided her medical insurance.
Earlier this year, Bauer faced health issues that no longer allow her to work and so now, Schreiner is struggling to make ends meet. She decides to apply for government assistance only to find out that they want to know who the father is and how to get in touch with him. Although she received a mere $189 for the young child, she also was treated to more than $6,000 in medical care from July through September. More pressure from the agency along with a threat that the benefits will stop and she releases Marrotta’s name.
Now the state of Kansas is filing charges against Marrotta for re-reimbursement and future child expenses. It seems that although the correct legal paperwork was filled out and filed, there is an issue with how the sperm was transferred from Marrotta to Schreiner. They did not use a licensed doctor for the insemination, and as a result it is not recognized by the state as a certified donation.
Bureaucracy? Most definitely, but many are also calling it a hate-crime by the state, citing that this story is about a lesbian couple whose union was not recognized by the state, and is now being punished for having a child. What? Forgive me, but this is not a moral issue nor is it a judgement against same-sex couples. This ruling is based on legal statutes, is fair and also applies to traditional couples using a sperm donor. What is unfair is the fact that because these ladies did not work with the system they have brought a beautiful child into the world who is now caught in the midst of controversy. A child who must have some serious health issues, to have racked up over $6,000 dollars in less than 3 months.
Who should be responsible?
If they had done things right and legally, I would say that both women should be and you can’t argue with me because even though they had split up, they continued to share in raising her. They obviously love her. The glitch occurred when the health benefits stopped. It was easier to look to the government for help, then it was for them to look to themselves. After all, they have adopted 8 children and received government benefits for each of them without batting an eye. But there were and still are other options. Schreiner could get a job and possibly provide health benefits within 90 days or less. In the meantime, there is a sliding financial scale available for those who cannot meet their medical obligations. If you do not want government interference, don’t get them involved in your life.
Since they took a shortcut to get what they wanted, I must agree with the state. I am sorry Mr. Marrotta for what you and your wife are now facing, but you brought a child into this world and you should be responsible. You gave a wonderful gift to these ladies, but you neglected to find out how to properly go about doing so. A bit of research on your part would have saved you and your family the publicity and unexpected responsibility that is now yours. I am not judging, but I have to wonder why you would even answer such an ad. Since you are married I can only assume that you and your wife discussed it and that there must have been some type of compensation, and now you have the added bonus of a daughter. I do hope that you will become an important figure in your daughter’s life and share in all of the important moments of her growing up.
For all of you wanting to cry that the state is wrong, controlling and manipulative; that they are being abusive to same sex couples and discriminating against them, I say Phhht! For goodness sake, even though they were not recognized as “parents” by the state, they still were allowed to foster and adopt children. That doesn’t happen without interviews, home visits and thorough background checks. No one is congratulating the state for allowing them to bring children into their home. Why not? It is not a right, it is a privilege.
When it came to having a child, this couple for whatever reason made a choice not to follow the state’s accepted guidelines and now are facing difficult consequences because of it. That happens to any of us who skirt the edge of doing what is right. Sooner or later, we or someone we love suffers from our mistakes.
The easy answer to end this now would be to withdraw from any further public assistance, fade into the background and try to get into a normal life routine again. Pay the state what it is owed and decide amongst you how to handle future circumstances. Most of all, try to continue to shelter your daughter from the controversy and media. You can get your life back but it is up to you. No one can do it for you.