Lizzy Snyder Reveals an Emotional Secret She’s Been Keeping For Years
Today so many families are made up of non-traditional members.
Gone are the days of just a biological mom and dad. Maybe you're a part of a family where your grandmother or aunt raised you? Maybe it was a friend of the family?
Now bare with me, because this is deeply personal and I am going to completely open now with who I am because I haven't been able to be, for years.
My wife Janelle and I have been keeping a secret now for several years. We have been living two lives and on Tuesday it was made possible, because of us, that we can finally be fully ourselves with everyone.
For the past 5 1/2 years Janelle and I have been raising a little boy who, when he was born, was my nephew and due to tragic circumstances — that many of us are going through — his parents were unable to care for him.
His name is Bentley and he grew into our son and us, his Mommys.
Now because of these circumstances of his biological parents, Janelle and I along with our family felt it necessary due to safety and other concerns, to multiply his love, so a year after he was born, we began raising him with the other side of his family, who have also grown to become his parents. Four people raising one child with many family members and never-ending love.
We learned very early on that becoming a parent is about sacrifice. Your life is no longer your own.
You move heaven and earth for your child.
Now, the state of Maine does not have 4 parent-adoption. But the traditional and easy way is not always the best way.
Janelle and I spent years scouring the internet researching and talking to people trying to find a way to have parental rights.
We must’ve called at least two dozen attorneys and all but one turned us down due to the rarity of our case, but we knew without a shadow of a doubt that a life without being Bentley's parents wasn’t a life at all.
This hasn’t been easy. When you are told who others “think” you are and not see for who you truly are, every day becomes, well, just breathing feels impossible.
I called a friend to a friend of a senator and she sent me to the legislature and was finally able to speak to an aide who told me about this beautiful thing called “de facto” parenting.
According to the Maine Courts, a de facto parent is someone who has been found by the court to have assumed the role of a parent for a substantial period of time. has met the child's needs for care and affection on a day-to-day basis and has formed a psychological and emotional bond with the child.
Roger Katz, an Augusta attorney is the only one who took our call — he met with us with Bentley and saw who we were to him, immediately. The sigh of relief I cannot explain. Finally feeling someone's support was ... well, there are no words.
There are a few ways to become a parent birth, adoption, surrogate, or de facto.
At one point, all the odds were stacked against us because this was the first of its kind, but we didn't quit, or accept any offers that were not what we promised to our son or ourselves.
Those of you who have gone through litigation concerning children know the feeling I am talking about. However, our case was the very first of its kind in Maine to have two adoptive parents and two de-facto parents. But Janelle and I were determined to beat the odds because we knew that it was the right thing to do for the future and health of our son.
I am so proud of the de-facto parenting law and being a de facto parent.
It is an avenue that we discovered to get us to parenthood and I will forever be grateful to whoever wrote that law.
We set a precedent, we made history, but all we wanted was to be his moms.
We don’t need any pomp and circumstance and even when no one believed us and when I say no one, I mean no one. We were only "Aunties" to people, just two girls who played out with a baby a few days a week but we knew all along, that in the end, we would prevail because it's what's right.
This process has changed who I am as a person, I have become better, and stronger, and now, nothing can make me feel less than. I am worthy of every good thing that comes to me.
And I am so proud of my wife. She never gave up and took care of me when I felt like I couldn't go on.
You guys, Janelle is the best mother in the world. Bentley calls her, "Nenny" — it was one of his first words.
We may not have a lot of money but if Bentley wants a castle, she’ll build him a cardboard mansion that takes up the whole basement. If he wants to fly, she’ll take him up to the roof and spread his arms out to forever.
Janelle and I both want to thank our families for supporting us through this.
Now let me tell you a little bit about our little boy. Bentley is a firecracker, a performer, a comedian, an explorer, an adventurer and the kindest soul. He has this ability to suck you into his orbit and you are just amazed by his essence. His curiosity and questions about life astound me, he's our soulmate.
We’ve thrown so many birthdays and celebrated so many milestones and now we get to share them with you. Not to mention, all of the diapers.
We recently got married and I didn’t share my photos because he was a part of our ceremony.. and we gave him a ring.
Finally, if you find yourself in a situation that seems impossible, it’s not. Even if every single official person you're dealing with is against you, go with your gut, follow your intuition and don’t ever give up on your children
And to my mom, I kept my promise to you. I will never let him go.
No matter how you arrive at parenthood, a parent is a parent is a parent.
Mommies love you, sweet boy. It was all for you and will all be for you. I love you today, tomorrow, and forever, plus 3 taps on the hand and 26 thousand 2 hundred and sixty-five kisses.
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