This is every parent’s worst nightmare. It literally sounds like something out of a Lifetime movie–and not the fuzzy, cute kind. Barbara and David (who withheld their last names for privacy) had their fourth child via a surrogate, according to PEOPLE. The couple, who live in Pennsylvania, interviewed many women, but decided on Jamie in 2008.
When they first met Jamie and her husband, Barbara and David asked a slew of questions to get to know the then 22-year-old, who she felt seemed “eager and like she really wanted to help a family.” Jamie and her husband claimed they weren’t ready for their own children yet, but were saving money for a house. Three weeks later, Jamie and Steven signed and notarized the 38-page contract. Jamie was also given a $15,000 surrogacy fee.
Soon after, Jamie went in for the procedure using her own egg and David’s sperm. On Mother’s day, she announced she was pregnant and left a message to Barbara on the phone:
“‘Barb, I’m pregnant. The test came back. I love you so much. This is great. We’re going to have a great journey.’”
Unfortunately, Barbara noticed Jamie became different after she became pregnant. She first noticed when Jamie, who lives in Philadelphia, went for an ultrasound and told Barbara she and her husband separated. Barbara and David then hired a lawyer, as she was nervous about the situation, and advised them to “fulfill every part of our obligation of the contract so that if it ended up in court, we were the ones who didn’t vacate the contract.”
Even worse, when their daughter was born on Jan. 27, 2009, Barbara and David weren’t even told. The baby, named Kaylee Grace, went home with Jamie, and for the past seven years, Barbara and David have been seeking full custody. Barbara explained in PEOPLE why the case has been so complicated, and has estimated to have spent about $90,000 on legal fees already:
“When we first went to court, the judge said she didn’t know what do with the contract. We were told we can’t make a contract on a human life. For the past seven years, we have been in and out of court fighting.”
While the courts initially divided custody between the two parties, in September 2014, the court then ordered their therapist’s recommendation for Kaylee Grace to live with Barbara and David. However, when Kaylee started kindergarten in Jamie’s school district, they lost shared physical custody.
Now, the couple has been forced to pay $459 in child support (David shares legal custody with Jamie, as he is the biological father) and are only allowed to spend two weekends a month with their daughter. The couple claims they haven’t seen their daughter since October 2015, however. Barbara claims 7-year-old Kaylee cries when she has to leave them, and says they have sent over 500 pages of evidence to the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board, but they feel helpless, because it’s out of their hands at this point:
“There is nothing else I can do. I feel extremely sad that there is this life that I feel responsible for–and that I helped bring into this world–that I feel is being destroyed because of the custody and how the courts are handling the situation.”
This situation sounds like a complete nightmare for both David and Barbara–and I can only hope they receive full custody of their daughter soon–it only seems logical and fair to me considering the agreement.