Monday 26 September 2016

Gay couple devastated after Thai surrogate changes her mind: ‘She’s pressed child abduction charges against me’

Published 24/07/2015 | 13:20

Bud Lake pictured with his family; Carmen, Alvaro and Manuel
Bud Lake pictured with his family; Carmen, Alvaro and Manuel
Carmen pictured with her dad Manuel.
Bud Lake pictured with his daughter Carmen.
Bud Lake pictured with his daughter Carmen and his husband Manuel

An American couple has been left in legal jeopardy after a surrogate who carried their daughter to term changed her mind upon discovering the dynamics of their family.

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Bud Lake and his husband Manuel Santos have been trapped in Thailand since their daughter Carmen’s birth in January and do not have any legal rights despite the fact that she is Bud’s biological child.

The couple went down the route of surrogacy in Thailand through an agency but their situation turned into a “nightmare” when Carmen’s surrogate changed her mind after the baby’s birth.

“The first contact we had was when we came to Thailand before Carmen’s birth in January and I met the surrogate at an ultrasound appointment and the doctor decided the next day that we would have a C-section and the surrogate was fine with that,” said Bud speaking to The Anton Savage Show.

“We had our flight booked out of Bangkok in February and there’s two things that we need to get. A passport so the baby can travel and permission to pass through Thai immigration which is basically a letter of consent from the surrogate mother.

“The problems started on January 27th the day before we were supposed to go to the American Embassy to arrange the passport. I got a message from the surrogate’s translator that she wanted to keep the baby,” said Bud.

Bud Lake pictured with his daughter Carmen.
Bud Lake pictured with his daughter Carmen.
Bud Lake pictured with his family; Carmen, Alvaro and Manuel
Carmen pictured with her dad Manuel.
Bud Lake pictured with his daughter Carmen and his husband Manuel

Bud, who already has a son Alvaro (1) through surrogacy revealed that he was floored by the surrogate’s decision and soon found out it was made because of his sexuality.

“The first time in my life I went into physical shock. It was the worst nightmare of anyone who has ever done surrogacy. It was unexpected because it’s never happened to anyone in Thailand. Obviously we weren’t expecting it.

“There was zero explanation,” he said.

“Things started to become more clear when I met with the surrogate and our first lawyer and it was in that first meeting that she made the comment that we weren’t an ordinary family.

“She was fine doing it for an ordinary couple. She commented later on in the press that two men couldn’t provide for a child and take care of a child,” said Bud.

“I’ve lived a very nice life and my sexuality has never been an issue. This is an amazingly horrible time for this to become an issue for me. We were so focused on getting Carmen home that that part didn’t even bother us.

“I have no legal rights over her. We’re focusing on the legal situation to get Carmen out of the country.

“This situation is so crazy that I can’t even try to put myself into [the surrogate’s] shoes. We don’t think she is trying to renegotiate or ask for more money. That would be such a simple solution to this problem,” said Bud.

Bud Lake pictured with his daughter Carmen and his husband Manuel
Bud Lake pictured with his daughter Carmen and his husband Manuel
Bud Lake pictured with his daughter Carmen.
Carmen pictured with her dad Manuel.
Bud Lake pictured with his family; Carmen, Alvaro and Manuel

The dad revealed that although he and his husband are quite lonely in Bangkok and are in danger of losing their jobs and home in the US, their children brighten up their day.

“Carmen’s been for all her healthy baby checkups. Both of our children are very happy.

“Desperation was driving us insane for the first couple of weeks trying to make our flight home. But then we sat back and recounted everything going on and what we needed to do. And from then on it was just one foot in front of the other.

“We’re trying to find solutions from totally different angles.

“We have our children to brighten up our days. We’re going to do what we need to do to bring our daughter home,” he said.

The couple have set up a fundraising page to help cover their legal costs as they continue to try and bring Carmen home to the US.

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