Welcome to California, what many call “the surrogacy friendly state.”
But there are alarming divisions between at least one surrogate mother and a surrogate father, and questionable futures for three surrogacy babies.
On behalf of the surrogate mother, lawyers on Wednesday, Sept. 20, filed an affidavit with the U.S. Supreme Court declaring that the single father who last year obtained triplets in California is incapable of caring for one baby, let alone three.
The sworn affidavit that is joined to a larger custody lawsuit includes allegations of abandonment, forcing the babies to eat off a basement floor and diapers so filthy that the three boys had to be taken to a hospital.
Yet even if the mother, Melissa Cook, is proven correct in her attempts for custody, she faces an uphill battle.
Unlike most states, intended parents in California have legal rights before a surrogacy baby is born and can bypass adoption proceedings. Surrogate moms have no rights, California says, and aren’t even parents.
The allegations about the three babies, now 18 months old, are made by the lifelong bachelor’s sister, Melinda Burnett. According to the affidavit, she often visits her brother and lives just 12 miles away.
The father, Chester Shannon Moore Jr., is 51 years old, deaf, cannot speak and struggles with sign language, according to the signed affidavit. He earns $750 a week and works nights as a postal worker.
When the sister learned of the surrogacy, Burnett states in her affidavit, “I was horrified by the prospect that our brother, who has not been able to take care of himself, would attempt to take on raising triplets on his own while he lived in the chaos at my parents’ home.”
Moore raises the three babies, now toddlers, in the basement of his parents’ home in Mableton, Ga., where, court records state, a heroin-addicted nephew often lives and uses in the house.
The 77-year-old grandmother is bedridden with a urine bag and wears diapers, the affidavit says. The grandfather, two years older, cannot climb stairs and is a heavy smoker.
The air on the first floor is so thick with cigarette smoke, the affidavit says, that visiting child services nurses “had to hold their noses.”
Moore, the affidavit states, fails to change the children’s diapers often enough to prevent rashes. “Ultimately, the rashes became so bad,” Moore’s sister…