Bittersweet day for this dad and his son
INSPIRATIONAL father Gareth Arena and his late wife Bec are now officially the parents of their beautiful son Rixon.
The couple's child was born through surrogacy with Bec's long-term friend Jessica Brockie carrying Rixon after doctors advised Bec she could not withstand pregnancy because she had cystic fibrosis.
Devastatingly, Bec passed away from the disorder in September last year, just four months before Rixon was born.
Yesterday, Gareth and Bec officially became Rixon's parents after successfully applying for a parentage order in Townsville's Supreme Court.
This is regulation practice for surrogacy situations but was complicated by Bec's passing.
However, Judge Greg Lynham said he was satisfied that approving the order would be in the best interest of Rixon and that Gareth would "provide excellent quality care for the child".
Judge Lynham noted Rixon had been cared for by Gareth since his birth on May 20 at the consent of his surrogate parents.
Rixon's birth certificate now legally states Gareth and Bec as his parents.
Gareth said yesterday would have meant a lot to his late wife, who chose Rixon's name just days before losing her battle with cystic fibrosis.
"It was very hard when Bec passed," Gareth said.
"We never knew it was going to happen it was just so quick … she went into hospital for what you call a routine booster and unfortunately she never came out. A couple of days before she passed she told me that if it was a boy she wanted this name and if it was a girl then this is her name … I was able to tell Bec that we were having a boy before she passed."
Mrs Brockie, who lives in South Africa with her husband, professional soccer player Jeremy Brockie, did not oppose the application.
Gareth said although nothing would change in how Rixon was cared for or raised, the family saw yesterday as an important moment and the final step in their surrogacy journey.
"I was there in the birthing suite and I took him home from the hospital six hours after he was born," he said.
"It is tough (being a single father) but I have a lot of support and can handle it.
"Every decision I make is based on what Bec would want."
Bec's mother Lynne Graham said the family were still trying to come to terms with the loss of her daughter but having Rixon in their lives helped.
"It is still hard to come to terms with so it's a bittersweet day," she said.
"This was Bec's intention all along so it is pretty special.
"(Rixon) has her blue eyes … Bec had the most beautiful blue eyes, but I can see both her and Gareth in him."
The Arena family may yet grow in the future with Gareth revealing that he and Bec still have one embryo remaining and there was a chance that Rixon could have a little brother or sister in the future.
May is cystic fibrosis awareness month and Gareth encouraged everyone to jump on board with raising much-needed funds and awareness about the devastating disorder.
Information can be found at www.cysticfibrosis.org.au