Lesbian mums in Israel forced to endure ‘paper trail chase’ to adopt babies after they were placed in intensive care

A lesbian couple in Israel said that they have been “treated like second-class citizens” after battling to have their status as mothers recognised on their children’s birth certificates.

Mothers Smadar Peker-Nir and Hadas Peker-Nir, who live in Tel Aviv, were fraught after they were forced through a bureaucratic paper trail to adopt their children after they submitted the paperwork two weeks late because their babies were in intensive care.

Although Smadar gave birth to the twins, her partner had to submit a request for a parentage order to be recognised as a legal guardian of the children.


people hold placards at pride parade

The couple have struggled for their rights (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

It was when they missed the bureaucratic deadline because their babies were in intensive care that they were instructed to go through an adoption order, which took a year to approve.

“We received the adoption [order] only after a year. Straight women can bring in any man from the street and register him as the father,” Smadar told Haaretz.


The couple experienced an incredibly complex process (Getty)

The couple experienced an incredibly complex process (Getty)

“When we wanted to expand the family, we turned to senior officials at the Health Ministry and no one responded to us.”

The couple decided to take their case to trial.

Tel Aviv Family Court ordered that the state should recognise both women as a legal parents, and ordered the government to pay the couple 3,000 shekels ($830) for legal costs within 30 days.


Participants take part in the annual Gay Pride parade in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel Pride parade (Getty)

“The only thing the government must deal with is the good of the children, not bureaucracy,” she told Haaretz.

“We needed to fly to the United States to get married because in Israel we couldn’t.”


Israeli Pride parada (Photo by GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

After I gave birth to our first son, we went through a long bout of bureaucracy to receive an adoption order, even though we had planned this child as a couple,” Smadar told Haaretz.

“We were with two preemies in a fight for their lives, but for the state the important thing was when we submitted the forms,” Smadar added.