Parenthood a challenge for dads

ROSA STUDHOLME
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013
Tarewa Karetai
NATASHA MARTIN/Fairfax NZ
HAPPY AT HOME: Tarewa Karetai with 8-month-old Charlie McIver. Charlie has been put in the care of Mr Karetai and his partner, John McIver, and they hope to one day adopt her.

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Like anyone with a new baby, Timaru's Tarewa Karetai is rushed off his feet.

His life, along with that of partner John McIver, now revolves around 8-month-old Charlie, who was put into their care six weeks ago. The pair had long hoped to become parents.

It is not legal for a gay couple to adopt under New Zealand law, but a bill before Parliament is aimed at changing that.

Early last month Charlie, Mr Karetai's niece, was placed in their care through a social services agency.

The little girl is the centre of attention at home. A happy child, she is constantly smiling and giggling, and exploring the house.

She is now crawling and standing up.

Mr Karetai and Mr McIver are in the process of applying for a parenting order through the courts. Mr Karetai said they were becoming increasingly exasperated at the hoops they had to jump through - completing parenting and first aid courses - although he understood there was a process to follow. "At the same time, normal parents don't have to do it."

A social worker will make one more visit before filing a report.

The case will then go to the Family Court.

The couple were overwhelmed by "such a lot of feedback" following an article published in The Timaru Herald and appearing in the top 10 most-read stories on the Stuff website last month.

"We had no idea how far it would reach. We didn't do that to get feedback.

"I knew people out there would read it (but) I didn't expect the article to be on the front page.

"I just did it to let people know my story."

The six weeks since Charlie was placed in their care had been "challenging", he said.

"It's hard work. I really take my hat off to parents who have babies close in age. Even though we've had her for only a month, it feels like ages.

"I tell people my life is basically over. She comes before me."

But gazing at Charlie with a broad smile, he said he and Mr McIver would not change a thing.

"As she gets older and bigger it's getting easier."

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- The Timaru Herald

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