Page 14 - Ohio Vol 5 No 2
P. 14

At a Glance
Mary Catherine Barrett Co., LPA
The Bridge Building
18500 Lake Road
Rocky River, OH 44116
(883) 34-ADOPT
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Juris Doctor, Cleveland Marshall College of Law, 1990
Bachelor of Arts, Communication, Ohio Northern University, 1985
Board of Trustees, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation
Leadership Institute, Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation
Ohio State Bar Association
American Bar Association, Family Law
Division, Adoption Section
Legal Professional Group-American
Society for Reproductive Medicine Ohio Women’s Bar Association- District
West Shore Bar Association- VP
Better Business Bureau
William K. Thomas Inn of Court
Her non-pro t involvement has mirrored
her law practice, focusing on providing aid and assistance to children in Russian and Brazilian orphanages and coordinating gifts to mothers and children in local community shelters for over 16 years
· Reading – Great Books Class at Notre Dame College, 3+ years
· Theater season ticket holder 20+ years · Gol ng, dancing and  ute
· Adventure traveler – Hiking  ve days
in Machu Picchu, white water rafting in Idaho, scuba diving in Fiji, Big Sur Marathon 2013, 2014, 2016.
There is an Anne Geddes picture of an infant that has been in my of ce since day 1 of this practice. It states: “We can do no great things- only small things with great love.” Mother Teresa (1910- 1997)
– that is a crime.  at’s baby-selling.”
“It is interesting to be practicing in an ever-evolving area of law.”
For example, Barrett argues constitutional rights of equal protection because, “we have sperm donor statues, embryo donor statutes, but no egg donor statues.  e egg donors and their recipients deserve the same protections as the sperm donors and their recipients.”
 anks to her many years of experience and extensive knowledge of this complex area, Barrett has been invited on many occasions to give presentations to schools, hospitals, and professional organizations on topics ranging from private placement adoption, surrogacy, ovum do- nor legislation and ethical and legal rami cations of third-party repro- duction among other topics. She served as an adjunct professor for six years teaching adoption and surrogacy law at Case Western Reserve Law School.
Barrett is zealous both in her desire to help create loving families and in her insistence that the law, as it has evolved, be kept clear and uncompromised.
“ ere is just too much at stake for us to not insist on clarity in the law that applies to these families.”
She recently spoke, at the invitation of the Ohio Supreme Court, to the Judges of the Ohio Juvenile Courts on the issue of surrogacy and arti cial reproductive technology. “I expressed the same thought as I did at the moot court project 30 years ago,” she says. “ e law has not caught up with the technology. We are still in the wild, wild west legally with assisted technology reproduction.”
It is Barrett’s own creative energy and passion that motivates her to share the miracle with others. She is currently in the process of author- ing her  rst text on adoption and the journey for those seeking that family connection. Tentatively titled, “ e Creation of Love: A Hero’s Path to Parenthood,” it is set to be completed this year.
“I am grateful that I had the tenacity to pursue this practice. At the outset, one court o cial told me that I could only do one adoption per year.  ere was a complete lack of understanding and mistrust of private adoptions and, certainly, of surrogacy.  is is precisely why I fought so hard to get clarity and de nition in the legal relationship for parties and welcome further developments in the legislation.”
Despite the challenges and obstacles, Barrett draws a deep sense of satisfaction from her life’s work. “Most of my clients come to me with great loss, heartache and grief.  ey are transformed through the chal- lenges of this process.  ese challenges can bring out the highest and best in people; I witness their focus shi  from their own personal loss to having compassion and understanding the birthparent’s courageous struggle and to the best interest of the child.”
“We have a picture of Monet’s Bridge in my o ce. I see us as simply assisting our clients across the bridge of transformation with compas- sion, integrity and truth to parenthood or if a birth parent, assisting them in  nding their truth and courage with respect for their child.”
By the time a couple and birth mother get to the court for the con- sent hearing, the hard work of adoption is mostly complete.
It’s signi cant to note that Barrett’s  rm has never had a surrogacy relationship contested or a birth parent challenge an adoption she has arranged. She attributes this to the honor and respect she devotes to the birth parents and surrogates throughout the process.
Still  rmly committed to the calling she felt three decades ago, Bar- rett happily shares this: “It doesn’t matter to me how someone creates their family. Whether they adopt a healthy infant, a child with special needs from an orphanage, an older child from the foster care system, whether they create a family through a surrogate with their gametes or donated super gametes, it doesn’t matter to me. Each person’s path is unique and made for personal reasons. I consider it a privilege to help my clients become parents. It really does make the world a better place.”

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