Aleena Shaw celebrated her first birthday on May 12 and for mum Georgina Leslie and dad Stephen Shaw it was a day that was a long time coming.
The couple had been waiting for 13 years, seven months and a day to have their own baby together before little Aleena was born through surrogacy last year.
Health issues during a previous pregnancy meant Georgina was no longer able to conceive naturally. IVF attempts were unsuccessful and the couple opted for surrogacy, finding a surrogate in Barnsley to carry their baby.
The couple say they couldn’t be happier now they have Aleena in their lives.And their journey is truly complete now a parental order has been granted through the courts to say Georgina and Stephen are legally her parents.
Georgina said: “The parental order was granted at the end of May, so it’s all official now. My name is on her birth certificate.
"We didn’t have any worries that it wouldn’t be okay, but we just had to follow the process.
"Everything went smoothly and I knew our surrogate Billie wouldn’t appeal or contest it.
"So it’s now official.
“Aleena is absolutely fantastic.
"She’s basically lived her whole life in lockdown.
"She’s so cheeky and she has us in hysterics all the time.
"She’s very just happy, giggly and mischievious.”
The last year has seen a big change for Georgina as she decided not to go back to work.
The 45-year-old said: “I had nine months off and then took three months off unpaid and went back to work on May 27.
"I did two days of training and after the second day Stephen said me ‘I miss enough with being away for three weeks, I don’t want us both missing out’.
"With him working away three weeks at a time he’s missed out on a lot of her firsts.
"It’s been really hard for him. I know I couldn’t do it, I struggle being away from her for one night.”
It’s certainly a change that Georgina, who has two older children from a previous relationship, is enjoying.
She said: “I’m absolutely loving it.
"When I had David and Amanda I was young myself.
"Back then I didn’t really appreciate as much, I think because I knew I could have children.
"With Aleena it’s changed everything.
"It’s made me more appreciative of the little things.
"I love every minute of the day with Aleena. ”
Georgina and Stephen, 35, should have been preparing to walk down the aisle, with their daughter as a flowergirl, keeping a pact they made that they would get married once their family was complete.
However they have had to change their plans – and not because of Covid.
“We have had to postpone it a little and have rebooked for May next year because of the flooding at the Beancross.
"If it hadn’t been for the flood damage, even with Covid restrictions on numbers we would have still been going ahead with it as we’ve waited for so long.
"On July 17, which was the date we were due to get married, it’s 15 years we have been together."