Friday, September 08, 2006

Coloring a Child's Interpretation of DI

Within the comments to my post "Donor as Genetic Parent" published 6 Sep 2006 "DD" asked:

"Wouldn't we already color a child's interpretation by telling them that there was a donor involved in the first place? What is inheretantly wrong with having a kind of "Ignorance is bliss" mentality, if you will?

Maybe I am debating the wrong issue or being premature in my concerns. We are wrestling with whether or not we make it known that a donor was involved, so maybe my concern/issue is moot. And it's not just the child resulting from donor (IF there's a child), but one biological child, that we have to consider."

My thoughts are that there is no "coloring" or undue infuence by telling a child or any donor conceived individual that they were conceived using donor conception. The information is theirs by right. To not tell and live with "Ignorance is Bliss", in my personal opinion, is setting up the child, upon subsequent discovery, to feel that they were directly lied to or at least lied to by the act of omission.

"How" a parent divulges the information can result in "coloring" by the parent's presentation. Children are very good at seeing the emotion or feelings we as parents have when we talk to them. If the parent feels ashamed at using DI the child will pick up on that and feel ashamed. The stigma will be reinforced and the child will forever feel different iin a negative manner. If a parent is truthful as to what brought them to the decision the child will see that love.

This is not to say the child will down the road be a DI proponent. As the child or individual gathers more info in their life their own opinions will form. But what I am saying is if we discount the process and the role of the donor we are pushing our own views and emotions onto the child and discounting their feelings and rights to have contrary views. Let the donor conceived come to their own conclusions.

How to deal with with these issues when there is already a biologcal child. Here I cannot speak from experience. Obviously both children should be shown equal amounts of love but that is easier said than done. I would counsel you that for advice of this nature you should turn to literature that deals with having bio and adopted children in one household.

Again my opinions.


DD said...

Thank you for sharing your opinion. That's all I can ask for, and you've helped more than you can realize.

DI_Dad said...

Anytime. Again my opinions are my own. There are few absolutes when dealing with this stuff. The only ones that count are the ones that ensure welfare of the children. Defining those is the tricky part.

lago said...

I suppose it might be nice if an 'ignorance is bliss' approach were possible, but I don't believe that it is. There's a lot of evidence to support the fact that secrets within families can have a very devastating impact. In the case of DI (as with many secrets) there's not just the original witholding of the truth, but layers of lies that come along as a result. I think the undercurrent in the family relationships from this can be more damagine than tackling whatever issues may come up (for everyone involved) in telling the truth.

chris said...

As a DI mom, I consider myself and my husband to be the guardians of our son's biological information. In other words, we don't own it; he does. As soon as he is able to understand stories - right around now, at age 2 1/2 - we will be telling him his own story. There will never be a time in his life when he didn't know, he will never have a memory of 'finding out'. It is the most ethical way we can think of.