Thursday, February 07, 2008

My Son Now Realizes the Donor Is a Real Person. I Think.

One of the downsides to referring to the donor, as the donor, is that it does dehumanize that person. Yesterday my kids had a play date with one of his classmates, in this case the boy who like my son is donor conceived and has two moms.

While tucking my son in I mentioned that like he and his sister have a common donor and are full siblings and that similarly his classmate and his baby brother also are full siblings as they share a common donor. I realized my son did not understand that the donor was a man like me when he asked whether the donor was a man or a woman. I explained that the donor was a man like me but that his sperm “worked” where mine did not and that is why we needed his help in making he and his sister. I reminded him that “T” their half sibling was created like them from the donor's sperm and an egg provided by her mommy.

I explained that the donor was a young man when he sold/gave his sperm to the sperm bank and that he is older now and may have a family of his own and that those children would also technically be my son’s half siblings. My son then asked if we know if there really are any more half-siblings like “T” out there. I said I did not know but I check the list where I found out about “T”.

I did not give the “donor” another name as I don’t really know what to call him. I did not go as far as to tell me my son that someday if he wishes he may want to meet this man. I did tell him that no matter what I will always be his and his sister’s daddy and that I love them both very very much. He smiled at that. I was afraid to humanize the donor too much as I was scared to, in effect, out right state that this man is his biological father and possibly scare my 5 ¾ year old son into thinking this man may come for him as the thought that I may place a fear into his head was in my own.

When I told my wife of this conversation she asked how in depth were our son’s questions or was I pushing the subject. I admitted that I started the conversation but I had not pushed the topic on him and would have changed the topic if he showed no interest in it.

4 comments:

Ryan said...

You have to let it go, Eric. You can't worry about it. Whoever this guy is, he doesn't really matter.

Donors aren't fathers. They are donors, plain and simple. Your situation is no worse than mine or my fathers'. We all three of us care for sons that are not our genetic offspring. At least you don't have to worry about the donor showing up at your son's school to try to take him away.

I did have an uncomfortable conversation with my son the other day regarding his "real dad" (I hate that term) but I didn't push the issue because, well, pushing breaks things.

Bea said...

It sounds like he's putting the pieces together, bit by bit. Hopefully he will grow up understanding it, but without thinking of it as something that makes him hugely different to his peers. I guess that's a fine line to walk between talking enough to make sure he understands, and making it into a much bigger deal than it should be.

Bea

DI_Dad said...

Hey Ryan,
Thanks for your comment. Don't worry I am not over thinking this nor do I believe I am obsessing as evidenced by my lack of posts to this blog anymore. But the issues are soemthing I do want to be cognizant in referring to my children's donor. When we occasionally speak of their conception and the donor I want to make sure the kids grow up realizing he is a real person and worthy of some respect. THey may want nothing to do with him and that is finie with me but if they do decide that is something they want to explore I want them to not feel the subject is taboo and be ashamed of their feelings or that they have to tread lightly around me.

My son is in a unique situation as he has this classmate and another friend who is also donor conceived. And unlike other kids this is rare for three friends at this age (unless they meet through say a Donor Conception Network event) to know each other in case they want to explore the topic as they get older.

Regards, Eric

katty said...

That's great your son has these friends around him, Eric.