Thursday, April 01, 2010

2010 Census: Biological Son or Daughter - Best Fit


It's April 1st, the official enumeration date for the 2010 Federal Census. Like most people I received the envelope, tossed it onto my desk and have been meaning to get to it. The trick for a parent of a donor conceived child is how to accurately fill it out.

"Biological son or daughter" is not wholly accurate in relation to me. But as I am living in New York State and I was married to my children's mother when they were born under NYS law I am seen as their "natural" parent so I guess it is the best fitting answer I can provide.

On the other hand I have written that I have looked at donor conception as sort of a half-adoption.

From a psychological stand point I am going with biological as viewed through NYS law. In the end this is a people count not a tool to measure households with donor conceived kids so I am not stressing my answer. But I admit I thought about the answer enough that I felt I wanted post about it here. And we know I have not exactly been as active on this blog for sometime now.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter everyone. If you have not completed your Census forms please so as they make a difference in the disbursement of federal funds and politicial representatives your State is a alloted.

17 comments:

Bea said...

Maybe the forms do need updating? Not, as you say, that the accuracy on that point matters too much for the purpose of this particular document...

Bea

Ryan said...

Well, I know that as a donor-conceived child I consider the idea that I was half-adopted to be kind of insulting. If my dad put me as anything other than "natural child" or "biological son" on the census form, I'd be kinda pissed. He cares for me, he did what he could during my childhood, more than 98% of our DNA is the same, what're a few spare genomes?

damianhadams said...

When filling out the Aussie census I have a similar problem when it asks about details of my father. Unlike Ryan, I class my father as my donor and my dad is the man that raised me. And yes I believe that I am half-adopted. So when I fill in the details I end up putting in those for my dad, if I had details for my father I would put those in instead because it specifically asks for my father.
And while there is only 2% difference in genetic sequence it is this 2% that makes us all different and also links us with our next of kin and gives us many of our traits. Take another 2% away and you're a chimpanzee so 2% is a big number in the genetics game especially when the vast majority of your DNA sequence is non-coding so a lot of that 98% is moot.
Back to the census, I think that perhaps they should be making changes to accommodate all of the variations.

Rosalind治男Garney火吟 said...

Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.......................................................

damianhadams said...

You know Ryan I used to think the same way as you. I used to be offended when people might say that my Dad was not my father.
But some things change some things don't.
Just because I call my donor my father does not mean I love my Dad any less. I do not value everything he did for me and the love he had for me any less either.
It is great that you have such a fantastic relationship with the man that raised you.
Just as there are a whole rainbow of emotions and thoughts within the DC community, going around stating that people are wrong on a topic that is entirely emotive based is a bit rich.
Why do so many DC offspring call the man that raised them Dad and their progenitor father? Because it separates their roles and the term Dad for many of them has more emotive content. So they are elevating that person on an emotional level. And just because your progenitor doesn't mean anything to you doesn't mean that it shouldn't mean anything to others and that they should only be donors to them.
You state that you find that definition offensive, fair enough, on the same token I could state that your continued attempt to belittle the meaning and importance of the biological connection for other offspring and the subsequent pain and anguish that some of these offspring go through as offensive too.
I can respect that you are happy with your lot, just as you should be able to respect that others may not be happy with the hand that they have been dealt.

Ryan said...

I will not accept that, Damian. I absolutely refuse to accept the assertion so often spouted that the donor-conceived are inherently broken, and whether or not you want to admit it the splitting of terms to label one man as Dad and one as Father is part and parcel to that assertion.

We, you and I, are not broken or flawed. The hand we were dealt is no worse than anyone else's (with the exception of my parents lacking fantastic wealth) and in fact is a damn sight better than what a lot of kids get to start out with.

I compare our "suffering" to the legitimate suffering of other children and I truly think we're being excessively egocentric to complain about "our hand". That's just how I see it.

damianhadams said...

So when someone says that they are distressed and upset about something you choose to say, "No you're not really distressed at all!".
Good on you.
You have no idea whether I or some other offspring are broken or flawed Ryan. When you have others tell you, like they have to me, that they wish they didn't exist purely because of their conception then that is pretty darn broken.

Ryan said...

No, Damian, that's psychotic and they need to calm down. That's worse, way beyond worse, than suicidal. That is a call for oblivion, an unwriting of one's own existence. I can think of nothing, anywhere, that would make me regret existing.

It's like when my oldest son cries because someone hit him with a pillow too hard. I tell him that he's overreacting and not to bring the situation to me until he's rational.

In fact, I treat it exactly like I would if my son screamed "I wish I'd never been born!" I'd send him to his room until he calmed down, but for the most part come to the thoroughly rationale decision that he didn't mean that at all.

For the record, I have attempted "polite" conversations about the "I wish I'd never been born" statement. The discussion ended which the other party asserted that I was broken as well and just denying it. I guess their side of the issue is free to tell me how I feel, but I'm monstrous for trying to calm them down. Fantastic.

I'm not saying that's what you're doing here, just that it's happened. That crossing the line to assert that we're all broken and shouldn't have been born is dangerous and twisted... but it happens in these discussions. Invariably.

Lindsay said...

You know what Ryan, if you are so content and happy about being donor-conceived and insulted by what myself, Damian, and MANY other offspring, donors, recipient parents, and adoptees feel, why do you even read, let alone post on our blogs?? I know quite a few adult offspring who do not feel "damaged" and are not upset about being donor-conceived. Some are interested in finding siblings, some are curious but not intent on finding their biological father/donor. Yet, the interesting thing, is that NONE of them are active in the DC community!! Even though one of them is a very close friend, he does not even read my blog, unless I ask him to read a post for some reason.

I just find it so ironic, and so peculiar that you, you who finds offense and as downright nasty to many of your fellow offspring, would spend any amount of time in our presence, debating and arguing on these forums and blogs, if you REALLY don't care about being donor-conceived, as you so admit!!

Please enlighten me, because for all intensive purposes, I just believe that you are subconsciously unable to deal with being donor-conceived and your only way to justify your own existence in this manner is to aggressively belittle your comrades to better buffer your own insecurities regarding not being related to your dad.

whosedaughter said...

Ryan,
I think it is great that you help represent the 'donor' conceived who are pro-'donor' conception but I do think you might want to consider being less militant against your fellow 'donor' conceived who are not so happy with the cards their 'donor' conception dealt them.

I think you'd find that we actually have more in common than you think. I don't know ANY 'donor' conceived person who wished that they didn't exist or wish they were dead because of it - that is just a silly accusation that is so often used to discredit any 'donor' conceived person who expresses a loss and has serious issues with 'donor' conception as a practice.

I also don't know any 'donor' conceived person who would ever say that all 'donor' conceived are broken. We all know that is just not the case and any person who said this would automatically be discredited as uneducated on the subject.

Please do keep sharing your positive views but please consider others points of view as equally valid and worth consideration.

-Karen

DI_Dad said...

Hello everybody. I hope you are all well. I am quiet these days due to non DC related issues (see earlier post). If anything in the short term I am more concerned these days for my kids re their dealing with the immediate changes in our family with their mom's and my separation.

I have generally never gotten into these discussions you all are having as I am obviously not looking at the issues from the perspective you all can. I will say I have never taken Ryan's comments to mean he is pro-donor conception. Just that he was not anti-DC at least with respect to his life. Maybe I missed something but that has been my reaction.

Again my best wishes go out to everybody.

鈺禎 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
雲亨 said...

灰心是動搖的開端,動搖是失敗的近鄰。..................................................

宏泰 said...

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DI_Dad said...

Can anyone read Chinese to tell me if these commentgs are spam or are relevant to the topic being discussed?

Ryan said...

I can, and they're spam.

I stopped responding to this thread because I don't actually think there's anything I can say to make the situation better, not even to say that I *was* active in the Donor-conceived communities, until I was shouted down and basically made to not feel welcome.

I'm active in these communities because it makes my chances of finding my donor just a modicum better, and I would like to get his medical history.