Saturday, November 23, 2013

The DI Dad in MTV's Generation Cryo

The following post is exactly the same text I posted to the DI Dads Yahoo Group earlier today (with an added link to a UK article about the show.  In this post Eric Jacobson discusses his feelings about the show that two of his children Hilit and Jonah appear on as well as his role in the show and its production:

A few weeks back I posted about a new reality show coming up on MTV called Generation Cryo. It's the story about a 18 year old young woman from Reno, NV named Bree that decides she wants to find her sperm donor and along the way via, the Donor Sibling Registry, discovers she has over a dozen half siblings. I saw a sneak peek of the show this past week and I think it is required watching for any DI Dad to get a peak into the lives of our kids when they hit their teenage years.

 Another reason to watch is more person to us as dads. The show focuses so far a lot on what is family. And where Bree is the product of a two mom household the first two half siblings she meet are non other than the twin children of DI Dad group member Eric Jacobson. And Eric is featured on the show in this episode and a lot of the issues we each have dealt with are tackled head on. Eric's children make it clear in the episode that Eric is their dad and they have no desire to meet the donor. In their minds and hearts he is their dad. No one else. And coming from our point of view I admit I almost lost it.

 I also saw an interview this week on the Today Show with many of the half siblings from the show and again it was addressed head on by the young adults who have dads that they are not looking to replace their dads, they love their dads very much and would never want to do anything to harm those relationships. Again great thing to see from our point of view.

 I have corresponded with Eric about the show which I believe has now wrapped filming even before the 6 episode series hits the air officially. This show is not reality TV ala Jersey Shore or any of that garbage. This appears worth watching. Anyhow I am copying below an email from Eric regarding his thoughts about the show and his struggles even going into the show.

I will say before this show even came into being Eric's family had over the years been involved with other press stories and his twins and many of their half siblings had already met and established half sibling relationships via their finding each other on the DSR.


Link to a UK article about the show:

Again here is Eric Jacobson's email to me, nothing edited or removed:

On Nov 20, 2013, at 4:20 PM, Eric Jacobson  wrote:

Eric (you can post this)
Thanks for your kind words. If I said this was an easy process making this should I would be a liar. There were many arguements and fights about if I would even participate: How far would the show go in terms of the donor? Would MTV make this into another "reality show" like New Jersey Shore? These were my concerns before we event started the show.  

I think I shared with you and the Donor Dad list serve many years ago that I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into many of the activities related to our family being a donor family: Should we tell the kids? Should we tell them about the siblings? Should we talk to the press? I didn't necessarily want to do any of this - as I said on the show it was my insecurity. However, the one given that made it easier for me was the bond and love I have with Jonah and Hilit. With that in place, I knew that nothing could really go wrong. No matter what they would always be there for me and I am and will forever be their dad. I think this came out in the show as well. What may not be there is how protective they are of me and my feelings. I guess my advise for dads would be to have that love and nothing else could go wrong.

I had no problems telling Jonah to give his DNA because I know that even if they find the donor or meet him, I am their dad. By the way, both kids said from the beginning they have no interest in meeting the donor if he is found. Still my insecurity comes up a lot and that is what I have to deal with. I know you were concerned about how they refer to the donor as donor father. It is a legitimate concern but I think this issue is so new nobody really knows how to be political correct in how to refer to this guy. I am not sure how any of the kids really feel about this journey. Much of it was pushed upon them by families and then things just happen. I remember at one point, Jonah said as an 18 year old man "he could be someone who donated and probably would not want to have to worry 20 years later that a bunch of kids would show up on his door step." I think he gets it.

 Throughout the show I could only be real. Wasn't going to hold back or make it easy for the production people. Sometimes I get emotional about this and sometimes I get angry and there were times I had to walk away from the filming so I could get my act together. There is one other dad in the group and he I have not had lots of conversations but I think we feel the same way. Not really sure about why we have to go through this but it was good getting the kids together. They feel connected. I don't necessarily feel connected. We have made some good friends but I don't see them as family in any way.

 After all these years, I now honestly believe that we have to be open and upfront with our children and with ourselves. We live in a time when the "traditional" family no longer exists and we are pioneers in creating a new kind of family. Think about it, in our group there are single moms, lesbian couples and traditional families. It reflects the United States and the people who make up this great country. Those who are not open with their kids will find down the line that their kids are angry at them, not trusting, and may have other issues as they get older. We have to love them as much as we can and teach them that no matter what I am your dad - I just could not do what other men do and that is produce children - period. I hope this is the message of Generation Cryo for parents and for kids.

 I was told by the producers that my part of the show is a selling point because it does give the perspective of a dad and a parent. This is not just about finding the donor - it is about family and how families deal with issues such as having to use donor sperm or donor eggs. Does this make me a star? No, it just makes me human and my hard outside gave way to the soft inside that my kids love about me. Hopefully all the "dads" out there there that are struggling will find some comfort in this and know that if I continue to love my kids and be a good father there is NOTHING to worry about.  Believe me there were times when we were struggling raising American teenagers and all the other things we have to deal with that I forgot we used a donor.  Those are the issues we need to be more concerned about. 

Please know that if anyone has questions or issues that I would be available to discuss them.  I know how you feel - been there/done it - and I know what comes out on the other side.  So I dedicate my role on Generation Cryo to all the other guys out there - may you get comfort from what I have said.

Eric Jacobson

 From: Eric Schwartzman
To: Eric Jacobson
Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 11:36 PM
Subject: Re: Generation Cryo

Hey Eric,

Just watched the first episode. Felt giving you my impressions before I would post anything or blog about it would be appropriate. 
First off every feeling you espoused that made it on air I have felt and related to. No idea if you have met any of the twins other half sibs parents to know if there is another dad like you. Am curious to see as the series continues. Was interesting and happy to see the amount of air time devoted to parent reactions. Appreciated that. 
Signing off on the DNA swab test was the right thing but can understand how hard it must have been. My kids and their sibs are all too young to be at these kids level of mind set so I am a ways away from seeing what they want. So the show is a possible roadmap of what may await me. 
Am impressed with your honesty and candor. Saying thank you. 

Eric Schwartzman

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