Friday, April 16, 2010


Oh wow...where to begin? I went to our ECFE class last night. I love that class. It is a wonderful group of lesbian moms and our kids, ranging in age from teeny tiny babies to 3 1/2 year-olds. I truly enjoy it. Last night, after leaving the kids in the care of our fabulous preschool teachers, the other moms and I had a lively discussion about issues surrounding donors. By "donors", I mean sperm donors. I didn't expect this topic to resonate with me quite as strongly as it did. Being the full-blooded lesbian that I am, I feel the need to "process" this issue ad nauseam. So, here goes...

Ruanita and I used two different anonymous sperm donors to have our children. We initially intended to use the same donor for all of our children, but we only had one shot at that until Lucas' donor was no longer available. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for us that our kids ended up with two different donors. Therefore, Lucas does not have a biological link at all to Sophie and Nicky. In my mind, this is a complete and total non-issue. In my kids' minds, they are 100% sister and brothers. I do not distinguish in any way between the kids who are biologically linked to me and the one that is not. They are all my babies, biology be damned! Ruanita and the kids...they are my family.

Perhaps it is for this reason that the word "donor" strikes terror into the very heart of me. It is such a seemingly innocuous word. However, it carries a weight that seems to somehow, at least in my mind, pose some invisible threat to the perfect little family Ruanita and I have created. It's not a logical's not a realistic fear. My kids are 100% legally mine. I am not worried in the least that a donor will swoop in and try to take them away. Rather, I think my fear stems from the knowledge that there is someone else out there who has a biological link to Lucas that I will never have. As categorically irrational as it sounds, acknowledging the existence of his donor makes me somehow feel a tiny bit "less than" in regards to Lucas. I changed his diapers. I clean up his puke. I cuddle him when he is scared. I kiss all of the boo-boos. I do his homework and plan his birthdays and play Bionicles with him until I feel like my head will explode. I am his mom in every way and always will be. However, in a way, it pains me a tiny bit to know that he will never have my eyes...or my dad's ears...or his Uncle Matt's hands. I guess I grieve that fact a bit more than I ever thought I did.

In actuality, I should be grateful for the donors who allowed us to have our children. And I am. I will be forever grateful for their gift. That being said, however, I do not want to think about them. I do not want to know anything about these men. I do not want to know any of the other children they helped to create. In my mind, my family is Ruanita, Lucas, Sophie, and Nicholas....and Molly the cat. We went to great lengths to create our family. It is ours and ours alone. I am fiercely protective of what we have created. In my mind, there is is no room for outsiders, regardless of biology. And these men whose sperm we purchased...they are outsiders. Perhaps this is selfish of me? There were definitely moms in our group last night who felt differently than I do. There were moms who were actively seeking out children born to other couples using their same donor...their children's "donor siblings." I respect this and certainly can see the value in seeking out these other couples and children. As one mom pointed out last night, if my child ever needed a kidney, it would be comforting to know that there are 18 half-siblings out there somewhere. However, I just can't find it within myself to work up the desire to know those other people out there. Again, they are outsiders to me and I don't feel at all that they are a part of my family. I wish I was as open-minded as some of the other moms in our group, but alas...I am a narrow-minded selfish woman. And I am OK with that.

So that brings me to my biggest do I explain to my children the connection these "outsiders" have to our family? How do I explain to Lucas and Sophie and Nicky that they have donors, who these men are, and what role they played in the creation of our family? We have never used the term "donor" with our children before. All three of them understand that they have two mommies. They know most kids have a mommy and a daddy, but that all families are different. Some have two mommies. Some have two daddies. And some have only one parent. I am certain they have no doubt in their little minds who the members of their family are. However, Lucas is seven years old now. He is started to ask questions about the birds and the bees. He is hearing things at school. How do I explain how babies are born without creating more questions for him? I need to introduce the term donor into his vocabulary. He needs to know how he came to be. I don't want him to suddenly be 12-years-old and just hearing for the first time that he had a donor. I just struggle with exactly how to explain it to him. I fear that it will end up sounding as awkward as it feels to me, and that I will screw him up for life. I wish it were as simple as "when a man loves a woman..." Unfortunately, we're a tiny bit more complex than that. Then again, their existence was born from love the same as any other. So I guess we're not really that different after all. Their existence has always been about "when a woman loves a woman...." Now how do I convey that message to my children?


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