Posted on 01/01/08
I'm the Mom of a teenage son conceived through an anonymous donor. At the time, I did not choose an open donor; there were very few and the legal implications were unclear (perhaps not to a lawyer, but certainly to this prospective Mom). Also, I didn't think that even an open donor would really want someone knocking at their door 18+ years down the road. (My apologies to the donors out there; I was wrong about that.) Would I do it differently today? Yes.
I've always been very open with my son about his conception. I realize that the uniqueness of it hasn't always been easy for him. But he has always seemed fine with it and about the not-knowing piece. He didn't feel that there was a missing piece and who knows if/when that would have happened for him.
A little over a year and a half ago, seeing that the bank now offered more information on donors, I checked to see if they had anything additional on our donor. Other than a new (only a couple years more current than the one I had gotten years ago) long profile, there wasn't. Shortly after that, I saw a news program about the DSR. I immediately went on the web and discovered 2 half-sibs. I was excited and amazed but tentative. There was a whole new world out there that I knew nothing about. Not only was there the possibility of connecting with people, half sibs were already listed. Part of me wanted to jump right in and e-mail/post but part of me felt like I needed to sit back and take a breath.... As my son hadn't expressed concern in not knowing all the answers about that part of him, I decided to take it slowly. A few months went by, and it seemed like the right time. I planned to talk to him about the DSR and the postings and e-mailing the 2 families. Before I talked to him, I went on the DSR for my weekly check and was amazed to see the donor listed. Later that day, I talked to my son about it all - it was a lot for him to take in all at once...one minute, there's a part of him that he's always assumed will be unknown without any ability to get any more information than the donor sheet; the next minute, there is the possibility of connecting with people. He was quietly enthused ('cool' was his comment!) and was OK with me e-mailing people. So this time last year, the adventure began.
Those first weeks were a whirlwind of introductions, e-mails and photos! It was wonderful and amazing but a huge leap into the unknown all the same. The three other families were all wonderfully welcoming to us while at the same time giving my son space to move at his own pace. He made some initial connections with his sibs though Facebook (for us, the nomenclature went from the awkward wording of half-sibs to sibs and then quickly to sisters!). As we are in different parts of the country, getting together to meet was not as easy as picking a time and place to meet for coffee or ice cream. The other families had already met a few times over the past year; they were planning on getting together again over the summer. My son and I started planning to make the trip too.
A few weeks before our trip, another sister and Mom discovered the DSR and the flurry of e-mails and photos started all over again! As my son and I got on the plane this summer, we were excited and enthused but also nervous. We spent almost a week with the donor and his family (more sisters!), a sister Mom, and another sister Mom. The experience and connection were amazing and it was just taken for granted that we were all part of a big extended family. But it was also just the beginning of getting to know each other and building those connections. As my son said, ''it couldn't have turned out better'. He had not yet been looking for answers; but when the ability to know and to make these connections became possible, he was so happy about it. These connections are now very important to him. The DSR made that possible, and I am thankful for that. The families, both the donor and sisters, had faith, courage, and openness to post and share themselves - so the amazing journey continues.