Monday, June 14, 2010

Well. Hmm.

Where is the Miss Manners for Families-who've-Conceived-with-Open-Donors-and-Now-Have-Contact-With-Half-Sibs'-Families? This is all such new territory and there is so much potential for drama.

So far:
-One woman in the group apparently contacted the donor and met him IRL not too long ago. This woman then posted a picture with her kid and donor on her F.B page, but refused to share the story with someone who asked about it because the meeting was "private between her kid, her and the donor". When Zazie friended her on F.B, this mom told Zazie in no certain terms that she didn't want any questions asked about her "relationship" with the donor, though Z had asked her nothing.
-Another woman is heartbroken that the above woman "broke the rules" and met the donor.
-One woman's (same-sex) partner is absolutely against her co-mom having anything to do with our group, but has acquiesced to the G.Group so co-mom can get info on the other kids. This co-mom has initiated FB 'friendships' but hides most of her personal info from us.
- Zazie and another mom have become fast friends and have started IM'ing each other nearly every night. Zazie and I have had other very nice IMs with a couple other moms.

Zazie suggested a "get-together" sometime next year for everyone and the group, normally quiet, has EXPLODED with emails.

Some said they wouldn't be joining in the get-together at all, due to concerns about their childrens' privacy. I have been turning this over and over in my mind, trying to figure out the reasoning. These moms have initiated contact with the rest of us, but they're worried that somehow their kids won't want that contact when they get older & the kids will be upset that their parents shared details about them. Supposedly, they've joined the group to "leave the door open" for the kids to make the choice themselves later. In my mind, Ruby and Ellie are more likely to be pissed at us later if we were aware of a group of parents of half-sibs, but we refused to take part, and thus, deprived them of having a long relationship with their half-sibs. Our family is Mama, Mommy, Ruby & Ellie (and hopefully baby #3 in a few years). I don't see how having a friendly relationship with these other parents threatens our family unit. Can anyone explain to me? I'd ask the folks, but I can't figure out a way to ask without putting these moms on the defensive.

Others are saying that they want to take part in the get-together, but only if we can refer to the kids as "friends" (not half-sibs). First, I don't see why these kids (the oldest is about 6 years old) would even ask how we all know each other. Couldn't you just say these are Mark, Sally, Bernice, etc.? Second, if Zazie and my policy is honesty with our girls, that means we tell them that these kids are their half-sibs. Why should I have to worry about my kid "outing" their relationship to another kid whose parents aren't going to tell them the truth?

Opinions? Guidance? This is such a weird situation. We're dealing with total strangers whose kids have an intimate connection to our kids. Brave new world!


  1. So many things come in to play here.
    It's this huge circle of people that have been brought together by DNA but by no other circumstances would you ever meet and become friendly with one another :)
    So you may find long term friends. You may also run into a few people whom you are sorry to find out that they are genetically linked to your kids :)

    I say, plan the get together. Those that want to be more involved will come and those are the ones that you will want to meet any ways.

    As for how to introduce everyone. That's tough. Some may not be comfortable calling the other kids 1/2 sibs, or brothers and sisters, or even relatives.
    Maybe discuss it with the other parents before meeting what a comfortable middle ground might be.'s going to be IMPOSSIBLE not to sit around and discuss each and over similar characteristic of all of the kids. :)
    Take it from somebody who knows :)

    My advice. Keep it open and light. as to not scare off some of the other :) ha ha Just enjoy what you do gain from it all.
    Good luck !

  2. I totally get why you'd all want to meet - and I think it's a great idea! I would be all for it. The only part that feels kind of funny is the half-sibling thing. Because I don't think of donors as fathers so it's hard to think of the other kids as half-siblings, you know?
    I'll have to think on that.

    PS I moved to wordpress!

  3. Thanks for your smart comment over at first time second time! I want that miss manners book if you ever find it.

    I might be able to provide some insight into the family where the co-mom is putting on the brakes (assuming she's the non-bio-mom). Back when Leigh was tiny, I felt extremely threatened by the existence of donor siblings. Here I was, desperately in love with our baby, building a relationship out of what looked (and felt) like nothing at the outset -- no genetic link, no nursing, no resemblance -- and to have these other people in the world, arguably MORE connected to her than I was, was absolutely devastating. It made me feel like she was about to be ripped from my arms.

    I got good advice at the time to set aside thoughts of donor siblings or the donor, and focus on my relationship with her, and it was the right thing to do. As I felt more secure, those feelings faded, to nearly gone in a couple years, and nonexistent by year four.

    So give these folks time, don't take it personally, and try very hard not to judge them. This stuff can be hard. It can be extra hard for some non-bio-moms. But these things change, sometimes a lot, over relatively brief periods of time in the grand scheme of things.

    I wrote a bit more about this here: