Read Part 1 of Where do I fit in…
The first thing I did was talk to my friends in the IVP. These are internet friends I have known for nearly ten years. Most of us met in a donor sperm thread on a fertility forum. When the forum became unwelcoming to all we established our own hangout on the web. Over the years we have been a part of each other’s lives in many ways.
I posed a question to the group asking if anyone had gone down the donor sibling road before and if they had any advice or things for me to consider. In the IVP group of over one hundred families it was refreshing to hear there was no sure way to navigate this territory. All of our families are different, our expectations are different, the level of information our children know or will know is different.
Some families had easily embarked on the journey to connecting with donor sibling families, some families had not even considered it. It was valuable insight for me to know there was no wrong way to do this. What I needed to do was what I have been doing all along, trust my intuition, listen to W, and take pauses. Seriously: be comfortable with pauses. Once you cross the threshold of some doors there is no turning back.
My first “here we go!” step was signing up for the Donor Sibling Registry. This site has been around for decades and it is THE hub for donors and donor families looking to connect. The site was how the donor siblings from the Mtv show Generation Cryo connected with each other. It is an overwhelming and strange site for a newbie.
I moved through the site cautiously – what was I looking for? I didn’t really have any interest in other donor families or their stories. I wish everyone well and no heartache, but what I was there for was something concrete to share with W. I wasn’t sure what I would find. Would it be the actual donor? Other families with children connected through the use of the donor? A notification that there was something horribly wrong with the donor? Would there be one family or many and what would that feel like once I saw that information.
Like I said, all of this was no return land. Once I typed in the donor number and clicked search I needed to be ready for what I saw. It took me two days to get there. Two days to talk it through with my mom, with my friends. I never presented this bit of anxiety to W because he did not need to carry this for me. It did not need to matter to him – the number. The number was going to be what it was going to be. I was the one who needed to get to the headspace of acceptance in advance.
I thought of a number in my head, something akin to a typical kindergarten class size, and I imagined that number representing all of the half siblings/special cousins. A classroom full of different aged W’s was all I could imagine. That was hard. Thinking of it that way made me feel like the children were a part of me, when in fact they had absolutely nothing to do with me, they are a part of my son.
Suddenly I was ready. I typed in the number and I watched my computer monitor as it briefly flickered through the search before presenting me with the information.
It’s very hard to explain the emotion I had when I saw the other families listed. It was something like annoyance because, HEY! This guy was MY donor. I picked him to create MY kid. I felt an ownership rise up in me that I had never experienced before. I kept looking at the number of children. It was more than a class size. Seeing that made me panic. Seeing that made me freak out and worry – what had I gotten us into? How was I going to explain this to W?
To be continued…