Read Part 1 of Where do I fit in…
Read Part 2 of Where do I fit in…
What was presented to me on the DSR was information, numbers, data, and reporting. A family reveals small nuggets to share, little breadcrumbs, and it is up to you to decide how much to pick up or follow. At first all I could see was the number of siblings, eventually I was able to discern: boy, girl, birth dates, number of families. No one had shared a red flag of a health warning to be on the look out for. There was no message from the donor, and I was more than ok with that.
I honed in on a message from one of the families. It was simple, but it seemed to speak directly to me. Paraphrasing it said, “are you overwhelmed? Don’t be. We’ve been there. There is a private group. Message me for details.”
I must have read and reread her message dozens of times before I finally wrote to her. I figured this is what it was all about, right? Having a column of data was static as far as information. When I asked W if he wanted to know about his special cousins he said he wanted to know about them. Surely knowing someone is more than, “there are X number of boys, and X number of girls, and these are their approximate birth dates.”
This was also the point where I had to completely surrender my own feelings; my anxiety, my possessiveness, and my unfamiliarity did not belong in these next steps.
Less than 24 hours later I was in the private online message board for families with donor siblings from Donor _____. The woman who added me to the group posted a welcome thread, and I clicked around the board in wide-eyed wonder, scrolling through archives, reading amazing updates, marveling at connections, having my breath taken away by some photos.
This is something I was dreading. Truly. For his entire life I have loved (LOVED) hearing how much W looks like me. As a single mom it just feels uniquely special. I know as he gets older he will evolve into his own beautiful masculine face, but right now I see myself in him, and others see it as well. It’s ridiculously primal the feeling I have about this. I’m owning it. What I was afraid of was discovering photos of other children who look like W. Would I then feel like these kids were my kids? Would I feel like W no longer looked like me? Would I have FEELINGS about photos?!! YES. I KNOW. I get that this is ridiculous, but clearly this is all brand new territory for me and every single moment is a moment I evaluated.
When you get right down to it, I selected a donor who looks like me. Same ethnic background, same face shape, same coloring, same eyes. If I was dating someone or married and embarking on trying to have a child this stuff would not be any concern of mine because there would be a person in my (our) life who would be the other variable in genetics. As a single woman – it was just me, solo, so I stuck with what I knew, what was familiar.
There are some kids in the group who look a bit like W. (and interestingly enough, their mom and I do sort of, kind of look-alike – ish)
This was the point where I was ready to touch base with W so I told him about the group and I asked if he had any questions, if he wanted to know about any of the people there, if he wanted to see anything. His response: “not really.”
OH. OH NO. Had I jumped the gun on all of this?!!! I didn’t bring it up again.
The next day I was showing Mom some of the information and W asked what we were looking at. I told him and asked if he wanted to see anything. He said he wanted to see pictures. So I scrolled by a girl, and another girl, when I got to a photograph of three boys (brothers) W asked, “wait, is that me?”
That’s when I realized – seriously realized – this is BIG STUFF. I’m 38 and I am struggling with everything, so this has got to be overwhelming for W. I told him the boys (and the girls) had the same donor W did. I took out the “special cousin” element for a moment so he could land on the science part firmly. He looked a bit more closely at the image and then went back to playing with his cars.
It was the reality check I needed. Who was I doing this for?
To be continued…