As someone inveterately curious about people’s lives, I hit “pay dirt” recently. Not only did I get to hear a family story in some detail, but it was not “just any” family story. My “pay dirt” took me to a series of interviews with Wendy Kramer. I had the incredible pleasure of hearing about her experiences as a mom helping her son, Ryan, find his people. As the search unfolded, it was clear that these were Wendy’s people as well. Here is a bit about why we had the interviews and how they worked.
First the why ... For many years the DSR website has received and shared family stories of search, connection, kinship redefined. Countless stories have been offered, but one has remained largely in the background. I know that as a board member and reader of the book Finding Our Families: A First-of-Its-Kind Book For Donor Conceived People and Their Families, I knew bits and pieces of Wendy and Ryan’s story, but I had no sense of a timeline, of how much — if at all — the website assisted Ryan in his personal search, about what — if any — relationships Ryan had with genetic siblings, his donor, extended family. There were pieces of information but I had lots of questions. Admittedly, I’m a family story junkie, but in this instance, I was pretty sure I was not alone in my curiosity. From my perspective, this was a story worth telling and long overdue.
Now the how ... This was the fun part! I don’t watch TV, but have heard from so many others of the thrill of moving from episode to episode of an exciting and engaging series. Who among us has not known — or been — someone tethered to Mad Men or Orange is the New Black. Over the course of five or six weeks, I had my own thrill of going episode to episode: for me it was the Wendy and Ryan story.
I suppose that Wendy and I could have covered the Kramers’ story in one long, intense phone call but that wouldn’t have worked for me. Instead I needed to take each episode in, write it up, marinate on what I’d learned and then move on. It was clear that each twist and turn in Ryan and Wendy’s journey taught them new lessons about family and that these lessons were well worth passing on to others. I wanted to not only hear this fascinating story but to make sense of it. And so it was to this end that Wendy and I spoke once each week for about an hour over a five-week span. I remember looking forward to each call, eager to find out “what happened next” and how it was all unfolding.
Our conversations continued until the story was current and there was nothing more to tell — at least not yet. Hopefully Wendy will share new chapters in their story as they unfold and I will have the opportunity — I hope — to add them to the narrative you will see on the DSR website. For now, I hope that you will find Finding Our People as moving and compelling as I did. It more than satisfied this family story junkie.
—Ellen Glazer, November 2016