I discovered how important it is to my kids to find their donor.
This past weekend three of my two kids' half-siblings (and their parents) came to our house for a reunion (one of the moms even had matching shirts made up that said, 'Families are Forever', August 2007 Reunion, which we all wore proudly and thought were pretty cool--my son actually wore lime green, and the other mom jokingly told him next year it will be bright orange!). We also had people from Japan come to film our family for their documentary coming up, and they also filmed two of other kids (the third didn't want to take part but that was okay with everyone involved). These kids just love to be together and had a very enjoyable time.
During this filming, I was to ask the question of my kids, 'Do you want to meet your donor?' My 14 year old daughter, who has high-functioning autism, said right away (she even raised her hand, like she was in school because she wanted to make sure we knew she had something to say), 'I do, yes, I do.' Then I went on to explain that I am trying to find him, but sometimes the donor doesn't want to be involved in the donor kids' lives (I also told her that sometimes the donor does want to be involved but we won't know until we find him, if we ever do). She immediately started to cry, tears rolled down her cheeks. See, to her, the donor is like a father, with her autism there is no gray area, it is only black or white. She knows the donor is her biological father, to her this is the same as a father. It broke her heart to hear that we may never find him, and if we do, he may want nothing to do with her or may want very limited contact. This reaction completely surprised me (and made me get tears, as this is something I don't know if I will be able to fix), and like I told the film crew, I guess I will just have to try harder, I didn't know this bothered her as much as it obviously does (they were so touched by the tears she had when this was going on and really understood that it was very important to her to find her donor). When asked if a picture of the donor would be enough if that was all we could get from him, she replied "When I questioned her further, I got the impression she is okay with the donor not being a father" if it doesn't work out that way. She wants to be able to maybe meet him, so she knows that he is a real person, also she would like to show him the things that interest her in life (like her Animaniacs book she made).
This is something that weighs very heavy on her mind, and she really wants to know what he looks like, also to know that he really exists. She can't understand that this person halfway responsible for her and her siblings being here is out there somewhere, and we have no idea where, and she can't even talk to him or meet him. She is forever asking me, 'When am I going to meet my biological father?'; and I have to keep on saying, 'I am hoping someday that will happen, I am trying really hard to find him, but it might take a lot of time for him to find us. Are you happy with the siblings we have found?' She immediately says, 'Yes' and she gets a big smile on her face. She absolutely adores her half-siblings, even though when they are around the contact is sometimes limited depending on what is going on because of her different interests. But she is at peace just knowing they are around and we know who and where they are. She talks about them in school, even writes about them and draws pictures for them. They are a very normal part of her life now, and it has added so much to her and her brother's lives.
Her brother is wanting to find the donor too, although it doesn't weigh so heavy on his mind (or else he is hiding the fact that it does bother him not knowing where the donor is--with his Asperger's he prides himself on keeping his feelings private). When asked if he, when we find the donor (if we ever do), would look at that person as a father or a friend, his reply was, 'Something in between. It's too late for him to be a father, I will be all grown up by the time we ever find him if we do (he is now 16), and a father is someone who you grow up with who does things with you and is around during that time to be a father and teach you things, and I never had that. I don't have a father. But he would be more than a friend.' My husband, his legal dad, is schizophrenic (usually does okay on meds) and has never been able to be a father figure to him or his sister (he is able to work full time--that takes all the effort he has, and I am able to be a stay at home mom). I am basically a single mother to three (my two kids and my husband--he being the oldest child, because it seems like his good and bad times come in cycles, and he is sometimes worse than the kids). My son did say he would try to have a father-son relationship if that is what the donor wants, but he couldn't make any guarantees, he is willing to be whatever to the donor that the donor feels comfortable with. So, I am glad he is open to whatever the donor wants, if we do find him. He really would like a picture too, as he also wonders what he looks like, and he would like to meet him (he says, 'It would be okay' in response to the question of 'Do you want to meet him?). To him, he has a legal father (my husband) and a biological father (his donor).
So, if any of you donors are out there lurking, please consider sending just a picture, the kids really wonder what their donors look like. Even if you want no contact, a picture would be great. A short note saying something like, 'Hi, I am your donor (or father, or biological father, or whatever you want to call yourself) and I am very glad to learn about you and I am proud of the things you have accomplished in life.' This would be good, at least you are acknowledging the kids' existence and are telling them you are a real person, not a figment of their imaginations.
Even though both my kids are in the autism spectrum, I do not hold my donor responsible. Even if I were to find that he was on the high part of the spectrum (like Asperger's), I would still not hold him responsible, as more than likely he did not know back in the early 90's. I love my kids, however they are, and to say it bothered me that I ended up with two kids in the ASD and I blame my donor for it all is like saying I wish I had never used that donor and had never had them. And my life would not be complete without them, and I would not be the person I am today if I had never had them. There is a reason for everything, I believe, and I guess that it was meant to be. So thanks to my donor from the bottom of my heart.