Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Father's Day Note

Father's Day is bittersweet for me, as it is for many donor conceived people. It's a day where our emotions are often torn between the subtle differences of two seemingly synonymous and father. Society's understanding is that these two terms both identify the same individual, one is a formal while the other is a more intimate term. However, for donor-conceived offspring we have segregated the roles of these two words.

Our dad is the man who raised us. He's the one who changed our diapers and spanked us when we misbehaved. He's the one who may (or may not) have taught us to play ball or coached our little league team. Heck, he may have even paid for our college! On the other hand, our father is the man who gave us life. We share 50% of his DNA. His family, his ancestors, are our kin. We may have his freckles, his nose, his personality or his temper.

Neither one of these two figures are any more important than the other. That is where many recipient parents get it wrong. They try to eliminate the role of the donor, our biological father, to something so mere as "helping us" or "giving us his sperm". Both men have a very important role in our lives, and it is our choice how to handle the dichotomy of dad and father that is unnoticeable to most everyone else.

I wonder as this Father's Day draws to a close if I will ever have the chance to wish my biological father a Happy Father's Day? If I had that chance, if I ever met him, if he ever came across this blog, this is what I would want to say to him, to let him know.


A note to my father:

I've dreamt of you since I was a little girl. I used to dream that you were a super hero, or a famous celebrity, an astronaut, a doctor, a spy. Every month or so I would pretend you were someone different, because I honestly had no clue of your identity or anything about you, so it was possible that you really were the President!!!

I even had several years ago a reoccurring dream where I met you at a genetics conference when I was much older --- this was when I was applying to PhD programs in genetics.....still my academic interest and passion but no longer my career. My interest and knowledge of genetics seemed to appear mysteriously (and against the sheer comprehension of my family!), so it makes me wonder what your career is, are you a doctor, a geneticist, a scientist? Did I inherit an unnatural [i.e. before ever taking a genetics class] understanding of Mendelian inheritance and ability to do complex statistics on genetic data from you?

Do you dream about me too? I mean, I know you don't of course dream of me as an individual, but do you ever think of your children that you donated away? Do you think about how old we might be, if we got into a good college, if we are successful? If we are happy? If we think of you?

I always wondered what you looked like. Do you look like me? What are your hobbies and interests? Do you prefer movies or TV? Chocolate or vanilla? Do you even like ice cream?! Are you a hopeless romantic? Do you like sports? Are you better at Math or English? What's your favorite childhood memory?

There are so many things I want to know about you. There are so many things I want you to know about me.

I'm not looking for money. I'm not seeking a father-figure or another dad, although I would hope you would enter into a reunion willingly and openly. I'm looking for answers to life-long questions and concerns, and the chance to get to know you, and you me.

Would you take the chance on me? Would you take the chance to step away from your comfort zone of anonymity and look for me? Am I worth it?


molly said...

my names molly, and i read over a number of your posts and found myself having a strong reaction to this post so i came back and decided to comment

i also am a child of a sperm donor...from 1976, which was long befoer donors were given numbers and sibling never even occured to me to look for my donor, so your plight is very unfamiliar to me

my dad was sterile, hence the insemination.....and i gotta tell you, my 'dad''s inability to be there for me after my parents divorced (i was barely six), angers me, and my mom angered me in how she chose to tell me about the insemination and for the ways in which she used the truth of my paternity against my father still leaves me seething, where as the generosity of the man who wore a beeper and rushed off to donate every time my mother ovulated for 18 months in a row until it took, does not anger me

for me 'dad' is soooooooooooooo much more importnant than 'father' as my dad owed me something, but i never felt my father did...he was just trying to make a few bucks or do a good deed, either way his intention was never to be my dad,

anyhow, my heart aches reading this post, only for me my mind turns toward my 'dad' because ive always wondered why he wasnt interested in knowing me, or loving me, and in that, this letter on fathers day resonates

Panic Away said...

I empathize with how you feel. It is a yearning that is difficult for those that have a father to understand. You have a wonderful way of expressing your feelings. Thank you for sharing.