donor sibs

Hi! I’ve been on a little blog hiatus while working on my book, among other things, and will be back soon to tell you about all of it. Meanwhile, I wanted to pop back to talk about a topic that I bookmarked a long time ago: donor sibs.

Last year, I joined the Donor Sibling Registry to see if I could find other families who conceived babies with McPiercy as their donor. On the site, you pay a $75 fee and then you can search on your donor’s number to see if anyone is registered with any info.

E just woke up sneezing and stumbled out with big messy hair to join me on the couch. He climbed into my lap and said, in all seriousness, “Mama, do you remember that I have a lot of cars?” Why, yes, I did remember that, looking around the living room at the display of vehicles. Now he’s watching a fire truck video beside me, under the blanket.

I emailed the three families that were listed. The problem is that after people connect in their first year, they often let their membership lapse. So maybe two of them got an email saying that they had a message waiting and would have to renew to read it. But at least one was active, thankfully, and she referred me to a private facebook page where they had all congregated.

There are four families besides us- one in Marin (4yo girl), one in LA (6yo boy and 4yo boy), one in Alabama (5yo girl), and one about an hour outside of Chicago (5yo girl). Ages are approximate! They’re all fantastic kids- healthy, adorable, smart. I’d say that they all look related. It’s really fun to see photos and hear about how they’re doing- many with soulful brown eyes, strong and active bodies, and spirited and quirky personalities. All the moms are lesbians except me.

We all feel indebted and grateful to McPiercy. Someone filmed the video of his interview and posted it to our page. It’s a special kind of admiration. Thanks for providing your genetic material, dude, because we got just the right kids!

About a year ago, we met one of the moms of the LA boys, in town visiting with her new girlfriend (without the boys unfortunately!), and the whole family from Marin- both moms and their daughter, L. We had everyone over to my place in SF and my parents happened to be visiting at the time. We had lots to talk about and it was fun to see E and L playing together.

What does it mean, really? I mean- genetics are one component of things, but, in a way, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything beyond biology. As in the case of adoption, when there is no genetic relationship, the familial connection is no less strong. Same goes for many gay parents who are not the biological parents of their children. Also women who conceive with donor eggs. The list goes on. A genetic connection isn’t necessary to create a loving family.

But it is something. My child is related to me and my family, but got half his genes from someone we’ve never met. If nothing else, it’s a curiosity, and fun to find out about these kids who are technically half siblings. It feels like there’s only upside potential. These are friends with whom E will have one big thing in common: being a donor kid, with the same donor. If that reality ever feels confusing or weird, he could have someone to talk to about it, who is in his exact same boat. And, given that they have an actual bio father in common, perhaps there are other things they’ll have in common. Who knows? It feels like a low-stakes way to see if there are any nice connections that we’d want to maintain. And, if not, no harm done.

A few months ago, we drove an hour west to Geneva to have dinner with another donor family. They have a teenage daughter from a known donor and then 5yo L. They also invited another lesbian couple and their two kids (unrelated to our donor). All the kids played¬†together while we chatted at the table and, honestly, by the end of the evening I felt like I’d known them all for years! E and L became buddies and she offered him her light saber to take home.

All the moms are talking about planning a vacation together in the next couple of years. I love the idea of these kids knowing each other. And the moms too!

Here are E and L together in SF a year ago:

And here are E and L together in Illinois a couple of months ago:

When I tell people about this, they smile and shake their head and talk about this brave new world. I know it’s a new thing to get one’s head around. Yet it feels like only potential to expand the love. So I can’t wait to see where it all takes us!

lots o love xoxo