It’s Donor NOT Dad!
Both Jeanna and I were raised by two amazing parents. In our lives those parents were our mom’s and dad’s. That was our normal, that was what we knew, we were (still are) extremely loved by our parents and both sets of parents would do anything for us – to teach us, to keep us safe, warm, happy – basically to raise two well rounded, responsible, contributing members of society.
Now as we ventured down this road to motherhood, it was obvious that there would be one less term used in our house – there would be NO DAD, because there are TWO MOMS.
Our daughter, Gradie, has two moms, two moms who will teach her things, two moms who will keep her safe, warm and happy, and (hopefully) raise her to be the well rounded, responsible, contributing member of society that our parents raised us to be.
With all of this said – we have, and I know we will continue to get questions regarding Gradie’s ‘dad’. Please note – when you ask anyone who has created life in the unique way that we have, be that they are lesbians or single heterosexual women who just longed to be a mother, that our children do NOT have a dad or father – they have a DONOR.
For the most part, as is the case for our family, this donor plays NO role in our child’s life. He made a decision to donate his sperm, and we were able to purchase said sperm and utilize it to create our family as we know it today. Whatever the reason was for his decision to make this donation; be it monetary gain, or helping out individuals who so badly wanted to have a child but were otherwise unable to do so, is irrelevant to me and our family, I am just grateful that he made the decision.
You might want to ask us a question as to why it is Gradie has the beautiful blue eyes she does, when my eyes are brown –
and we won’t take offence to you asking if the DONOR had blue eyes. However, asking if her dad had blue eyes likely will cause some awkwardness.
Both Jeanna and I are completely ok with discussing how our family came to being – how we went about choosing a donor, the story behind it, the parameters we thought were important in making our decision, etc. In fact we encourage this discussion, we are happy to explain this to anyone who is genuinely interested, or who simply wants to ask if our donor had blue eyes, but when we do so, we will refer to our donor, and we ask that you do the same.
At one of Gradie’s wellness visits her pediatrician asked a question that would relate to the donor, but she asked if Gradie’s father had whatever it is we were discussing (I forget now what she even asked, but I will never forget that she referred to a father), I was kind of taken aback, but my answer was no the donor did not. A bit later, she again asked something and referred to father, to which I replied the DONOR did not. She realized what she had done, and at the end of the appointment she apologized profusely, to both Jeanna and I, for using the wrong terminology, and that she meant no disrespect by her mistake. I feel that it served to remind her that our family is not necessarily like most people’s but that we are just that, a family. (Both of Gradie’s moms have attended all of her doctor’s appointments and well checks, and we do absolutely love our pediatrician as well as all the staff at the clinic, this was a once off issue and we in no way feel unwelcome or misunderstood when we bring Gradie in to be seen.)
While the situation was not pleasant, I also know that this was not the first, nor will it be the last time this happens to us. I understand that our family is not the ‘norm’ that people are used to; I understand that our non-traditional family will take some getting used to. It’s the same for our own families, in both mine and Jeanna’s immediate families we are the first homosexual family member, and definitely the first to wed and have a child. We’re all just learning the ropes and that is why I want to speak, openly, about what terminology is appropriate to use.
I’ve had family and friends ask me directly what is the correct way to refer to the donor, and I’ve had both friends and family that have automatically used the term dad or father. As we move forward, I believe that families, like ours, will become more and more visible, more accepted, and more mainstream. Until that time, I will continue on my quest to answer people’s questions as they come up, to be open and honest in my conversations with you, and all I ask in return is that you offer my daughter, my wife, and myself, the same respect in our conversations, most importantly around our daughter.