I follow a blog by a women who has adult, donor conceived children. I found her when I was researching about donor eggs and her perspective and thoughtful insight helped me to make the difficult choices that lead me to the creation of my family.
She recently put out a post about whether or not you should tell you donor conceived children the truth about their biological origin. As you know from reading my blog I strongly believe that secrets are toxic and that we owe it to our children to tell them where they came from, and not least because it shows them how much they were wanted. BUT, it’s so painful to go back to that place of fear and sadness and loss. It’s so scary to expose that tender underbelly of longing, especially when we don’t know how they’ll react. But it’s so necessary.
The recent post was about a new booklet to help the parents of donor conceived children navigate the difficult conversations and emotional turmoil involved with telling. Here are a few quotes from her post, which I believe are quotes from the booklet.
As with all family stories, in the end it is not so much about what has happened but the way we are able to make sense of it that leads to being able to integrate it into part of who we are. If the story you tell your child is coherent and rings true (probably because of the emotion that accompanies it) it will be much easier for your child to take in and sooner or later see your perspective, alongside managing their own feelings.
Feelings of loss or confusion can come and go over the weeks, months and years for your children as well as for you. Sometimes they may feel fine and at other times they may not. Donor conceived adults may need independent counselling – somewhere they can express themselves completely honestly and confidentially – either in the first weeks after being told or sometime down the line. Your support of their need for this is likely to be welcomed.
Deciding to ‘tell’ is not without risk or anxiety, but many worthwhile things in life involve some risk-taking. After all, we grow as people as a result of making courageous choices. There is much to gain for everyone.”
I would encourage anyone with donor conceived children to get this booklet (I will as soon as it’s available!) and to follow the blog Olivia’s View.
Here is a copy of the recent blog post referenced above.
**EDIT – Shortly after I posted a got a comment from Olivia with additional information and resources. I copied it here for those who avoid the comment section (usually a savvy internet move, although not a problem in this space, thankfully).
Hi. this is Olivia from Olivia’s View. Thank you so much for quoting the section of Telling and Talking 17+ that I posted on my blog recently. I should add for your readers that THIS booklet is really intended for parents of donor conceived adults (over 17 year olds) who have not yet ‘told’ their children. I have also written Telling and Talking booklets for parents of 0 – 7, 8 – 11 and 12 – 16 year olds. They can all be downloaded for a small fee or bought in hard copy from DC Network
All the booklets are for parents and are supportive of ‘telling’ giving reasons why this is important plus practical guidance on timing and language to use. They are all illustrated with stories from real donor conception families.