We are a year and a half into this parenting journey, and in a million different ways we are a picture of the “typical” American family. Two parents. Two kids. A dog. Weekends spent watching football, going to church, BBQ’ing with friends, and reciting way too many children’s books by memory. And, just like you, we love our family fiercely. We just happen to be a family made up of two moms.
It was two moms who went to countless fertility appointments and gave and received shot after shot. It was two moms who sat in a NICU room together, waiting on their newborn twins to be strong enough to come home. And it was two moms who cried and hugged the first time their children took a step or said “Mama.” It has been two moms who have dreamed these boys into being and then stood by them in every joyous and tough step of the journey.
So, to the friends and family who ask at birthday parties and to the strangers who ask at the park, “so, who’s the dad?” My answer is pretty simple: “My kids don’t have a dad; they have a donor.”
A dad is a parent who is present in the raising of children. A donor donates his sperm (sometimes to gay couples, sometimes to straight couples, and sometimes to single women) so that these people who long for, pray for, and wish for a family can create just that. Parents can find donors through personal relationships, such as a friend or family member, or through a sperm bank.
For us, this question has always come from allies. Usually people who love us, or, in the case of strangers, people who are curious because of their own personal connections to the issue. They have the best of intentions … they just need to work on using the best language.
The older my sons become, the more sensitive I am to these interactions, and the harder I work to make sure I have a well thought out response not for the benefit of the adults asking the questions, but for the benefit of my sons who will start to form part of their own understanding of their identity around this issue.
We are asked about our donor from time to time. Sometimes from people we know and sometimes from complete strangers. So, if you ask me a question, don’t be offended by my response. It is not formulated for you because it is not a story you are entitled to.
My boys’ language is exploding right now, and we will start to discuss their beautiful path into this world with them. They will be told how they were made through faith, love, and science. The details, however, will be saved for them. This is their story to be told at the time and in the way they choose. It is not our story. It is not your story.