Saturday, September 24, 2011

An "ouch" moment

All has been quiet on the homefront as of late. Little man continues to do well at home with his mama & daddy and we anxiously await updates and photos as they become available!

Although our story of embryo adoption is one I cherish deeply, I don't find much occasion to share our story with people who aren't already familiar with it. Honestly, it's not something that comes up in casual conversation, and we've tried to keep it amongst those we love and trust. However, I did find myself sharing it with someone for the first time this past week.

There is a girl I work with fairly closely on a daily basis. She is a real sweetheart and has recently become engaged. One day last week, I saw her carrying her phone with her everywhere, which was unusual. She told me her twin nephews were due to be born any minute and she was eagerly awaiting word that they'd arrived.

The babies were her sister's, although they were being carried by a surrogate. She proceeded to tell me the story of how her sister had given birth to a son years ago during her first marriage, but that shortly after she found herself in the position of needing a hysterectomy. Remarried some years later, she and her husband decided they very much wanted to have children of their own. They sought out an anonymous egg donor with physical characteristics similar to her own, and were fortunate enough to have one of their best friends offer to carry the pregnancy.

She was incredibly excited to share this story with me, and in turn, I felt truly honored that she would trust me with such precious information. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to share how our little princess had been conceived (few people know that we became pregnant via IVF), which of course also led to our tale of embryo adoption, and the recent arrival of little man. She had many questions, all of which I answered as honestly as I could. I told her that although the decision was initially a difficult one, we haven't looked back or regretted it for one moment since.

Knowing what a devoted a mother I am, she told me how much she admired my ability to distance myself from the biological connection to the baby, as well as any future children that may result. I admitted that there have been several emotional moments for me, the most profound being the day of his birth, but that for the most part I simply viewed it as a celebration of dear friends having become parents.

She then asked if I noticed any physical similarities between their son and my daughter. I told her that to a degree I did, but that I tried not to go seeking it out intentionally. I admitted that it would most likely become more obvious with the passing of time, and offered to show her some photos on his Caring Bridge page. The moment she saw his face, she grabbed a family photo on my desk of myself, my fiance, and our daughter when she was approximately 3 months old, held it up next to the photo on the monitor, and screamed "Are you kidding me? They're identical!"

I won't lie. It hurt.

I know this statement was made out of pure astonishment and disbelief on her part. In no way did she mean to "point out the obvious" so to speak, nor would she ever intend to hurt my feelings. And it obviously wasn't so much her words that hurt as it was having to acknowledge that she was absolutely right. They could've been twins.

She then asked if we intend to ever "meet" him in person. I explained that part of the reason we chose a family that lived half a country away was to make that as much of a "non-issue" as possible. They are his parents, that is his family. Although we love him with all of our hearts and look forward to the day when that hopefully happens, that is not our decision to make.

I do not regret sharing our story with her. As previously stated, it is one I cherish deeply.

But it did result in one of those "ouch" moments I didn't see coming.


  1. I think this is so understandable. It's really helpful for me to read this. My contact with my donor has been minimal since my daughter was born. I can only speculate, but I imagine that she's mostly just busy with her children, but I suspect some of it is these kinds of feelings. I have mostly been leaving the ball in her court, but I've sent holiday and birthday gifts for her children. (Books, as they're easy to send, and are not an emotionally loaded gift.)

    And, yes, as she's gotten older the physical similarities are more striking. My donor has boy/girl twins, and my daughter looks so much like her big brother.

  2. Shelly, I know that I have said it before, but I will say it again. Thank you! Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings as a donor. Being on the other side of EA it helps me to read this as I am sure it helps many others, especially donor parents.