Friday, January 4, 2013

Unexpected Gratitude

She kept staring at the twins and then looking at me. "They look so different from each other."

I smiled at her.

She said it again, perplexed that twin boys could look anything but alike. "I mean, he looks just like you. And he... Did you get to pick?"

This caught me off guard. It was Christmas Eve at my cousin's house and his 20 year-old cousin on the other side of the family, a single mother herself to a 2 year-old boy, was intrigued.

"Pardon me?" I said, as it was sinking in what she was asking. Obviously I hadn't forgotten that my boys were conceived with anonymous donor sperm but it isn't something I had thought of recently.

"Did you get to pick?"

"Oh. Um, yes. I did."

"Did you see a picture?"

"No, I didn't see a picture first." (At least not for this donor as by the time I got to IUI #8, the fancy bank with the bells and whistles was out of my price range.)

"It's just [The Dynamo] looks just like you and [Sweet Potato]...." her voice trailed off.

"Right. He looks like the donor", I said.

"So you saw a picture?"

"No, (again) I didn't. He has the same traits."

"Oh so you know about him."

"Yeah. A little bit."

She and I were not close. I see her once, maybe twice, a year at a party or holiday. We had never talked about anything personal before. Obviously, someone told her how my boys were conceived and she was curious. I'm glad she was. I'm glad she reminded me of the questions to come. And of the wonderful thing an anonymous person did that enabled me to build my family.


  1. wow. isn't it amazing what people say?
    I love that you were so open. I am the same way - W looks so much like me. But every once in a while I get a, "oh! Is his father tall too?" (which is amusing as, HELLO!, I am six feet) but I happily explain that the DONOR I used was average height.

  2. My good friend asked the same question. She wanted to know if I got to pick or if the doctor chose the donor. It really made me laugh but she was serious. It's important to be open and willing to talk about these things--if only to clear up some of the, umm, misconceptions.

  3. My daughter is bi-racial, so I get some really interesting questions as well. They are very perplexed becuase she is a very pale version of me.

  4. You know, people say the weirdest stuff. I mean, kids often look like only one of their parents. Or neither. Or some weird combination of both. People are absolutely confused looking at my light-haired, light-eyed son (who is actually the product of two dark-haired, dark-eyed donors...)

  5. I get the "did you get to pick" question all the time. I'm sometimes tempted to say No and see what happens.

    I have two that look like me and one that has to look like the donor. No one has specifically come out and say it, but I can always tell when they're thinking it.

  6. Someone on the subway recently asked if I was Sunshine's mom. When I said I was, she peered at us and pronounced that she could see our similar features. Ummm, no. I just shrugged. Not really a teaching moment.

  7. I read your blog and love it. I have nominated you for an award.


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