There really haven’t been discernible sunsets here this week – at least not in the city – as the gray days have just rolled into night with little transition. [This, of course, is total RLG weather.] In lieu of a sunset photo, here’s our backyard, taken from our dining room, at about the time the sun was likely coming down.
Okay, as promised: the Donor Sibling Registry.
First let me say that I know everyone has their own opinion about this, and that makes sense. It is a complex thing, and a controversial issue in the queer community, and surely there’s no wrong approach to it. Please please know that I mean everything I say with specific regard to our family. And please afford us the same respect: if the registry isn’t right for you, please withhold judgment, as that doesn’t make it universally wrong.
I love the DSR. We weren’t sure we would, not through either of our pregnancies. But once this baby got here, and once we adjusted to new parenthood and started figuring out who our son is, it became less and less threatening. Here’s the thing. Bram has two parents. He doesn’t need a dad. I feel no insecurity on this point. And gods willing, he’ll have brothers and sisters. By “brothers and sisters” I mean witnesses to his childhood, people who come from his people, sons and daughters of his mama and pomo, other children who grow up alongside him, who will hopefully be there for his big moments: who will be his family. He doesn’t need that from anyone else, and no one else could fill that role. Once I felt assured of all of this – and no longer wondered if turning to the DSR would, even unconsciously, be an effort to fill a lack – it started to feel safe.
Bram has no lack. But he does live in an ever-connected world, and we are raising him to see beyond the artifice of boundaries and conventional organizing principles. As a culture, the fact that we value connectivity is undeniable. We love connection: what else explains the blog communities we build, or the hours we spend reaching out using social media, or the families we construct out of friendship groups. I think this may be especially true in the queer community, wherein people learned to create and redefine family when the people who were supposed to function as such let them down. My devotion to all of you – to your thoughts and lives and families – is evidence of our need for community. I cannot imagine parenting without this space. If this is true for me, it must be all the more true for my children, who will [likely] never know a world without instantaneous global connection. I think about what that will mean for them, how living in a world of iPhones and Skype and Facebook [and whatever smart people think of next] will shape their world. Baring an apocalypse, Bram will turn to these tools to build his community.
When I think about what that community might mean, then, I think about his donor siblings. Not his brothers and sisters, but his donor siblings: people in the world who, for better or worse, share his blood. There are parents out there who, given the same vast number of options we were given, chose the same person to provide half of the DNA for their children. Who came upon the same profile, the same photo of the same little boy, and thought: Yes. Him. We choose him to fill this sacred and ineffable role in our family. That is beautiful to me. It makes me love them without ever having met them, just as I love B’s donor. Just as I love E’s donor. And those parents have children who look like my son. They do. I know because I’ve seen them. And oh how I love their children. How their children feel like family to me, not in a way that’s territorial, but in a way that feels expansive, that builds bridges from my heart to the hearts of strangers who are strangers no more. Families that share something with us that cannot be defined.
That we can offer all of that to Bram is thrilling to me. This is so not because I think he needs it, but because we are human, and we crave connection, and love is limitless. If he sees something of himself in these children, I can only read that as beautiful. If he loves them, if he thinks of them as his in some abstract way, I can only feel good about having opened the door. I don’t think we can ever have too much family. At least not when family means more humans to anchor to, to understand ourselves by, to love.
So the DSR is right for us. It hasn’t taken anything from us, and it’s already given a lot. It’s too soon to tell how much these connections will grow – and it’s way too soon to know what they’ll mean to Bram – but I’m grateful that we have them. I think they offer a way into some of the lovely mystery of this sweet way of building a family. I look forward to seeing what gifts they’ll have to offer in the years to come.