Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Developing the Relationship
I’ve been looking at the relationships that have developed between offspring and their biological parents (or what is often incorrectly termed their donor) recently. I find this interesting as it shows a window into the future as this phenomenon becomes more prevalent due to the use of identity release donors and genetic genealogy. In particular I have been trying to look at what perhaps might be classed as successful reunions or should that be termed successful union as they were never united in physical consciousness previously.
Just with anything like this there appears to be a rainbow of experiences and emotions. I have met a few where there is a distinct acknowledgment that they are father and child, while others describe their relationship as more friendship based and others perhaps more distant. I’d like to focus on the friendship based relationship as I see this as becoming more the norm for “successful unions” even though I am a firm believer that it is a father-child or mother-child relationship based solely on correct “original” linguistic and biological classification.
I see the friendship relationship as being favoured for a few reasons:
1) To acknowledge a parental, father-child or mother-child relationship has the potential to create pain as it is an acknowledgement of what was separated and what has been deprived of both parties. It also has the potential to cause anguish for the non-biological parent as they may fear that their role in the child’s life has been diminished even when the child does not feel that way at all. As such the friendship model is protective to the triad.
2) As we mature our relationships with our parents often change as well. Many people feel that their relationships with their parents become more friendship based as they become adults, move away from home and start families of their own. Most people will only be meeting once the child is no-longer a child (they have reached the age of maturity and are now allowed to access identifying information). It would be difficult to create a fatherly or motherly relationship with the offspring as they are no longer a child who also does not necessarily need that parental style relationship anymore.
3) When we look at reunions for other disenfranchised groups such as adoptees, the relationships are often but not always either constrained or strained. It is difficult to form those deep meaningful familial relationships when you do not grow up with each other and spend years in each others company. Going further than friends will always be problematic due to the lack of these shared lifetime experiences.
While I cannot speak for those from single parent households or same-sex households. The communication I have had with other offspring (of which the vast majority are from heterosexual married households due to the prior prevalence of DC being used in this scenario) is that the majority are not seeking another father or mother because they have those already in their lives or because they are adults now themselves. So it may be that the friendship relationship would be the best case outcome for most offspring.
I wonder how many donors fear connecting with their biological children because they do not have time or the vested interest in what they may view as raising another child when that may in fact not be what the other party is seeking? Perhaps this is another misconception? Although as we see increasing use of known donors who do have contact with these children before the age of maturity, this fear may be more grounded than for previous eras. Especially when some donors are finding out that they have 20, 50 or more than 100 offspring.
It will be interesting to see how many fathers/mothers (donors) and their “donated offspring,” become friends due to the shared looks, behaviour and interests.