Last week, I waxed poetic about my feelings on the matter of Nature vs. Nurture… I think it’s pretty clear that I value Nurture far more than Nature. But, do I? Am I simply justifying this path I’m considering in the face of mounting odds?
Am I simply justifying this path I’m considering… out of selfishness?
Partner and I are both avid ancestry hunters. We’ve delved into our histories so deeply that we’ve crossed historical paths and are, in fact, cousins. (Don’t worry, it’s like 9 generations back and really random.) We’ve uncovered family histories of pain and stories of selflessness and love- children taken in from the community because, “No one needs to be an orphan,” and folded seamlessly into the family; broods of children separated into the homes of other family members when the bio parents were unfit, origins never spoken about again. We’ve replayed many moments when it’s simply clear that Great Grandfather Tiddlywinks wasn’t always Tiddlywinks and we’ll have to accept that we won’t know his parents. Partner and I have had our DNA run and there’s no shortage of people we share genetic material with for whom we can find no paper evidence of being related to.
Short story… people have been raised by families not genetically “theirs” since the dawn of time. And it did not make their family any less valid.
So, what’s the worry?
Times have changed… We can now know, easily, who’s who GENETICALLY. Proof, evidence, of our parentage is no longer limited to paper and a personal narrative. The ease of access to scientific evidence and a cultural desire, need, to know “who we are” and “where we came from” is strong. There is a ground-swell of change to declassify the adoption process, making sure bio-kin have access to one another if they both want it, at an appropriate time. The same is true of children conceived by donation of sperm and egg. Even my own DNA test was done out of a desire to confirm family stories (which proved untrue!) and to hopefully find links to cousins in other countries… I wanted more “family.”
But never once did the “half” siblings, adopted cousins, and illegitimate children become less in my eyes.
What about their eyes, though?
In worrying about a difficult conversation that’s possible, how to help ease the ego-punch that could come to Partner if he does have azoospermia and I suggest donor sperm, I started Googling for positive stories and support. I found it; but I also found so many articles and blogs by and about the CHILDREN conceived this way. Their thoughts and feelings, searches and frustrations. For every one essay that was a donor child happy and content with part of their biology being anonymous there were dozens that ranged in emotion from curiously searching to outright angry.
Nature versus nurture, indeed.
I see it as wanting this theoretical child so deeply that Partner and I are ready to go to great lengths, conceiving him with the utmost of intention.
But what if she sees it, one day, as being robbed of the family she “should” have had?
What if my path of intentional conception is not purest love and a wish to nurture, but simply selfishness?