My parents have never kept it a secret that I am a donor child. As a kid, I used to read a book about myself. It was designed as a bedtime story and a children's book that told the story of how I came to be. I read the book aloud as far back as I can remember and was one of the usual goodnight stories.
In the book, my parents described the nice man who helped my parents get me. That way, he has never been secretive but part of a positive story of being a wishful thinking child.
That the book, was read aloud over and over again, has meant that for little Emma it was a gradual process to understand what being a donor child meant. The older, the more aspects were understood, and more questions asked. Therefore, there has never been a single time when I got the message. It has been a natural part of our family and everyday life for as long as I can remember. I have been incredibly happy about this, and it has had a great impact on my perception of being a donor child. My motto is therefore; with honesty one comes the furthest.
Of course I have thought about whether I might look like my donor. That, I think, everyone has. That being said, I have never needed to know more. It has been a curiosity, but not a need. At the time my parents chose to use a donor, there was no possibility of being anonymous or open, so that has always been a condition. I have not yet been interested in finding him, or finding out if I have half-siblings. I was quite old when I first gave it a thought that it was actually an option with half-siblings. My two younger sisters are both my parents' biological children, but they are my family and I have not needed more than them.
I am sometimes asked if I do not want to know his motive for donating. It is not important for me. The most important thing for me is that he is in no doubt about my eternal gratitude that he wanted to be a donor and that I hope he knows how great a help he has been to me and my family. I think of him with great gratitude, and that way he has a place in my life.
I speak very openly about being a donor child. Both because I think it makes things easier, but also because I have experienced a need from others. Often people do not understand what it means to be a donor child. As a child, I experienced that other children did not understand what it meant - especially because from the outside you could not see a difference - I look like the rest of the family, as opposed to one who has been adopted. And I had a mother and a father - just like everyone else. Even though it was something I told openly, it's never something I've been teased about. However, I have found that people did not believe in me, probably because I did not see it as a problem that they expected.
I remember that in first grade we had to draw family trees and tell about our family. By then, I had already known the story of how I came to be, for many years, so I explained to my teacher that it was not that easy for me to draw my family tree. This is because I did not know my donor and his family. My teacher thought it was something I had come up with and called home to my parents to tell them I was going to compose stories. Today, there are many types of family constellations, and I think it is becoming more and more normal not to come from a nuclear family. It hopefully provides an increased understanding and inclusiveness.
Later, I have experienced a kind of touch anxiety from others - people do not know if they should think it is a pity for me that I am a donor child, or if they should ask about it. That way, the subject is taboo, and that taboo I really want to break with.
I am happy to be a donor child and I am grateful to my donor. And that's the story I'm telling the outside world. However, exposing his story also has consequences, and although the vast majority have a positive reaction to my view of being a donor child, I also sometimes get a slave comment along the way. Some think it's a shame for me, while others are very prejudiced. Most of all, I find that people do not understand me or generally people generally lack knowledge about the subject. The comments that have affected me the most are the negative comments from other donor children who think it is wrong of me to tell my positive story. This has often been due to the fact that they themselves have a completely different experience of being a donor child. They want changes that my narrative might speak against. I understand their frustration, but at the same time believe that it is important to bring out more perspectives on a case before making big decisions that can affect many people.
I discovered that there was a need for information about being a donor child when I talked to a friend who herself was in a situation where a donor child was in question. There are thousands of questions and often questions like: "How do you feel about not knowing your donor?" and "Have you ever had problems being a donor child?"
And then, of course, there is the question of whether it should be an open or anonymous donor. I can only tell how it has been for me through my life so far.
There are an incredible number of difficult decisions associated with the desire for a child when a donor needs to be involved. For this reason, I started my blog; Donorchild by Emma Grønbæk. Here I write about my experiences as a donor child, thoughts and comments, all with the purpose of sharing my knowledge and experiences. It is my hope that this can contribute to a greater knowledge in general and not least hopefully help to give peace of mind and support to parents of donor children and other donor children.