The tickets have been booked, so I’ll say it: Lina’s donor family is coming to visit!
It’s been in the works for quite a while, since Lina’s donor mom asked me months ago how we felt about the idea. She said she realized she really wanted to see Lina while she is still a baby (a time that is quickly fading), and their kids are old enough now to remember and really enjoy the trip – their first on an airplane. We were absolutely game to meet the people who have come to feel like extended family.
If you had told me several years ago that this is what we would be doing, I might have called you crazy. I know it probably sounds so weird to most people. This is not a common scenario (although I have met a surprising number of people who are familiar with embryo donation). The old me might have thought it would be threatening somehow to have another mom of any sort in the picture.
But the me who has lived the last three years of this experience knows that we’re just lucky to have more people in our lives who love our daughter and our family. There is no territorialism here, but a shared bond. I can’t wait for them to meet Lina. I can’t wait for our kids to play together. And yes, I admit, I am a little nervous. My inner school girl really wants them to like me!
It can admittedly be a little tricky to explain to kids who are still too young to fully understand our connection. Obviously, it’s not an issue for Lina yet. Corin knows that babies start out as tiny embryos and that Lina’s embryo came from another family, but that she grew inside mommy. He is familiar with her donor family and has seen plenty of pictures, especially of the kids. We’ve mentioned several times that they are coming to visit, and we’ll talk more about it as the visit gets closer. Lina’s donor parents have told their kids that Lina is a special kind of sister who will grow up with a different family. They felt – and I agree – that applying a false label, like “cousin,” just didn’t fit.
I think I can safely say it’s the hope of both families that our children will learn to appreciate this connection, and that they will care about each other all through their lives. At the very least, I feel it is a tremendous advantage for all of this to be in the open, freely talked about and made familiar. We have the opportunity now to get to know each other in person, a relationship built from opposite ends of a shared experience.
So, coming mid-August: The blog post where you get to meet Lina’s donor family!