Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Telling a child how they were conceived

This is a repost of something that I posted in August. Now that I am pregnant I have begun to think about telling our child one day of their conception. We are going to be very open and honest with him/her, though age appropriate. Though I have a few years before I am faced with this discussion, I am planning it now. This post includes a fantastic story on telling a child conceived via donated embryos. I hope that it will be a help to all of other EDA momma's out there;

For you fertiles telling your children about their conception is easy. There are many options: traditional birds & bees talk, technical talk using terms like "sperm" and "fertilization", or the "when a mommy and daddy love each other" talks. The possibilities are endless. There are even books out there to help you. For us infertiles it is not so easy. Most books do not include words like Petri dish, injection and sperm wash. And it gets even trickier when you give birth to a child that has no genetic, biological relationship to you. I am a member of a Yahoo group and one of the members there has a 4 year old daughter she was blessed with through the miracle of embryo donation. She shared her story of how she explained it to her little girl and I knew that I had to share this touching story. The following is her story:

I was also struggling with how to tell my daughter (who celebrated her 4th birthday in June) about how she came to be my daughter. The question of "to tell or not to tell" was never a question for my husband and I since our daughter has a tan (native american/hispanic) skin tone and we are light skinned. Hopefully I won't offend anyone by writing this, but I do beleive that we should "tell" our children. As long as a single person besides the mother and father of a child know about the embryo adoption the possibility of the child being "told" at some point is too great to ignore. I feel that it is best if the "telling" is done by the parents in a positive way rather than by "who knows who" in "who knows what" way "who knows when". I know that is probably easier for me to say than for people who have children who like them since there was no question that I would have to "tell" my daughter. The answer of how to tell my daughter presented itself over the summer.

Our family has a "garden" of EarthBox planters on our patio. This year we planted tomatos, corn, and watermelons. Each food had its own EarthBox. My daughter had the best time planting and watering the seeds. She was so excited when they sprouted. She called each of the sprouts "tomato babies", "corn babies" and "watermelon babies". She was thrilled when the babies were "born" (bore fruit). One day when we were picking the tomatos from the tomato EarthBox, my daughter noticed a stringy vine that had grown through and wrapped itself around the tomato plants. At the end of the vine was a single half-open bud. My daughter looked back and forth between the bud and its surrounding tomato plants, then said matter of factly "Mommy, that tomato baby doesn't look like her family." "No, he sure doesn't" I replied. I'll never forget what she did next. She petted the bud gently and then attempted to hug it and said "It's okay little tomato baby , I don't look like my family too. Mommy, why don't tomato baby and me look like our family?" I froze in panic. I'd had four years to come up with a good explanation and still didn't have one. I hugged my daughter (and the "tomato baby")! and told them that I would have to think about how to say it but that I would tell them in the morning. Then I stayed up half night and prayed that the answer would come to me. It did. When my daughter woke up the next morning the first thing out of her mouth was "Did you think about the stuff to tell me and tomato baby?". After breakfast, we went out to the patio. The half-open "tomato baby" bud had bloomed into a single perfect miniature sunflower. "MOMMY !! TOMATO BABY IS SO PRETTY
!!!!". my daughter exclaimed. "AND ,AND, AND, AND, TOMATO BABY ISN'T A TOMATO BABY SHE'S A SUNFLOWER BABY. HOW IS SHE A SUNFLOWER BABY MOMMY?" I asked my daughter to look up above the tomatos and tell me what she saw.
"The birdfeeder"
"and what's inside the birdfeedeer? "
"Yes !!! So why do you think sunflower baby doesn't look like her family?" , I asked.
"Cause we put the tomato seeds in the tomato family EarthBox and they got big and they are tomatos and the sunflower seed went down in the tomato family Earthbox and she grew up and she's a sunflower baby." she answered.
"Yes !!! They look different because they came from different kinds of seeds. So why do you think you look different from your family?" I asked.
After a moment of intense thought she responded "Because you put a tan girl seed in your tummy, Mommy ?"
"Yes, that's exactly right , because I put a tan girl seed in my tummy."..... ......... .

Since then my daughter occasionally volunteers to people, "My mommy is white but I'm tan cause my Mommy wanted to have a girl grow in her tummy but the girl seeds in her tummy wouldn't grow good and the nice people had a pretty tan girl seed and they shared the pretty tan girl seed with my Mommy and the doctor put the seed in Mommy's tummy and I got big and I was born."

I think knowing she came from a "tan girl seed that the nice people shared with Mommy and Daddy" has made my daughter feel comfortable about who she is and how she came to be at a level that is perfect for her age. I don't know if this explanation would work for everyone, but it sure has worked for us !



  1. What a fantastic story!!! That is just so great!!

    When we were looking at our options for building a family, embryo adoption was one of just a few choices. At the time, Husband & I were church planting (which brought consternation to our families). And it was an inner city church plant. (More consternation. :) ) And we moved into the inner city. (Yeah, you can imagine they weren't happy about us following God's call.... ;) ) Long story short...I felt as though we were already explaining so many things about who we were, that I couldn't handle explaining one more difficult thing to people.

    This story is a beautiful example of how to make the story happen. Very encouraging & beautiful!


  2. What a beautiful story. Perfect timing on the sunflower bloom too :)

  3. Oh what a lovely way to tell her daughter. I hope when the time comes you can find a way that's just as beautiful.

  4. Ok, what did I do wrong? All I can see are Wing Dings symbols!!!

  5. All I can see are wing ding symbols, too!

  6. It looks like my whole blog got messes up. I think that it is fixed now. If not and you still want to read the story leave your email address and I will send it to you.


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