Questions about answering daddy questions has come up so frequently lately that I want to focus our attention again on responses to these topics: What do we tell our children, and others, about how they were conceived? About why they don’t have a dad?
1. Question: a woman in my local community posted on the Single Mothers by Choice discussion board that her daughter’s recent hospitalization led to many questions about medical history on the father’s side, and basic conversation with doctors and nurses about her young child’s origins. She asked: “Do the moms out there have advice for us newbie moms? How have you handled things when the children go to school? Do you tell the parents/teachers that you encounter? Are the kids comfortable with being open about being donor conceived?”
Use the Comments field below to offer your insight.
This website has several resources:
- A special written by a Choice Mom, featuring illustrations from six Choice Kids, called “I Felt You Flutter in My Heart”
- Some of our most popular Choice Chat podcasts (see menu above) are about donor conception and its impact on our kids, including what donor offspring want to know as adults, expert insight on taking pride in donor roots, Ryan Kramer (Donor Sibling Registry) on his need to know, and the thoughts of an anonymous sperm donor
- The “Do I Have a Dad?” CD, which also includes expert insights from therapists about talking about donor origins with our kids and others
- Responses from the Choice Mom community when Christy asked a similar question after her young daughter started getting asked by other kids
- Handling the inevitable Family Tree assignment in school
- The “fatherless” category has many other posts
- Recommending reading list with our kids
These words of advice also came from Choice Mom and therapist Jordana, whose son was part of an open adoption:
“I think it is helpful for kids to have a snappy answer to questions about the whereabouts of his father. One girl in my son’s class has two moms who used insemination, and when kids ask her why she doesn’t have a father she says, ‘Because I have two mommies!’ For awhile my son was telling strangers who asked about his father (amazing how often it happens!) ‘I don’t have a father!’ with some vehemence. I sort of liked the stranger feeling awkward because of the assumptions they were making, but my son seemed to be mad or feel bad, so I came up with a story: ‘Everyone has a tummy mommy and a tummy daddy to get born. Some grow up with their tummy mommy and daddies, and some grow up with their Forever Mommies. You have a tummy daddy but he doesn’t live with us. I love being your Forever Mommy and I love our family.'”
Jordana also says: “I am fortunate that I have some grown-up male friends that are involved with my son, and my son has experimented with calling them Daddy (He is now 4-1/2). At first I was discouraging of this, because I want things to be clear and honest, but then realized that he truly does know they are not really his daddy. But that he has a kind of need for a Social Daddy– a man who he can show off to the world who loves him. Because we are surrounded by nuclear families, I can understand his desire. Plus, I think it is important for everyone to grow up with the experience of being loved by a man and by a woman, whatever the relationship. It is helpful to occasionally have one of these friends pick my son up at school, so my son can show off he has a ‘Daddy,’ even though we all know that is not exactly the case.”
Other ideas she shared that she has used:
- If her son gets upset, seeing a dad at a park with his child, thinking it’s not fair, she agrees with him that it isn’t fair, “but I point out that he does have the coolest mommy in the world.”
- She talks about what a great daddy he will be one day.
- They talk about alternative families, and she points them out.
- She talks about famous people who were adopted.
- She casually mentions other situations when the daddy doesn’t live at home, like through insemination, divorce, death, military.
- She’s even turned him on to “The Addams Family” to show that being different is okay and kind of fun.
- She keeps present in her own mind that he might want a father, but does NOT want her to have a husband.
- And mainly, “I try to convey that I really like our family the way it is.”
2. Another woman asked me how women are celebrating Father’s Day with their children. Especially if there is no grandpa to share the day with. I’ve created a new blog post with some of those responses here.
3. And for the post responding to a woman asking how to talk about half-siblings with her child, read this post.