Them Before Us Co-Founder Katy Faust recently published “Don’t Ignore The Child’s Perspective on Gay Couples Commissioning Babies“ at The Federalist. The post is laced with studies on how the lives of children are impacted when their fundamental rights, itemized at the end of the article, are not protected. Keep this article handy- the links will prove invaluable when you are have conversations on reproductive technologies and family structure. Those conversations tend to center on the desires of the adults. But Katy seeks to share the child’s perspective through a composite of more than 30 children who suffered intentional mother- or fatherlessness.
Here’s what this little girl, who has been commissioned by two gay dads, might say if she could tell her own story:
When I was little, I hated Mother’s Day. I watched all my friends celebrate their moms and wished I had one too. I always wondered where my mother was that day. Did she think of me as much as I thought about her? But then, I wasn’t sure who to think of as my mom: the one that I get my nose from, or the one that gave me my taste for spicy food? My dads told me to make cards for my grandma instead. It was confusing because women mattered enough to celebrate my grandma but not enough for me to have a mother. I wanted a mom like my friends but I didn’t want to talk about it because I didn’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings. It’s hard to talk with your dads about missing your mom when they are responsible for you not having one. How do you sit someone down and essentially tell them that they are not enough of a “family” for you? There were times I felt so sad and angry with my mom for not being there for me, and then times I felt angry with myself for even wanting a mom to begin with. But I did. And I do.
Growing up, I loved staying at my friend’s house who had a mom. Sometimes her mom would get out her wedding dress so we could be princesses, and I would feel jealous of my friend because I wished there was a wedding dress in the attic at my house. In elementary school, I had some “adjustment issues,” and they started me on Ritalin for ADHD in fourth grade. I was pretty connected to my genetic dad, but not so much to my other father and I felt guilty about that. I struggled with identity issues. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time online looking for my other half-siblings out there. I can’t access records about my egg donor mom because of the Cryobank policies. I’ve seen pictures of my surrogate, but she doesn’t look anything like me. I have adopted friends who are searching for their birth moms, but I don’t really have a birth mom. I have a donor and a surrogate. So I can’t even fantasize about finding that one woman that I long for.
On the rare occasion that I dared to voice my desire for a mother, the response from adults was “you’re so wanted” or “you should feel lucky to have two parents who love you” or that I “should grateful to be alive.” There was this sense that “we paid for you, you’re our kid, you’re not supposed to go out and seek anyone else.” But something inside of me desperately wants to know that other half of my DNA. I lost sleep over it. I do love my dads, but the more they told me about my conception, the more uncomfortable it felt that they spent so much money to make me. And I wondered what would have happened if I had the wrong physical characteristics or had a disability. Would they have “chosen” me or disposed of me? I’m 25 now and my twin sister, who never seemed phased by any of this before, was just diagnosed with depression and has started taking antidepressants. Sometimes I just feel lost.
Read the full article here.