Take it in your stride
The first time Jacqui and I met our donor, he came to our house – it was actually our anniversary. The front door goes, and you’re walking down the hall to meet someone with whom you’ve had a child, but whom you have never met before. It was surreal, but mostly because it was so not weird.
David is a remarkably good donor to have. He doesn’t negate the importance of who he is to the kids or to us, but at the same time he is very clear that his kids are his kids and our kids are our kids.
The kids have always known that they were donor-conceived, and they’ve known that Maisie and Dougal have the same donor for over a year now.
Before Corin’s birthday party last year, we were sitting in the car with two of his best friends. Corin was running through who was coming to the party and he said: “Maisie and Dougal”. Then he said to his two friends: “I might as well tell you, Maisie is my half sister” – I almost drove off the road! It was the first time I had heard him say it and I could see his friends in the backseat, probably thinking: “oh my God”. But Corin just explained it, and Corin’s close friends have always known that Corin had a donor. Kids just take it in their stride.
Corin and I talked about it again last night. We went for a drive and he was talking about how he genuinely loves Maisie and Dougal; he was saying that they’re absolutely more than just friends. Corin is clear that Scout and Cully are his sisters and Maisie is very clear on who her brother is: her brother is Dougal, not Corin, they’re not being raised together. But Corin sees Maisie and Dougal as different than friends. He has his friends whom he loves, but there’s something more with Maisie and Dougal – I see it as sort of like cousins.
What has become really clear with the whole process is that, for the kids, it’s just their reality and no big deal – it’s the grownups around them that don’t always cope very well.
There’s no need for Cath and us to have any kind of relationship, except that we’re friends and we like each other. For the kids, though, now that they have that knowledge, it’s a kind of forever thing – so they will manage it and negotiate it and travel through it over time. And I think it will change over time – it’s their story.