Both of my kids are biologically mine and my husband's. There are times I've actually felt guilty that we had our own biological kids instead of adopting, especially knowing how many children out there need homes.
I also know that I couldn't be a surrogate mother because a lot of my bonding happened during pregnancy and birth, but at the same time, I have no problem donating my eggs without even being slightly bothered by the idea that I'd never meet the children that come of it ... or really even caring what happens to those eggs at all.
I think that's because, for me, it's not the DNA-aspect that makes a family at all.
I no more consider a child born of my donated eggs to be mine than I would someone who wore a wig from my donated hair to be a part of me. Okay, so obviously not quite the same, but my point is, I don't feel that my eggs automatically equal my baby or my family. I'm well aware that there are many people who don't share this emotion and very much feel that the donated eggs would create their child, which is why often, they aren't allowed to be egg donors.
I would love to be a surrogate, to have another chance at a healthy and mentally-healing birth, but I also know that I couldn't carry a child for nine months and birth them and then hand them over to someone else. Women who do are amazing, but it's just not for me ... I could, however, do it for my sister, for example, where I'd see that baby grow up and love it.
While the initial idea of loving an adopted child as much as my biological children is hard to fathom, I think I absolutely would. I've seen many women who do, and it's amazing. I also understand that often women go for infants not just because they'd like to avoid problems in behavior the child may have gained over a life through foster care and adoption homes, but I think it's easier for a parent to bond with a baby with simplistic, primal needs and no voice than with an older child.
People who adopt are amazing, and foster mothers are exceptional. I can't imagine caring for children and inevitably bonding with them, knowing they could be taken back from you, and sometimes put into a less-than-ideal situation, at any given moment. I think just the act of caring for a child often is the act of falling in love with a child, and that's where I just don't quite understand feeling as if the DNA of an egg means the child is somehow yours. After all, if you had to use an egg donor, does that make the baby any less yours because the child doesn't have your DNA?
I don't know ... for me, it's all about the experience, the bonding, the care, the love ... not cells. So I don't always quite understand people who can't donate eggs because they couldn't deal with having "a child of theirs out there" or people who seek out parents who never cared for them. I respect their feelings, but don't quite understand. My husband's father signed over all rights after not being involved at all when he was a baby, and while we're seeking him out half-heartedly, it's out of curiosity, and especially for health information since we have children of our own, not because he feels like he's the father he never knew and needs in his life.
Do you feel DNA links you as a family, or that experience does? Or somewhere in between?
Image via daithifortytwo/Flickr