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It's Never Too Late ...


a blog by Ellen Glazer, January 27, 2011

I can remember a time when people going through egg donation or sperm donation talked about “disclosure.” It’s a word that I’ve never liked, at least not in reference to the truths about how one built one’s family. The very word “disclosure” implies that there is a secret — or the possibility of one — and that that secret needs to be dealt with. I prefer the words, “truth” or simply “family story.”

These days, most people I meet fully intend to talk with their children openly and honestly about donor conception and to do so from a young age. But what of those who come from the “Disclosure Days?”

I have had several calls in recent months from parents of donor conceived teens. In each instance, the story is remarkably the same: The parents always intended to tell their children the truth about how they joined the family, but they didn’t know when the right time was, and somehow they kept postponing the telling. Now they phone me because they have teenagers, and they feel that they absolutely need to talk with them.

Sometimes the urgency is coming from things the teens are saying that seem odd, such as: “Is there something you are not telling me?“ or “Are you really my mom?” When the parents call, they are generally in a panic. They feel that they’ve waited too long. They fear that their kids will feel betrayed. They feel that they’ve “blown it.”

Here’s the good news: It is never too late. In each instance, I have met with the struggling parents, worked with them to develop a plan for talking with their teens and helped them rehearse the conversation. Once we begin to talk, they are reminded that they have solid, durable relationships with their teens and that these relationships are unlikely to be undone by telling the truth. That is not to say that it will be easy, especially in a day and age of Facebook and texting, with many parents fearing that their private conversation will go public moments after they have it. So we plot it out — the where, when and how of truth-telling — and then it happens.

The parents I have consulted with have been kind enough to phone me and let me know how their conversations went. In each instance, I have heard from happy, relaxed, relieved parent who feels unburdened. Yes, they report some difficult and painful moments, but each feels unburdened, and they feel proud of the way they and their teens handled the conversations.

It is always best to avoid living with a secret. However, secrets happen, and it is never too late to detoxify them with the truth.

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