When she browsed the catalog of a sperm bank to start a family, she never imagined that she will, one day meet and fall in love with her sperm donor. Jessica Share relayed to BBC her story of parenting her daughter and later, finding companionship from his daughter’s anonymous father.
Where it All Began
Jessica only knows lesbian moms with kids from previous heterosexual relationships but she and her wife had to start their family from scratch.
To fulfill their dream of having children, she and his wife looked for a sperm bank and chose an anonymous donor of average height and weight, had wavy brown hair, studied literature, and liked sports.
Seven months later she was pregnant with their first kid. When Alice was born, they thought she was perfect. They decided to have another child with the same donor. Her wife gave birth to their second daughter when Alice was 18 months old.
But not everything would stay forever, just after three years, her partner decided to unilaterally break their marriage. Jessica was shocked and heartbroken as she said there was no conflict on their family. Her partner was very adamant on divorce and there was nothing she could do to repair their marriage.
Jessica continued parenting the two girls five days a week. That was until her ex-wife suddenly cut off all contact with them and refused to return Alice’s younger sister following a vacation when the girls were 10. And until today, that remains the case. Even her ex-wife’s side of the family has not had contact with them, not even a greeting during Alice’s birthday.
Alice was deprived of the rights to see her sister she was raised with and is afraid she will never see her again. More than any children, Alice is aware that family bonds are not only created through genetics or parenting alone. However, curious of her ancestral heritage, the girl asked for a DNA test kit from her grandmother on Christmas when she was 11 years old.
The result was revealed after eight weeks and Jessica was surprised that there were records available on the DNA Relatives section of the site. It was of a father named Aaron Long and a half-brother, Bryce.
She tried to search on social networking sites for all Aaron Longs and found one who looked strikingly similar to her daughters. She also left a message DNA testing site to exchange pictures of her daughter and Aaron wrote back immediately. She found out that Aaron used to play in a band in the same town they lived and they could have crossed each other on the street without knowing.
She also exchanged messages with the half-brother Bryce and found out that there are 6 other IVF kids from Aaron, he had been in contact with the other’s parents and a 19-year-old half sister Madi, who was raised an only child might be interested in fostering a relationship with Alice.
Alice was still grieving for her sister and was not particularly excited about knowing her DNA relatives. However, a few months later, and Madi made plans to visit Aaron in Seattle, she and Alice also decided to go.
First Meeting, Falling in Love
Aaron hosted a party in his house and they also visited a sculpture garden. The three half-sibling became closer since then and met from time to time. At that time, Jessica has been in a relationship for a few years with a man who is also named ‘Aaron’ but with a different surname. Aaron even joked that the Bureau of Boyfriends must have mistakenly assigned her a boyfriend with the wrong surname.
Later, Jessica broke up with her ex-boyfriend. However, her communication with Alice’s biological father continued and the man treated them with nothing but kindness. She wondered if her children’s person could also be her person. She talked to him about everything, her children, their dreams, about DNA, and after some time, they started dating.
In summer 2017, Alice and Jessica moved into Aaron’s co-op. Madi also moved in the building later to live with them. Jessica wondered if there are other of Aaron’s biological children and he said there can be as many as 67. She discovered that as a mom, she would gladly take any of her daughters’ new half-siblings care for them. The doors will always be open.
Jessica said it’s hard to tell if DNA played a role in our relationship. But she is very much attracted to Aaron for personality-wise.
“I’ve learned more about what family means than anyone would want to. DNA has become far more important than it was when I first picked a donor from a page. Yet it hasn’t replaced the truism that families are built on love, not genes. Being open to that love is what ultimately makes a family. Everyone can be welcomed and stay in the fold. There is room for many different kinds of relationships.”Jessica Share