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October 24, 2012

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elizabeth

Handled quite well. Logic always trumps hysteria.

Ginger Kay

With that title, I thought you were going to talk about Santa Claus. I think you answered your daughter well.

One Funny Motha

Too funny. Such tricky questions. But your daughter was right. I can't believe a couple would outright lie to their kid about how she came to be in their family b/c obviously that is one lie she will eventually figure out. I try to be as truthful as I can but occasionally I have lied to get out of the whole where do babies come from question. Usually I say "I don't know. Go ask your father."

Lori

I'm a Christian, but before you hate me know that I'm not a judgmental one and a persons sexual orientation is their business, not mine. Also, I got pregnant with my oldest in HS...he is not under any assumption that I was married first. I believe in the truth....even when it's hard. I think you handled it all very well.

Collette

Your daughter is one smart (& lucky) little girl. I don't understand why people lie about these things as the truth will always come out anyway. It just hurts the kids in the end.

Katybeth

My son attends a Waldorf school and while we have our own school "issues" I have always been grateful that our families (mostly) that were made up of two men, two women, single, one white/one black parents, breastfeeding/not breastfeeding parents were always very honest with their kids and my kid. Of-course we all swear that there are gnomes and fairies but that is one of those other issues.
Good Moming!

Kristin

I like your answer, but I think another important part of the conversation is to respect how families choose to define themselves. And "making" can take many forms - considering all the different science that's involved in baby-making these days. If I were in this situation, I'd make the first phone call to let the moms know about your conversation. Their daughter may not be as vocal about chats with schoolmates, and your daughter's response may have upset or confused her. Or maybe just send over this blog post.

Kate

As the daughter of two lesbians I call bullshit on "respect[ing] how families choose to define themselves." Kids deserve to know exactly who they are. And for those of you who are saying "well, seven is a little young..." I was five when my mother explained to me about the sperm donor.

Kana

These lessons can be hard to teach tiny people, they need such simple words, and they stubbornly only want to know what is "really" going on. There can't be two right answers, and they don't appreciate mealy-mouthed talkaround answers. And two great people might have two different answers to what "really" is a parent; I think you besrtode the line well. That a real parent is there for you, raises you; but that biology has real parameters too.

Good luck with these tough questions!

Kristin

@Kate: That's great, for YOUR family. But not all families with two moms are the same, just like not all families are the same. Since you chose to preface your opinion with a definition of your situation, I'll add mine. As an adoptee, I feel strongly that each family deserves the right to choose the story of how they came to be. And when the child learns it.

Kids deserve a lot of things, and hearing their history from their own parents is a big part of it. And security is number one. And that has nothing to do with being an adoptee, it's child development.

Vicki

We'll let's talk turkey basters here.

My nieces and nephew are under no illusions that there was no male involved in their making but they are also aware that their genetic material was purchased and their 'father' was never part of the picture other than a bio in a catalog.

Both their mothers were involved in the making. It is a joke in out family about turkey basters but it is not a bad analogy.

So you can explain to your daughter that although there needed to be male materia/sperm,l delivery of it was possibly by one of the mothers as the other received it to make the baby.

The UDG

At some point, Future Little Undomestic will probably ask about Husband's father. At this point, Husband has two moms and has for the last 15+ years. I don't remember my parents lying to me, even when I asked the tough questions (like when I was 8 and I asked how my uncle contracted AIDS-I vividly remember the Look that my parents gave each other). Husband doesn't have the ability to bullshit and I don't have the patience for it, so I will definitely take a page from your book and let the truth fly.

Kelly

Well, in all fairness, the two moms COULD have each had a part in making a baby. One donates the (fertilized) egg and has it implanted in the other's uterus. Maybe they were still unsure about sharing the "how babies are made" bit and were as truthful as they could be?
I'm all for honesty - my kids knew at a pretty young age exactly how babies were made. Trust me, it was a discussion followed by "Yuck!" and "Ewwww!" from my 4, 6 & 8 year olds. :)

Jonathan "Blade" Manning

You could've gone into the technical differences between a mommy, daddy, and a mother and father. I did when I explained adoption to my kids. When I explained to my youngest daughter recently about why her friend had two mommy's I simply said that her mommies loved her very much and they were a happy family. I think you did a great job. :)

Traci

As a resident of Massachusetts, I've had a couple pretty funny conversations about Max's dads and Sadie's moms, and how all that happens. "When two people love each other very much, sometimes they go to an adoption agency, and other times they have friends run down the street with a turkey baster."

Fact is, my kid doesn't think of anything as icky as s.e.x. when it comes to any of their friend's parents, because gay or straight, we're all boring, lame grown ups to them.

Doctor G

Our kids need to know they can come to us for the truth. You gave your daughter that security. They won't stop looking for definitive answers, if we don't give them then our children will learn to ask others and not believe us. Strong work.

The Borg Blog

I'm not sure whether you meant your title to say that you wouldn't lie to your OWN kids simply because someone else lied to theirs, or if the title is not a mistake - and that you would tell the "truth" to someone else's child, too.

I think your conversation with your daughter is perfectly appropriate, but before you jump on how some other parents may have had a conversation with their own daughter about her parentage, you need to step back.

First, you've just played one big game of telephone. They had a conversation with their daughter. She had a conversation with your daughter, and your daughter had a conversation with you. You have no way of knowing or understanding the nuances or context of the original conversation. You have a bastardized version of it just by the very nature that it has now come to you through two SEVEN year olds.

Second, you are technically correct. Of course. But at this point if your daughter asked you how she was made, you MIGHT tell her something to the effect that she was a product of yours and her daddy's love for each other. Well, her friend is the same product. Yes, scientifically, material from both a male and female are required to make a baby - you ae right - as others have already pointed out here, it was the two of them who decided to have a child and who decided to take the steps necessary to bring her into this world. "Make" is a very broad word. As others have mentioned turkey basters - a great lesbian joke at Thanksgiving - they may very well have made love and one inseminated the other not THAT much differently than you and your husband did. YOU DON'T KNOW.

So both "truths" could actually be correct. And just because one person above knew about the sperm donor at age five doesn't mean that EVERY parent has to handle a situation in the same way.

You are the one who chooses what to tell your child and when. Seven year olds talk. I remember a four year old once - I was about sixteen - after having been taught the appropriate language told me about how her daddy had a big penis. Your daughter's conversation with her friend is nothing you have to apologize for, either.

But please take a moment to rethink your judgment about whether what these two parents told their child was not the "truth" given that you weren't there, and in some ways, it could have been the truth. This is very different than a concrete lie about a difference in dates for marriage. That is an outright lie. That these two women chose to bring a life into this world with their love, and took the steps needed to do so, is NOT a lie.

Jester Queen

Possibly the seven year old just came up with her own explanation. I mean, the whole sperm donor thing is confusing for a kid. (I like the way you explain it by the way). Or there's always the way some friends of mine did it. The one partner supplied the eggs, the other partner supplied the body, and they had a sperm donor to supply the rest of the chromosomes. So in that sense, yes, that couple DID both make the baby, but there was a whole third confusing other element.

Melissa

You have no idea if Jenny was "lied" to. Her moms did make the choice to have her, and they are both equally her mom. It is no one's business how their family came to be or which parent is the birth mom. Sometimes even straight couples need more than just the boy + girl = baby equation, sometimes it takes drugs, drs and sperm donors, but no one ever feels the need to clarify that with their kid.

Also, it is biologically possible for 2 women to conceive a baby. I am married to a trans woman, and our children are biologically both of ours, so our daughter has 2 biological moms, yes one is technically her biological father, but she lives, presents and parents as her mother. So my daughter saying that her 2 moms made her would not only be philisophically accurate, but scientifically accurate as well.

Getcha

First, two stories in my family:

My brothers oldest daughter was born when he was 17 & her mom was 15. She left my brother, got married and my brother consented to let his daughter be adopted by the husband. She turned 18 in March of this year and found out that her "dad" wasn't her dad, that my brother was. A shit storm ensued. She left home and 2 weeks ago sent an email to my brother to let him know she was ok, but no longer in contact with her mom; that she wanted the chance that had been denied to her to get to know him.

My husbands sister was born when their mom was 15. Two years later my husbands older brother was born. Two years later their mom married my husbands dad. He adopted the sister & older brother. When he passed away and the sister was going through paperwork, she found the adoption information. She was 45. The sister has not spoken to the mom since that day, 17 years ago. Another shit storm.

In both of these situations, one of the first things that was said was "WHY didn't you tell me". A child has the right to know the truth about who they are.

I was so happy to read that you were honest with your daughter. The truth comes out eventually and wouldn't it be better if it came from the person the child trusts the most, in a safe and loving situation.

Erin@MommyontheSpot

This kind of reminds me of Modern Family when Mitch told his daughter her mother was a princess.

It is my belief to handle everything honestly, even if other parents don't. Well, everything except Santa since my kids are still so young.

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