A Real Modern Family


Determining your ideal mate is something everybody thinks about. Physical and personality characteristics of our “dream guy/girl” are often discussed with friends and family when we are on the dating scene. Eventually we meet that person that we are physically attracted to and then after dating we come to love their personality and as the story goes…you date, get married, have kids, get a dog, etc.

My determination of what my ideal mate looks a little different. I had to figure out my ideal mate after I had already found my partner, Krystal.

When we decided we wanted to have a child we knew that a sperm donor was going to be needed considering medicine and science had not yet figured out a way to make it happen with only what a woman could provide. It was at this point we had to mutually decide on the donor’s physical appearance, personality, health background, education, and much more.

We knew very early a few things:

  • We did not want the donor to be anyone that we personally knew – we didn’t want that awkward relationship even if it started out as them just being the donor, but then later deciding they wanted to be more involved and all of the fiasco that could occur.
  • We did not want the donor to be related to her side of the family, even though it could help us with similar physical characteristics and maybe some genetic similarities.
  • We wanted the donor to be open identity so that once Landon turns 18 years old he would have full capability to contact the donor should he chose to.

When we got to the point where we were selecting the company we sought out the company that provided the fullest picture. We wanted medical history, pictures as both a child and adult, personality characteristics, as much as we could get. We found a company that was headquartered in Georgia that provided everything we were looking for including a 30 minute audio interview of the donor.

There is a made for TV movie that is very near and dear to me and continued to play in my mind over and over when we were selecting our donor. The movie is called, “If These Walls Could Talk 2”. The last part of the movie is a lesbian couple that is trying to get pregnant and they are trying to select a donor. Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Stone play the parts of the couple and of course Ellen invokes humor, compassion, and is able to really humanize the whole situation. Attached is a short 10 min clip. http://youtu.be/kPplrhfuGK8 I strongly suggest watching.

I remember spending hours and hours going through profiles, all of them having a unique codes that symbolized their physical characteristics rather than names. I kept looking at pictures of the donors from their childhood and adulthood and trying to imagine them as live individuals. I finally narrowed it down to two donors and Krystal and I mulled over the decision for a few hours before choosing. If this worked we were going to be connected to this person for the rest of our lives. What if physically he met our expectations but educationally he lacked? What if he just ended up being a jerk later in life? So many questions that you would normally be able to judge face to face when you are with someone who we had to just make our best guess. I felt like more thought and consideration had gone into the donor we chose than I had put into my choice to even be with Krystal. When we finally picked we kept listening to his audio file and looking through his pictures and eventually named him “Jay” so that we could humanize him.

Donor at Age 5

Donor at Age 5

Fast forward to December 2011. Landon was almost a one-year-old. I happened to be browsing Facebook and came across the profile for the Donor Agency we used because they were promoting a Christmas photo contest. I perused the page a bit and suddenly came across a photo submission that stated the child was from our donor code. I froze. I knew this was a possibility, that Landon could have siblings from other donor conceived families but it instantly became real in that moment. I messaged the mom that posted the picture and shyly said, “We used the same donor, your daughter is beautiful.” The type that lapsed between her responding seemed like forever. I wasn’t sure what to expect or what was going to come of it. Her response came fast, and she immediately went into a paragraph of welcoming me and explaining that she knew of several other families that we were connected to, and that she would “introduce” us.

As the weeks went by we started to connect to moms from all over. Georgia, Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut, Canada, Australia. It was so exciting to be able to connect to others that we could share stories, questions, photos and just experience our modern type of family. We started to develop close friendships with some of the moms and it was a wonderful opportunity for us to not feel so alone in our decision. Some of the other families have already met and at some point in the next couple of years we will meet a few of them. Of course it was a bit scary to know that all at once Landon gained 10+ half siblings. It was also exciting to know we had this wonderful network that he could be connected to later in his life should he choose to and that he can be connected with now to help us considering this is so new of an experience.

We have always said we chose an open identity donor so that Landon would have the choice to reach out to the donor when he got older and we also have always believed in being honest and upfront with Landon when he begins to ask about where he came from or even the scary, “Who is my Dad?” comment. He hasn’t reached that point yet but having the other families and many with older children I feel at ease for the day that conversation comes.

Landon has a biological father that contributed to his being born but I have no doubts that we are raising him to understand that not having an actual father in his home does not put him at a disadvantage. Our friends and families treat Landon with love and care and that is all I could ask for. We have a modern family and that is okay. I feel like all of my time spent determining who the donor would be was our destiny – he may or may not end up being the ideal, “Dad” to Landon but as long as Landon is healthy I am confident that we are raising him to be a happy, educated boy who has two wonderful parents and at the end of my day, that is all that matters.

Shilo Jorgensen, “Mom” to two rambunctious boys. She moved to Omaha from Colorado for a softball and academic scholarship and claims to have gotten stuck here somehow. She has been with her partner, Krissy for just shy of 7 years. She is step-mom, mom, or Shilo to Caleb who is 8 years old, from Krissy’s previous relationship. She is just simply, mom to Landon, 2 1/2 years old, who was conceived through IVF with the use of a donor and egg transfer from her to embryo implant in Krissy. Always wanting kids she was excited when she met Krissy and started to parent a child, although not biologically hers. The desire to have a child of her own led her and Krissy to venture down the scary and expensive path of IVF. She also enjoys sports, history, comedy, and new technology. She is an open book that loves to teach others as well as never stop learning. Follow her on Twitter: @shilojorgensen.


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