Happy Troll Day!

May 21, 2011. A day that will go down in history. For what, you may ask, especially since clearly the rapture went down in flames. Well, today is the day that I got my first troll.

No, not one of these.

One of these.

Now, I know, we’re supposed to ignore trolls and not give them any energy because that only encourages them. Here’s the thing. I’ve never had a troll before. So I thought maybe I should celebrate the event because in the blog world, getting a troll must mean that my readership has expanded enough to include people who enjoy being jackholes (see #8) to random strangers on the internet.

I wondered, how this lovely troll found her way to me, since my blog is not easily searchable. When I was finally able to login to wordpress this afternoon and look at my referring stats, I think I figured out how she got here. And really, that doesn’t matter so much. Like most trolls, this one shows up, takes a personal pot-shot at me, someone she knows nothing about, having clearly never read ANYTHING else I’ve written, and flits away, likely never to be heard from again.

So. What did this troll have to say? You can find the comment here and I’ll copy/paste for you:

“Mynnestra
May 21, 2011 at 7:10 am
‘The reality is, it’s not my kids I worry about when it comes to understanding and assimilating the information surrounding being donor-conceived. It’s the rest of the world’.
No, it’s not your kids you worry about now, and it’s not them you worried about when you used an anonymous sperm donor to bring them into the world. It was and is, all about you.”

Now. I’ll admit. When that comment made it’s way to my email first thing this morning (I have comment moderation on and first time commenters have to be approved) I almost didn’t approve it. But I realized, that’s not me. I have no problem with dissenting opinions. I enjoy a healthy debate. Except. I didn’t quite see the “healthy debate” in this comment. Because really, this person who knows nothing about me, my family, or my thought processes, shows up and calls me selfish for not having a man in my bed to father my children. Really, isn’t that what she is saying? I highly doubt the intention in this comment is that what I should have done is chosen a friend as a donor and then my children would know the other half of their genetic makeup. She’s placing a value judgment on my family unit. Which, in reality, MIGHT be ok, IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT MY FAMILY. I wonder, Mynnestra, what your stance on gay marriage is. I have a sneaking suspicion that if you lived in California, you’d have voted “yes” on Proposition 8.

It could be possible that Mynnestra really is all about the gays and just thinks we should use known donors to create children. So, if that’s the case, let me discuss the thought process we went through.

Before deciding to try and get pregnant, H and I discussed the variety of ways we could go about creating our family. H is adopted, and we attended foster/adopt classes to learn about the process. However, I was very nervous about the possibility of taking a child into our home and then losing that child. I knew that my heart couldn’t take that. We had a friend who sort of offered to be a donor for us, and we discussed that at length. We knew that my family was not going to be super supportive and we wanted to prevent confusion on the part of our children and our families regarding who the other parent was (apart from the one gestating ). In addition, we knew that a known donor required significant attorney involvement to protect all parties involved. On top of it, I was really worried that a known donor could walk into such an agreement fully intending to not be involved as a parental figure, but have a complete change of heart once he met any child he helped create. I knew this could be a very confusing issue for a child, and I also didn’t want to put any man through the agonizing situation of having to walk away from a child he wanted to parent. For some, a known donor is the right choice. But it didn’t feel like it fit for us.

That left us with anonymous donors. An anonymous donor is screened, proven fertile, and provides extensive family health history. Nobody can one day show up on my doorstep claiming to be my children’s “father.” Anonymous donors come free of legal entanglements. We talked extensively about the possibility of children wanting to know the other half of their genetic makeup. This conversation was not without experience, given that H is adopted, as is her brother. It is both of our belief that biology does not make a family. Bringing children into a loving home with positive role models and extended family who love them – that’s what family is.

The reality is, I don’t have to defend my choices to some troll from the internet. My sisters told me to tell said troll to eff off. And I could. But somewhere I wonder if someone might land here wondering about donor conception, and just like when it comes to explaining living in a two-mom household, I take my role in educating people very seriously. My life is an open book to those who ask, because I have no shame in being who I am. My children know exactly who they are. They know that they do not have a dad and that they have two moms. They know some kids have dads, some have moms, and some have both. They will know, when they are old enough to understand the process, that to make a baby you need two special cells, and one of their special cells came from me and the other from a man who donated his cells to help families without those cells make a baby. We’ll talk about what a family is and that a parent is someone who raises you and shapes who you are, and not someone who shares your DNA. H is no less a parent to N and J than I am. And as they get older the conversation will include the miracle of IVF and we will explain that the children in our donor sibling group have the same genetic half that they have.

Creating a family by way of a donor, whether known or unknown, requires extensive thought and planning and a clear understanding the kind of family you are building. Nobody I know who has used a donor (and I know a LOT) thinks “I want to have a baby and I don’t give a rip how I do it.” It’s a thoughtful, calculated, well-planned decision. I know many a heterosexual woman with an “oops” baby with a man she barely knows. I know many children whose father abandoned them. I know women who get pregnant with men they don’t intend to have in their child’s life so they can collect welfare. But choosing anonymous sperm donors is selfish? Let me tell you something, choosing to build your family with intent and love is anything but selfish.

Let me close by saying that my words, my opinions, my thoughts – they’re all up for debate. We can talk about why I believe one thing and you believe another, or why some decision was right for me that wouldn’t have been right for you. We can disagree and still be friends, we can engage in lively discussion and stand firm in our convictions. Once in awhile, we might even help each other see another point of view. You can attack my reasoning, you can question my rationale, and you can disagree with my thought processes. What you can NOT do, is attack me as a person or attack my family (or my friends for that matter). And until you know who I am, until you at least make an attempt – read a few posts or something for crying out loud, you have no right to judge me under the convenient veil of anonymity provided to you by the internet.

Welcome to my corner of the internet Mynnestra. Now go troll somewhere else.

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3 thoughts on “Happy Troll Day!

  1. Wow, K. You are clearly such a born educator. The choices you are making in your life right now are so obviously going to lead you down the path you belong on. As ever, you inspire and impress me with your willingness to look inside yourself and elucidate what you see. I honestly think I would have gone with my suggested eff off. Love you.

  2. Your life, in so many aspects, is completely foreign to me. There are a few things that we have (vehemently!) in common, however – one of those things is that our family doesn’t fit into a neat mold – and that is why I love coming here and reading your blog.

    My first troll was the well-known Anonymous, who left comments on two separate posts, both of which I read shortly before going to speak to 50 women at a MOPS group. After my initial feelings of turmoil passed, I became energized.

  3. *tapping foot and anxiously awaiting said trolls response* What, there isnt one coming? Maybe she’s busy looking up cowardice in the dictionary. For one of her kid’s school reports of course.

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