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Commentary: Growing up with an anonymous father

This photo was taken when my mom Tracy legally adopted me. We were surrounded by family and friends. Photo by Angelica Hernández.
This photo was taken when my mom Tracy legally adopted me. We were surrounded by family and friends. Photo by Angelica Hernández.

“I heard a story about an anonymous donor who was secretly a serial killer, and how all of his children ended up having psychotic mental problems.” This was the first thing someone told me after I explained I have two moms, and that my “father” is an anonymous sperm donor.

By the time I was 10, I could explain in detail how artificial insemination worked to people four times my age. It always surprised me how little people knew about the topic, and it could be embarrassing having to explain reproduction to an adult. I always started with “When two mommies love each other very much…” You know the rest.

I come from a history of fatherless women. Both of my moms grew up without fathers, so it has always been my normal. My parents plucked through thousands of profiles when they decided to have my older brother through a sperm donor, eventually settling on donor number 3575, a 6’1 soccer player with a love for math and a family history in the accountant profession. My parents had no other information and were unable to contact him. They chose the same person when they had me, and that’s all I have ever really known about him. 

It wasn’t until fifth grade that I became curious about my dad. There was one photo in my house of a toddler boy whose identity I never knew; I swore the photo looked exactly like a miniature version of my brother, and my mom eventually revealed that it was the only photograph we had of my biological father.

I never really saw any resemblance between my mom and me. I began to wonder more about my appearance, and who it was that I did look like. I decided I needed to start digging. I talked to my parents, and they gave me files upon files of information about him. I hoped for more information, such as photos of him as a teenager, where he grew up and all he wanted to accomplish. After searching through the papers, I found it was mostly useless.

However, I soon received the results of my 23andMe DNA test, and boom: 16 half-siblings ranging in age, race and location across the US, all related to me by this anonymous man.  I started to look at their DNA profiles, trying to see if any of them knew more information about our father. My mom had joined a Facebook group with all of the parents who used the donor, so for the first time, I connected with them too. Most of them are interested in finding our dad as well and have run into the same blocks that I have. I found it shocking and strange that there were people all over the country who shared half of my DNA, and I had no idea. 

My mom has always been fascinated with finding my dad. She made sure to keep all of the information provided about him from when I was born and supported me through all my discoveries. She has always been the most involved in the search, hoping that one of his relatives would sign up to ancestry.com and magically reveal his identity to us.

Growing up, I never felt different for having two moms. I actually routinely tell my parents how grateful I am to not have a dad. I don’t think we would have gone to a high tea when I got my period for the first time if he was around. My moms were always sure to acknowledge how our family may be different from most of my peers when I was younger; my mom Angelica still coached all of my flag football leagues, and we were perfectly capable of barbecuing on our own.

A part of me really wants to know who he is, not so he can fill an imaginary father-shaped hole in my heart, but so I could know more about where I came from and answer the biggest mystery in my life. Every time I go out for lunch, to the movies or any place in public, I think about how I could be face-to-face with him and we would both have no idea we are connected.

Sometimes I felt ashamed that I had no one to take me to the daddy-daughter dance in elementary school, and that I would probably have to explain how my family works for the rest of my life. But, as I researched, I learned to feel better about my own curiosity surrounding my father and realized that this unique difference is something to be celebrated, while also interrogated.

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About the Contributor
Maya Hernández, Staff Reporter
Maya Hernandez is in her first year on the Oracle as a Staff Reporter. She is on the Chess Team, is the leader of the Abortion Rights Club and is a member of the Ambassador Leadership Team Advisory Board.

Comments (3)

As part of Archer’s active and engaged community, the Editorial Board welcomes reader comments and debate and encourages community members to take ownership of their opinions by using their names when commenting. However, in order to ensure a diverse range of opinions, the editorial board does allow anonymous comments on articles as long as the perspective cannot be obtained elsewhere, and they are respectful and relevant. We do require a valid, verified email address, which will not be displayed, but will be used to confirm your comments. Because we are a 6-12 school, the Editorial Board reserves the right to omit profanity and content that we deem inappropriate for our audience. We do not publish comments that serve primarily as an advertisement or to promote a specific product. Comments are moderated and may be edited in accordance with the Oracle’s profanity policy, but the Editorial Board will not change the intent or message of comments. They will appear once approved.
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  • C

    Charlotte BurnapMar 17, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    This is such an incredible piece! You’re such a great storyteller, Maya!!

    Reply
  • P

    Pasha SeligMar 7, 2024 at 10:23 am

    This is so great, Maya! I am so proud of you!

    Reply
  • O

    Olivia Hallinan-GanMar 3, 2024 at 5:49 pm

    This is so amazing, Maya!!

    Reply