Life is what happens
When you are busy
Making other plans.
The meeting of a sperm cell and an ovum results in a baby, regardless if this is a body to body encounter, an in-vitro fertilization, surrogate mothers or sperm donor fathers. Families now come in all sizes and shapes. A child, nevertheless, still needs a biological father plus a biological mother to be created.
In most cases we can tell the child that it was conceived with love (even in a test tube), but that’s not the case with sperm donor fathers. At some point in their life, the child will ask about their biological father; in the movie “The Kids Are All Right,” fifteen year old Laser asks his eighteen year old sister, Joni, to contact their sperm donor father; he wants to meet him but isn’t old enough to initiate contact himself.
Joni and Laser, and their moms Jules and Nic are a close knit loving family. The kids are all right; the grownups are going through some issues of their own at this point in their lives. Enter the “sperm-donor,” Marc. Initially surprised by the request, he agrees to meet his biological children and they slowly start to bond and create a relationship much to the mom’s distress.
From the point of view of Family Constellations, every individual possesses a unique energy field which shifts and fluctuates depending on their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. This field is deeply connected to the family in first instance. And the family comprises ALL of its members, including biological/ sperm donor parents. When one member of the family is excluded, like the donor father here, the family’s energy field has a void in it. A child is both parents -in this case we’ll add an extra mom to the picture-when he or she is asked to exclude one of them implicitly (by never mentioning him) or explicitly, the child’s soul suffers and tries to remedy this situation throughout their life in very creative ways. The entire excluded parent’s information is included in their energy field, it is encoded in their DNA at the level of genetic memory, and it matters not at all if they have never met the biological parent.
By “Taking” the Father in Family Constellations we mean taking him just as he is, with no strings attached. For example, when we breathe we take in all the air; we can’t be selective about not inhaling pollution or microbes. We can try and be selective by not breathing, but we might stop existing as a consequence. So “Taking the Father” would be equivalent to breathing deeply and taking in all the air around me. Maybe it isn’t the best air quality, and maybe the pollution in it can be damaging; but breathing is certainly better than not breathing. If I stop breathing I’ll die, and if I breathe shallowly I’ll get sick.
So when a father, even a sperm donor one, gives his genes, he also gives all that he is, and we cannot say “I’ll take the sperm and leave out the rest.” Taking the Father means, then, taking all that life gives you when life comes to you through this specific person, honoring the gift and the giver. Granted, when the man donates his sperm, he’s not looking to meet his offspring at some later date. We are talking here from the point of view of the energy field.
Here are some tips to include the sperm donor Father in the family system:
Be prepared for this moment. Every time you look at your baby, child, youngster, teen, adult, visualize the sperm donor father behind him. A good phrase to repeat internally would be: “Through your help I was able to bring life to this child. It was a great gift, I see you, and honor you as my child’s biological father.”
- To the child: “I chose him as your biological father. I look friendly upon your getting to know him if that is your wish. In you I honor him.”
The father can say:
- To the child: “I am happy to know you. You have a place in my heart as my child. You can take me as your father. In you I honoryour mother and I’m grateful for all she has done to keep you alive and well.”
- To the Mom (or Moms in the movie): “I’m grateful you chose me as the biological father and I honorall you have done to keep this child with the life I helped conceive. Look friendly on me if we now get to know each other.”
The child can say:
- To the father: “I take what you have given me with love.”
- To the mom/ moms: “Dear mom, look friendly if I take my father. You chose him for me. I will always be your child.”
In the movie, Laser looks longingly at his friend rough housing with his dad. Later on, when is with Marc (the sperm donor); he develops the inner strength to break off the relationship with an abusive friend, something his moms wanted him to do. The movie does not have a happy ending, and I cannot elaborate on all the issues here.
Would Joni and Laser’s “Taking the Father” solve their problems? Probably not; they’ve met him, and can now decide where they want to go from here with this relationship thus bringing their family system into order. “Taking” the father doesn’t mean necessarily that they cultivate a relationship with him; the kids may be satisfied with knowing who he is.
“The Kids are all Right,” movie by Lisa Cholodenko, 2010.