I am moved to write this post after finding myself recently commenting the same thing on a few other blogs. In my opinion DNA is vastly over-rated.
I first wrote some of these thoughts as a response to an article in the Daily Mail a few years ago in which a 40-something man accidently found out that his father wasn't in fact his biological father. He was devastated. He blamed his mother, he cut off all ties with his 'father's' family as he no longer considered them his family. He felt orphaned and without roots, his whole life had been a lie, etc, etc... In fairness to the man in question, I have since found out from my friend Karen's experience that you can't necessarly believe everything you read in the Daily Mail. I hope they also misquoted this man because what I read really made my blood boil.
Many people choose the donor route when trying to conceive. It may be a matter of age, the lack of a partner, same-sex partners, other fertility problems, genetic abnormalities in the family or reasons that I've not even thought of. Others have used surrogacy with only one or neither partner contributing. Many more couples and singles, over the years, have decided to adopt. The effect is the same - a child in your family who has different genes. A child with a different set of DNA. So what?
DNA does not give you a happy and secure home. It does not give you a feeling of belonging to a loving family. Your DNA does not educate you, read you stories, kiss your knee or your forehead when you fall over. DNA cannnot give you wonderful childhood memories and an album full of funny photographs to reminisce over. Your DNA does not pick you up from school every day and take a day (or a week) off work to look after you when you're sick.
Brothers and sisters and cousins become close through shared experiences and family traditions. Mummies and daddies, uncles and aunties, and grandmas and grandpas, exist by the power of their love, their pride and their joy in the children of their family.
DNA cannot even keep families together. I know adopted children who have no desire to find their biological origins. My maternal grandfather was an immigrant with no family in England. Unfortunately he died when my mother was only eleven years old. She and I have no knowledge of or connection with any of his family. Many people have no knowledge of or connection with one side of their family. Many make the decision to cut themselves off from whole sections of their family. Families that survive as a unit do so because they are emotionally healthy and filled with love and support.
As my wise friend L said: children will accept their identity - it is a matter of how you present it. Maybe the Daily Mail man should have been told the truth, but in those days there was reason to feel secure that the truth would never come out. In these days of advanced genetics it is reasonable to assume that nothing can remain a secret. DD will know how lucky I was to be able to have her and about all the help I received in order to do so. She will know that DNA exists and that it is something to study in science. I firmly believe that it will have little impact on her identity and on her sense of family.