My Father's Name is #3022 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

November 13, 2013
I couldn't help but smile at my mom's classic ingenuity, decorating the three-layer cake with a toy car, a Barbie doll in a bikini, and a miniature football. Millions of male teenagers would agree that my mother had expertly symbolized things they love and desire: girls, cars, and sports. Yet when I blew out my birthday candles for the sixteenth time in my life, I wished for the same thing that I had every year: to meet my biological father, #3022.

Artificial insemination through anonymous sperm donation has risen in popularity since I was born, but throughout my childhood, I had to explain the means by which I came into existence. My friends would ask if my father were a famous actor or a hot shot billionaire, while adults would stare at me incredulously. I was like an answering machine delivering a pre-recorded message to the same questions again and again. My single, working mother has always filled both parenting roles, and did her best signing me up for sports and other activities. Despite all her efforts, I still felt different, almost inhuman.

For years I despised the way I was conceived. I used to compare myself to a car; my mom had entered a dealership, made her selection based on price and desirable qualities, and then made a purchase. ­Genealogical bewilderment overwhelmed me as questions such as “Am I worth the money?” and “Who would I be if she had chosen another donor?” infuriated me. I felt utterly alone and yearned for normality.

After a particularly ridicule-filled day in junior high, I remember asking my mom, “How? If he was such a good guy, how could he put a price on life? Am I the result of his desire for money?” She looked at me with compassionate yet guilt-ridden eyes before telling me there was something she wanted to show me. She pulled an old cassette player from the back of the garage and inserted a cassette I had never before seen.

To my surprise, the tape held an interview between my father and the sperm bank. His voice, full of empathy and intelligence, penetrated into the deepest part of me. When asked what he would tell his son/daughter, #3022 responded with the utmost certainty, “I would tell them to be confident in who they are.” He continued, “I am not your dad; I am simply a man trying to help women, incapable of conceiving on their own, create a family.” I could feel the honesty radiating from his voice, and I truly believed he was a good man.

This experience altered my perception of my conception. That day, my questions and doubts were filled with hope. I was not the result of the selfish behavior of either of my parents; rather, I was created through a man's humble offering and a mother's profound love.

Time passed, and the vacant void of my identity gradually lessened. I experienced new things, met new people, and lived in many places. Newfound passions and people helped me in finding my identity, and the process continues every day.

If I were to meet #3022 today, I would not express anger toward him. Rather, I would thank him. Without him, I would not exist, and now I know that his reason for donating his sperm was a pure one. I hope that my recurring birthday wish will one day come true, because even though #3022 did not raise me, he fathered me in many ways. Every year, when I blow out the candles on that special day, I have #3022 to thank for not only giving me life, but for supporting me in ways unknown even to him.

When I turn 18, I plan on tracking down #3022. I am not expecting to find my dad; I am merely hoping to meet my father.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the December 2013 Teen Ink Nonfiction Contest.

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theatregirl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 25, 2013 at 3:38 pm
Really good ,personal article. It was really interesting and person and well written. :)
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