I hope he does reconsider over time. Your daughter, he should realize, is not bound by the promise you made. When she’s old enough to do the sleuthing, all you can tell her is that you hope she’ll take into account his wishes for privacy. But at this point, it’s out of your hands. And were she to learn who her father is, she would discover other members of his family — including people who might welcome a connection to her even if he didn’t.
It isn’t much help, I know, to tell you that you should have sorted out these issues with your friend before proceeding with the donation. In particular, you should have at least tried to persuade him that his identity could be disclosed after his child reached a certain age. A child’s potential interest in knowing her paternity deserves very serious deference and should have been given more weight earlier in the process. But the agreement you made with your friend means that you accepted the obligation to withhold his identity, and he’s the only person who can free you from that obligation.
I am eligible to join a patriotic hereditary organization that only admits males born to male ancestors. I have some misgivings. If I join, my “heir” would be my youngest of five grandchildren, the son of my son, passing over my daughter’s three children and my son’s daughter. Do I really want to explain to my grandchildren that they are ineligible for this “honor” because they are of the wrong gender or were born to my daughter instead of my son? This is an old, prestigious organization, and it is unlikely to change its charter in the face of modern sensibilities. Joe, Alexandria, Va.
We’ve been talking about biological ancestry, and these American lineage organizations — many founded amid an influx of immigration in the late 19th century — are great believers in bloodlines; groups like the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution don’t accept the adopted children of members (unless the adoptees themselves have the right biological pedigree). They may view themselves as patriotic, and yet that sort of bloodline preference is hard to square with the ideals of the nation; whatever happened to e pluribus?
Nor do you suggest that your patriotic men’s club is especially effective when it comes to rendering service. Given that you refer to the association as an “honor,” in scare quotes, you could ask yourself why you want to join this parade of patriarchs in the first place. Does the organization get up to a lot that’s genuinely worth honoring?
I am a white American woman with one set of Italian great-grandparents, and so I am eligible for Italian citizenship.
I would like to take advantage of this, particularly for the opportunity to live in other E.U. countries. However, this citizenship law is, I believe, a blatantly racist effort to replenish Italy’s population, which has long been falling because of a low birthrate, without having to accept Black and brown immigrants. Can I take advantage of this opportunity, despite it being racist and xenophobic by design? Alaina, San Francisco