Advanced medical techniques have helped people start families for many years. Couples often utilize egg and sperm donations, and one man was blown away when he came face to face with a string of kids he helped create.
Many couples struggle to conceive, so they look to other avenues to help make their dreams of starting a family a reality. It can be a painful and stressful journey for mothers and fathers alike.
But thanks to the willingness of ordinary citizens, men and women can become parents despite the personal challenges they might have faced. Artist, Michael Rubino was one such ordinary citizen—he helped people who struggled to have kids.
A sperm donor meets 19 kids he never knew he had. | Source: youtube.com/Inside Edition
HE WAS AVAILABLE TO THEM
When Rubino was in his 30s, he signed up to be a sperm donor. He didn't give the decision too much thought, and he certainly never imagined how his actions would influence his life years later.
While most donors opted to stay anonymous, Rubino had a different desire which led to him receiving communication from children scattered across the world.
"I want to put [a letter] in my file, just so that we're clear on this, if any kids turn up at any time I'm available. I was looking forward to it."
A dad meets his 19 kids for the first time. | Source: youtube.com/Inside Edition
HE ONLY EXPECTED TO MEET A FEW KIDS
When Rubino's kids started reaching out to him, he responded instantly. Their communication wasn't what shocked him—it was the magnitude of children he found out about.
Rubino never imagined he would have such a big family. He explained:
"I knew when I was a donor, I sort of expected I might, if I'm very lucky, meet two or three [kids]."
Children meet their father for the first time. | Source: youtube.com/Inside Edition
THE SURREAL FIRST MEETING
The father was speechless when he realized he had 19 kids. Meeting them for the first time was exciting and surreal. In 2017, airport-goers witnessed unique scenes unfold as Rubino hugged his nineteenth child for the first time.
"I loved them each immediately when I met them," the proud father expressed. The children, aged 16 to 21, were equally delighted to meet Rubino.
Michael Rubino with his 19 kids. | Source: youtube.com/Inside Edition
THE SIBLINGS GET ALONG
The kids were thrilled to find so many new siblings, and Rubino's daughter said: "All my siblings, they're all so sweet and just fun to get to know."
The brothers and sisters also noticed their similarities, one of them said:
"I could just tell we're all kind of bubbly and just have the same energy. At least 11 of us have blue eyes."
The siblings get along well. | Source: youtube.com/Inside Edition
VISITING THEIR FATHER IN LOS ANGELES
While Rubino had no part in raising his 19 kids, he wanted to stay in contact with them if they were open to it. He welcomed them into his Los Angeles home, and they loved seeing their photos on his mantle.
Rubino, who feels like he needs a bigger home now, asked his kids to send him updated photos when they pointed out that his collection was old.
Kids see their photos on their dad's mantle. | Source: youtube.com/Inside Edition
THEY HAVE SHARED PASSIONS
Rubino painted portraits of his children, and he became emotional when he saw that some of them inherited his passion for art. One of his sons showed off a piece he created, and Rubino expressed: "I cried when I saw this."
The dad embraced all of his kids and their differences, even painting one of his sons a prayer shawl for a Bar Mitzvah. The kids also shared his love for animals, and they evidently enjoyed spending time with him and his pets in Los Angeles.
Michael Rubino became emotional when he saw his son's art. | Source: youtube.com/Inside Edition
THE KIDS ADDRESS HIM DIFFERENTLY
The children address Rubino in different ways. Some call him dad, while others call him by his first name. One of his daughters stated: "Calling someone who didn't raise me, 'dad,' felt weird when I have a dad who was very much in my life."
Another one of his kids was emotional when she added: "I consider him my dad because he's the only dad I know but saying daddy doesn't come naturally at all."
Daughter reveals why she calls Michael Rubino her dad. | Source: youtube.com/Inside Edition
STAYING IN CONTACT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
For 19 siblings that consisted of teenagers and twenty-somethings, the group got along surprisingly well, and they promised to stay in contact via social media.
One of them stated that they exchanged 'Instagrams and Snapchats because [they] like each other" and didn't want to lose the special connections they made.
Newly acquainted sisters promise to stay in touch with each other. | Source: youtube.com/Inside Edition
THE DAD WAS APPLAUDED ONLINE
Rubino received lots of praise online, not only for his positive attitude but also for his genes. One netizen said: "This guy actually has it going on. Good looking for his age, full head of hair, talented artist, nice house, etc."
Another commented on the abundant love and joy between the family members, they stated:
"The whole family seems so happy and excited to know each other. I think it's awesome that he was willing to have this connection with the kids after donating."
OTHERS SHARED THEIR OPINIONS
Much of the online community found the family reunion heartwarming, and one user shared their desire to experience something similar.
They expressed: "This is cool to watch. As a child of a sperm donor who doesn't have a dad, I wish this could happen to me one day." Hopefully, they will also have an opportunity to reunite with their dad.
Rubino's instant connection with the kids was inspiring. Not only did he welcome them into his life, but he was undeniably proud to be their dad. Click here to read about another sperm donor whose life changed when he discovered he had 25 kids.
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