Danielle: meeting half siblings

I am a Choice Mom of twin girls who are now 6. I did artificial insemination in the U.S. with sperm that could not cross the border into Canada. This is my story of making contact with half siblings.

Through the Donor Sibling Registry, six families have connected so far. For the last three years we have migrated to a yahoo group. In total, we have eight kids from our donor that we know about, and many are very close in age.

Thus far, what I can say is the process has been BEAUTIFUL. And, on a personal note, very liberating to me with regards to most of my worries, especially the daddy question (more on that later).

The families have always been immensely respectful of each other — the initial anonymity that some wish to keep — and this has led to a real warmth and openness among the families. We post photos and share characteristics and health issues that might be relevant to other families. I am the only Choice Mom in the bunch (the rest are lesbian couples). Our contact is irregular and occasional, but always very positive.

The big moment came two years ago when one family moved to Seattle, and due to the proximity to my city, we started communicating more. Just over a year ago, we arranged to meet. The Moms and I told our children the same thing (their son was 6.5 at the time, my girls were 4): that the man who helped us make them had also helped another family have a baby. My story for my girls was that this boy was their half brother; brother in the sense that he shares the same DNA, but not like a brother who lives within our family.

Amazing to me was how my girls completely took this in stride. They are very familiar with the “donor story,” so I guess that helped.

The meeting was nothing short of amazing. They absolutely FELL IN LOVE with each other, from minute one. He was the immediate big brother and they simply adored him. The Moms and I really really like each other too, so that was a big plus. From beginning to end, it was a great experience. So natural and bonding. The children took to each other in a striking way, as if they had always known each other. We saw facial expressions in my girls and him that were the same.

From that day on, the girls have told everybody about their half-brother. He surprised them for their fifth birthday party by coming here, and that for them was the best present they could have gotten. They love him almost more than anyone in the world, and him too. They talk on the phone once in awhile, make presents for each other. It is so beautiful to watch, it brings tears to my eyes.

In the meantime, he has now met another donor half-brother (his age) who has moved recently to Portland. Again, very similar positive close-knit experience. I don’t know if it’s the type of people who were drawn to this donor that enables things to go so well, but truly this has been such a blessing and we all feel the same – what a gift it will be in these children’s lives to know each other (one day we intend on having a big reunion) and how amazing the bond is to watch.

Now all the children in all families have been told there are others, and shown the pictures. My girls again took it in stride when I told them there were more, and were quite thrilled. They proceeded to make cards for all their unmet brothers and sisters. They are now 6 and their half-brother in Seattle is 8.

The lesson I take from this is that this is their idea of family. Even though they witness more traditional families around them, because they are surrounded by love, it (thus far anyway) doesn’t seem to make a difference to them that their family is so untraditional.

For me that has had even bigger implications, as it showed me that they have no deep yearning for a father at this point in their lives, and accept just fine the unusual nature of their family and birth.

It also changed my relationship with my boyfriend. It completely took the pressure off me needing him to be a ‘father’ to them, and just allowing him to be this wonderful man in their lives. That happened because of the donor sibling experience and seeing how natural and easy the whole experience was for them to accept.

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  3 comments for “Danielle: meeting half siblings

  1. Betsy
    September 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing.

    I am one of those who has remained anonymous. My donor is ID release so there’s the opportunity/chance to connect when my little one turns 18 if he so chooses. Due to the strong network of family and friends we have in our lives, I have only been interested in finding out if other offspring have been born healthy. (So far,good! One girl six months younger, one girl six months older.)

  2. Jenni
    August 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this. I have made contact with 10 siblings for my daugher so far and they are from 2 weeks to 5 years old. Explaining the siblings is something I appreciate reading on ways to do. My "siblings’ mostly live in the same metro area and I hope that in time we meet and she can know them. I think it is a great way to offer our kids a family connection with an annoymous donor.

  3. Meg
    June 13, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! We are at the beginning stages of making connections and I hope that we end up with such a happy outcome.

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