A story of donor siblings meeting
Posted on 09/27/05
I have copied this over from the Yahoo Group, this was my post #4656, posted June 4, 2005.
I wanted to share our story of the first meeting between DI siblings.
My daughter Kyla is 34; years old. A few months ago I began a search to find siblings. I signed on at the Single Mothers by Choice Sibling Registry, the Donor Sibling Registry here, and the California Cryobank Sibling Registry. I found three brothers, one at each registry.
My motivation was to find any siblings out there who might want to become extended family, so that my daughter will have as many choices as possible in her future. I know that I can't predict how my daughter will feel about the circumstances of her conception. I hope that my daughter and her brothers can be there for each other, to provide a ready ear for each other if (when?) any one of them needs support.
I know from my own experience that half-siblings can be as close as full siblings, even if raised separately. My father had a half-sister and four brothers. None of the siblings ever thought of themselves in any kind of "half" relationships, even though my aunt was not raised with her brothers and they ended up in various parts of the country. They were family and spent a lot of time visiting, talking, and traveling together over the years. Also, I know from my own experience that one can be very emotionally close to family that lives far away. I have cousins in Kentucky whom I love dearly. I feel nearly as close to them as my own brothers. And they are certainly less related to me genetically than my daughter is with her own brothers.
I made contact with the other three moms: Seattle, Maryland, upstate New York. Oh, it's a brave new world! Three of the moms, myself included, are single mothers by choice, and one has a husband who is infertile. Two of the moms sent photos. One of the mothers, Lisa, was interested in further contact. She has a little boy named Luke, who is four months younger than Kyla. We are in California, they are in Maryland. We corresponded for some time and had a very interesting exchange of photos and observations about our children. Then, I had an unexpected opportunity to work in Delaware for eight days, and I took my daughter with me, along with my cousin Paulanne, who looks after Kyla in my home two days a week. After I was done working, we all drove down to Maryland. I told Kyla we were going to visit my friend Lisa and that she had a wonderful little boy named Luke that was just her age.
As we parked in front of their house, my heart was in my mouth. I knew what a big milestone this was in my daughter's life, even if she didn't yet We all had tears in our eyes as we introduced ourselves. Lisa's sister Laurie was also there, she had lived with them until recently. Like my cousin Paulanne with my daughter Kyla, Laurie had provided a great deal of care and was very close to Luke. There was such a feeling of love present for our children, these beautiful children who dashed right off to play with toys, leaving the adults to feel their way carefully along in conversation together.
It was a wonderful visit. I had tears in my eyes again as I watched my daughter with her brother for the first time. My daughter has straight blonde hair, Luke has brown curly hair, both are darling sweet-faced children. Seeing them together, it was easy to see they could be brother and sister but the resemblance wasn't so strong that I would pick them out of a preschool class as siblings. Their similarity is more in their easygoing and affectionate manner.
Lisa had kindly laid out an array of food and hot drinks. As we were in the kitchen together, she said "This must be the first time in history that two women who have a child by the same man are glad to meet." We had a good laugh about the strangeness of it all. We visited and ate and relaxed, watching the two siblings play. Luke had an exciting array of toys, Kyla was thrilled to explore them and Luke was wonderful at sharing.
Lisa and I talked about how many similarities she and I had. We both: decided to become a single mother by choice, chose the same donor, work in the same field, drive the same car, live with a sibling, had mothers that died when we were young, had family estrangement that was helped to heal by the arrival of the baby, were born on the 11th day of the month, love the outdoors, love Middle Eastern food, and want to have another child by the same donor.
After visiting for a couple of hours, we all went over to a nearby Lebanese restaurant. Kyla and Luke played together in the courtyard outside. They giggled and laughed and ran and fell down and the two of them loved playing together. We all shared a splendid meal of chicken, potatoes, pita bread, babaghanoush, tabouli, and other Middle Eastern delights Lisa's treat! After dinner, we let Kyla and Luke play a little longer, even though they both were by now very tired. Neither of them had had naps But who knew how long it would be before we saw each other again? We had a hilarious photo session in which the children were not cooperating and the batteries were running out in both our cameras.
As we left, I felt very grateful to have found a blood relation for my daughter from the donor's side, and hopeful that she would have extended family. I know how much my far-flung family has enriched my life.
After we got home, we collaged a card for Luke. I showed Kyla the photos from our visit again and then asked her what she would like to say to Luke. I wrote it down exactly as she said, and added a note to Lisa and mentioned some possibilities for our next meeting. We'll see how it goes. We'll have to decide when and how to tell our children that they are brother and sister. For now, we can build their relationship by having them be pen pals.
My hope is that since I don't feel that not having a partner is a huge loss in my life, that my daughter will not grow up with a sense of mourning. Six months ago, Kyla was with my cousin at the bank, and she told the bank teller that her mama's name was Julie. He asked, And what is your daddy's name? Without skipping a beat she said "I don't have a daddy, but I have a Cousin Paulanne and a Grandma Mary and a Grandma Lee Ellen and an Uncle Jake and an Uncle Geoff and an Aunt Jodi.." My hope is that as she grows up, she will continue to see, as I do, all the blessings that we have, rather than whatever we might not have. She sees among our group of friends that every family is different.
Time will tell
P.S. I sent a $100 donation to DSR. Wendy, THANK YOU