A year ago today I joined the Donor Sibling Registry. Upon joining, to my great delight, I discovered there was another mother listed who had used the same anonymous sperm donor as I had. It took me completely by surprise. Her son was born in March 2003, eight months before my eldest son. She had been registered on the site since 2008 and it was now 2018 – for ten years she had been the only family registered to our donor.
My kids have a donor sibling. Her son now has five.
I wonder if she would be as excited about this discovery as I was.
I felt my face burning as the realisation dawned on me that this boy was biologically related to my kids. Not just related, but a half sibling. How could I not have known about the existence of this website for all this time?
So many questions began popping into my head.
What did he look like? Was he sporty like my kids? Are there resemblances with my kids? Would the kids get along? What is his Mum like? Would we get along? Do we meet? What will the kids think? What do I think? Where in the world do they live? Given we had used an Australian donor I hoped it was at least here in Australia somewhere.
It was such a blur as I sat in front of the computer screen trying to take it all in. I was a little gun shy given that it hadn’t worked out so well with the first donor siblings we had met all those years ago in family day care. But the circumstances had been different, we found out accidentally and they hadn’t ever wanted to have relationships with any donor siblings. This other mother obviously does.
But what happens now?
I plucked up some courage and clicked on the ‘Send Message’ button. But what did I say? Erring on the side of caution, I thought I had better introduce myself and my circumstances. Being friends with a same sex parent isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I didn’t want to make any assumptions, given I had read in her profile blurb that she was a single mother, and he was her only child. I was a little worried how overwhelming it might be for them both to learn that we have not just one donor sibling to introduce them to, but five.
How in the world did I bring that up casually?
My messaging with Jo began slowly as I think while excited, we were both terribly nervous and wanting to tread carefully. It was huge news for all the kids, and the eldest boys in particular given they are so close in age. It must have been all the more frightening for Jo, given that Josh is her only child. I often marvel as how brave she was in establishing this contact for Josh, purely because it has been only her and him his whole life. How frightening must it be, potentially letting someone else have a connection with your one and only?
The manner in which it all unfolded showed me a great deal about the type of mother Jo is, and the amazing relationship she has with her son.
We messaged for months before we even contemplated meeting. We discussed the kids and their likes and dislikes, finding many similarities along the way. Each time we uncovered yet another similarity between the boys (there are MANY), we became more and more excited and comfortable with one another. Neither one of us wanted to race out and throw the kids in to a situation they weren’t ready or prepared for. So we talked with them. Jo talked to Josh and I spoke to my big two. Each new titbit of information we learned was reiterated to the kids so we all had a chance to build up a picture and get a feel for each other.
Master Z was excited, but also nervous. He had been very much wanting to know more about his biology. The scars hadn’t fully healed for him yet from finding out that he would never be able to meet his sperm donor. The timing for him truly couldn’t have been better. I knew he wanted to know whether Josh felt the same way as he did about the donor, and to have the chance to talk to someone who could possibly understand.
More than this though, I knew he wanted to meet Josh and get to know him.
In our extended family, Master Z is the eldest of the cousins by far. He is not child-oriented so can often feel out of place amongst the cousins as he is neither a child nor an adult, but on his own in the teenage haze between.
I knew he cherished the idea of having someone in his age group, especially a male, who didn’t challenge his Top Dog position in the family, but who could relate to him.
I desperately hoped that he wouldn’t be disappointed.
I also desperately hoped we wouldn’t disappoint them.
Over the past year we have been privileged to get to know two of the most wonderful people ever. They are truly such a gift to us, and honestly feel like family. We both have our own family units, but also enjoy getting together and spending time in what feels like an extended family relationship. The more we get to know them, the more we love about them.
Don’t even get me started on the similarities – it is uncanny at times how easily the kids all get along.
Jo and I love nothing more than sitting back and watching them all hanging out together. We have become Facebook friends and as our memories pop up we share them and marvel at the different stages our kids have been through. It’s a completely surreal experience.
Jo and I will always be eternally grateful to Wendy Kramer and her Donor Sibling Registry for providing us with the opportunity to get to know one another.
It’s a priceless connection we know will last our families a lifetime.