I have read one recent blog and been interviewed by one researcher in the past week about DSR offspring only reporting “good” experiences with regard to meeting half-siblings, and wanting to hear about some of the “bad” experiences. After facilitating around 12,000 half-sibling connections, and talking to and researching thousands of parents and donor-conceived people, I find this odd.
For me, it’s like asking me to tell you about a “bad” experience when a child met his first cousins for the first time. Or when two people in a family don’t get along, see eye to eye, or who don’t want to spend time with each other. Is this a “bad” experience”? Or just a part of the family experience?
Do half-siblings have to adore each other and share common interests in order to classify the meeting as a success? I think not. I think having access and being able to know these first-degree genetic relatives is their right, but bonding with them and defining these new relationships is then their choice. And for young children raised knowing their half-siblings, there is just no issue. These people are just their family members. Like other relatives, the ones they live nearest to are the ones they are more likely to see the most.
The researcher asked me to tell her if there were cases where the child under 18 wasn’t mature enough to handle this type of situation. I think these folks are looking at the situation from the outside in, and not quite getting it. Children take the meeting of half-siblings in stride. Just like meeting any other relative, some of them they like more than others. Some they would rather spend time with, others — not so much. It’s very simple.
Usually, it’s the parents who are much more likely to fret about how to define it all. When the parents move forward with meetings in a steady, joyful, and confident manner, the kids are likely to also view the meetings as positive. When parents interject their own fears or worries, this might throw unnecessary angst into the connections for the kids.