Guidelines for Matching?

By admin on March 08, 2008

Are there any donors here who have met with donor offspring who would be willing to type up a few “Guidelines for Matching”? Also any guidelines from those of you who have matched with a few half siblings? There are many of you who have had the experience of dealing with a few families, some with different needs, desires and expectations in regards to connecting.
This type of information on the DSR could be very helpful for donors and half siblings who come to the site to realize that they already have matches and are not sure how to proceed and what the expectations may be.

Below is the advise we’ve we currently give on the FAQ page:

We just made a match with a half sibling/donor. What do we do now?

First, take a deep breath. This moment is likely to bring up feelings you had not anticipated when you first registered on the website and, therefore, you may no longer be sure about what you want to do next. Try to have no expectations of yourself for action. Allow yourself or your child enough time to figure out what you are seeking at this point. Are you interested in a simple exchange of information? Are there questions you want to ask? Is your desire to be “known” to the donor? Do you hope to meet in person? My best advice is to follow the old carpenter’s adage: “Measure twice, cut once.”

It is perfectly normal to feel ambivalent, meaning that you may experience two simultaneous and contradictory feelings. The strong desire to find a half sibling or donor can exist alongside the equally intense fear of the unknown changes this can bring about in yourself, your child or your family structure. After having hoped that a match would be found, you may now have a strong urge to back out. The same holds true for the donor or half-sibling who came forward.

If you decide to move ahead with contact, go slowly. Email is a good way to begin. You can offer some information about yourself and see what kind of response you receive. If you ask questions, frame them gently, allowing for the other person’s ambivalence about contact and exposure. Allow yourself time after each exchange to assess your comfort level and that of the half sibling, parent or donor. This is a process and sometimes patience is needed. Donors are often especially cautious because of the possibility of multiple offspring. I recommend permitting donors to take the lead in determining the speed and depth of the communication.

And some more advise on contacting your donor:

All you can do is reach out to him, preferably in writing, so that you don’t put him on the spot. Tell him that you would like to gradually initiate a relationship; you don’t expect him to turn his life upside down, you simply want to ease into some communication, if he’s amenable. Be thoughtful in your note: Let him know how you feel, what you need and why this is so important to you. Make it very clear also about the things you are not looking for, i.e. money, great demands on his time, disruption of his family, etc.

Before you send the letter, it’s critical that you adjust your expectations so that you aren’t setting yourself up for failure. You are opening a door, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll come through it. As difficult as it may be, you have to remember that he may not be in a position to react in a way that may satisfy you. There could be any number of reasons that he is not prepared to connect at this point in time. At the very least, you will have opened up the possibility of communication, be it immediately or when the donor feels ready.