kin·dred spir·it /ˈkindrid ˈspirit/
noun “a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one’s own.”
In both our families of origin (the families that we grow up with) and in our donor families (the family that we meet later on), we long for meaningful familial connections. We long to connect with kindred spirits. This is true for all donor family members: the parents, the donors, and the offspring. We want that feeling of being immediately comfortable. We desire those deeper connections — the feeling that another person just “gets” us.
I received this email from an adult donor-conceived person who has recently made several half-sibling connections:
“I had an immediate connection with one of my new half brothers, yet as we became closer he began sending me red-state bullshit, veiled racist emails, and other pro-Trump idiocy. He also would continually send me live streaming links to his religious right church’s Sunday service.
I began to go quiet and pulled back. A couple of ugly emails this past week provoked me to speak out and answer him. I tried not to edit my truth and I tried not to directly criticize him.
I can’t help but think that he and I are not the first new-found half siblings to suffer from the red-blue divide. Additionally, I can’t help but think that the below letter, with some edits, might not be valuable if out in the public. Any ideas?”
And so he began the following email to his half brother:
“I find the combinations of similarities and differences between the new half siblings, especially with you, extraordinary. On one hand (genetically), you and I are one-half the same. But on the other hand, different upbringings instilled different beliefs — spiritually, religiously, politically, and socially.”
Our newly found donor families can be made up of many people of varied races, family types, religions (including non-believers), academic backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, political perspectives, nationalities, and personality types.
Think about your own Thanksgiving table ... do you want to hang out with everyone there? Sometimes not! Not all relatives are like-minded or have enough in common to desire extra time spent together.
But are these valid reasons to not seek out your (or your child’s) unknown genetic relatives? We think not. Families don’t necessarily include only kindred spirits who think and act alike at all times. Just as we accept those in our families of origin who don’t share all of our interests or attitudes, we can accept and even embrace members of our donor families who are different from us. These differences make us no less “family.”