OK, so that title may not be 100% accurate, but it’s pretty close. After finding out that my eight siblings and I were raised by a man who was not our biological father (BF), I wanted to know who my half-siblings were. Five of us 9 children already knew who their half siblings were simply because they grew up knowing their BF’s family. My younger brother and I both share the same BF so that simplifies it even more. By the time my book, The Broken Tree: How DNA Exposed a Family’s Secrets had been accepted by my publisher, I had not yet made an effort to find out who my half-siblings were. It would be another several months before I would begin that adventure.
Getting in touch with a half-sibling can be a very delicate and emotional experience. But Tim and I wanted to know who our BF was and that would only happen by getting to know his birth children. I am interested in learning stories about my birth father and seeing photographs of him, his siblings and his parents.
Over time, I was able to discover that Tim and I have 2 half-brothers and 2 half-sisters. I made contact with one of my half-sisters with hopes that she would be willing to speak with me. I knew this would be just as difficult for her as it was for me. With time, however, we got to know each other, first with text messages and emails and then by telephone. I won’t use her real name here. I will refer to her simply as "M".
M was so kind and sweet. She was amazing! Our first call lasted nearly an hour and a half. She promised that she would drive 4 hours to where her brothers and sister lived and share with them “good news” of the discovery of two new brothers. I was so excited to see how well this was turning out. I had great hopes that Tim and I could meet them all in person. But, I quickly learned that this wasn’t going to be, at least not in the foreseeable future..
M did, indeed, meet with her brothers and sister. She told them all about Tim and me. I think that I am putting it mildly when I say that they were shocked and disgusted to learn that their father had done such a thing. They were mortified to think that they now have two “bastard” brothers who were conceived under such despicable conditions. I have no idea what kind of conversations went on between M and her siblings, but they made it clear that under no conditions did they want any part of us. We were not family and we would never be welcome into their family.
I was devastated to hear this news. Thinking about it, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised by their reactions. Their father was a very religious man who, from what I have been able to learn, was the epidemy of a good father. The thought of their father being sexually involved with a married woman which resulted in the birth of not 1 but 2 children must surely have been more than they could handle. The fact that their father was single at the time this happened offered little comfort.
I feel badly that my efforts to make a connection with my half-siblings has created such pain in their lives. But I knew I had to take a chance in hopes that something good might come out of this. M is still speaking with Tim and me and for that I am very grateful. She really is a very kind and wonderful woman. Maybe one day, one or more of the other three siblings might be willing to reach out to us and create a bridge that might allow us to cross into each other’s world. But until that time comes, I can only continue to work on strengthening our relationship with M and hope that the others will one day have a change of heart.