Monday, December 26, 2005

Half Sibling Terminology

As I have stated in earlier posts my kids have so far one half sibling found via the DSR. A current topic on the main DSR yahoo discussion group is that of sibling related terminology. This is a topic we have been dealing with again recently as we have traded a number of e-mails and phone call with the half sibling’s mom on this exact topic.

At this moment my older child (at 3years 8 months old) fully knows that he has a mommy and a daddy and a donor. He knows the donor helped him and his sister be born into this world. Their half sibling (still not yet 3 years old) is not fully at that stage of understanding regarding the donor's role or that why she does not have a daddy. At this point neither family is using the terms brother/sisters as the kids have no relationship to each other and at this point don't even know they each exist.

Our issues at this point include (1) what do we each feel comfortable telling the kids in light of their own understandings of how their families are structured / comprised and (2) what each child's maturity level is to understanding the concept of half siblings via common donor. As I have stated in earlier posts my wife would rather just tell our son that he is meeting a half sibling after ensuring he understands what that means but that may be unfair to the half sibling who has yet to fully comprehend even why her family is anything other than just a mommy and me family. The last thing I would want is to create any confusion for this child. Nor would I want to create any conflict between the kids where they might argue “what a family is” knowing what they have as opposed to each other’s family structure. Note that 3 year olds (plus and minus) do not exactly have arguments or discussions but rather statements of fact as they see the world and then they leave with what they think the other side said which more often than not is a misunderstanding of what the other kid intended.

It’s so hard to discuss this stuff by e-mail and we should discuss it more via phone but when there are competing lives and issues finding time is a trick. At the same time where I can write about this stuff with relative ease I forget that not everyone is as comfortable at the keyboard and e-mail time delayed conversations are never great. Neither family I believe wants our only discussions to be on this topic but it’ so easy to get stuck.

Much of what I wrote above captures the point that we are at. I am not looking for feedback as I am just taken by the fact the online DSR discussion is somewhat current with our own.