Getting to know birth and half siblings when you're older isn't the easiest thing.
I was adopted in a stepparent adoption at the age of 10 along with my older sister, but I never knew any other father. My bio-father left us when I was months old and my mother remarried when I was 11 months old. Throughout my growing-up years, my step-dad was my dad for all practical purposes. (It’s a complicated family situation; I explained it in detail in this post.)
Soon after they married, we moved from Idaho to Colorado. My sister and I had no contact with my biological father. For some reason, when I was about 4, my sister and I went and spent a few days with our bio-dad, his new wife, and their toddler. I don’t remember the toddler being there. I was so impressed with my stepmother’s older son, but that was our first meeting.
Those two had another son a few years later, and my parents had two boys as well. So in all I have the one sister and four half brothers, two I was raised with and two who are virtual strangers. The two boys I grew up with are my brothers, no question.
The challenge for me has been getting to know the other two. The one just younger than I, Donnie, has been in touch with me over the years. We last saw each other at our bio-dad’s funeral, but I was in and out quickly, so we did not have much time to talk. Since then, we’ve exchanged greetings on Facebook, but the 2300 miles separating us have made it hard to get together.
The real issue, I think, is how my “raising parents” will feel about me getting closer to Donnie. To me, it’s as if an arm of my family has been cut off. Not having been in the same situation themselves, I don’t think they can see the necessity or need for me to get to know those two “boys.” The “boys,” of course, are grown men in their forties. I cannot imagine what is would have been like had I not had the three siblings I was raised with. How alone and discombobulated I would be.
This is why, when our social worker asked us to consider a sibling group, I said yes. I only have this tiny picture of being separated from a sibling– I did not have the trauma of being without my birth parents at the same time. A sibling is a part of us; we need them.