Unspoken Connection: the Joy of Finding Donor Siblings

National Siblings day was not even suggested when I was a kid.  It began in 1999 by Claudia Evart who created an organization and campaign for national recognition.  Its absence in my sibling-free childhood was unnoticed but now, in light of diverse and all kinds of families, it has found an importance.  Today, it certainly is a big day at my house where I am one of the moms, where siblings abound.

My partner and I were together almost ten years before we decided to start a family. It took nearly 3 years for Deanna and I to get pregnant with our first child, Grayson. We weren’t sure if we would be able to have another child so Deanna suggested that we sign up at the Donor Registry website just to see if we could find any half siblings.

We found one family almost instantly and within an hour we had exchanged pictures.  We lived in Dallas and they were in Los Angeles.  They had fraternal twin girls that are two years older than Grayson.

We all agreed to meet in Los Angeles on Halloween. It seemed like a good idea, as it would be lots of fun for the kids and engaging for all of us.  We made the travel arrangements and with open hearts got on the road.

It was a magical experience. Grayson was 18 months, the twins were three and instantly, they saw and knew ~ siblings!  There was nothing complicated to explain as we made this choice when they were young.  Big serious questions were on no one’s mind.

Obviously, the first thing we noticed was how much they looked alike.  That was so evident.  More importantly there was an immediate bond.  They looked at each other and felt camaraderie, a kinship, an acceptance: they knew each other.  They laughed and stood close, skin-to-skin, arms open, connection assumed.  They had a half- brother and Grayson had twin half-sisters.  Hesitation and concern melted, as they knew one another beyond handshakes and hugs.

A year later we met up again at Disneyland. Now four and two-and-a-half, they were mobile, talkative, reading one another’s signals.  They were in sync.

When we returned home, Deanna and I started talking about having another baby. We had some embryos and Deanna exclaimed, “I cannot live with two only-children!”  Deanna was pregnant within the year.

It was interesting to watch big brother Grayson meet this full sibling, Griffin.  This one was not waiting at the end of a plane ride, waiting at an amusement park.  This one came home, home to stay.  I watched to see if there was an instant bond between the brothers.  It took some time, but once Griffin was mobile, Grayson and Griffin have been inseparable.

They are complete opposites – Grayson is gender fluid and loves all things Barbie.  Griffin prefers nerf guns and trains.  But there is a love that clearly runs so deep you can actually feel it.  Originally we created two separate rooms for them but, once able to make their choices known, they never slept apart.  In the end, they preferred sharing one room.  Watching their bond is a real joy for us.

McFerrin Family and Siblings

We got all four kids together at Family Week in Provincetown last summer (2016).  Even with a new little brother Griffin and all of us a year older; family is family.  The children knew one another, celebrated one another, and had their own little jokes and secret understandings.  Clearly there is something more than names, places, shared interests.  There is something beyond language and mutual experiences.  There is an observable connection that siblings understand; no explanation required.

These past few years made me long for a sibling. The joy, the tribal unspoken connection to others in the human race.  It says, you belong, you are known, and you are loved without conditions.  You feel like me.  You are a part of me.

I am so happy to be able to give that gift to my children.  I hope they find other donor siblings in the future. There is always room at our table.

Happy Siblings Day!