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Finding out you have a sibling

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Smokey33, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. Smokey33

    Smokey33 Member

    Just looking for some advice here.

    This woman contacts me and claims to be my half-sister. I have no reason to doubt her. Everything about her story checks out. I've met her in person and she's cool. Got a good job and seemingly has her shit together.

    I'm just really unsure where to go from here. It seems strange to start a relationship with this person now.

    The part that's really troubling me is talking to my mom about it. I'm just afraid to do so. The fact that she's never told my brother or I about this half-sister must mean it's a very sore subject for her. I don't want to cause a family rift or upset my mother. What makes it worse is I can't even ask in person as she lives 1,000 miles away.

    Anybody else on here find out as adults about family members you never knew existed?
  2. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I have my suspicions, always have.
  3. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    My mother and her siblings found out about 15 years ago that they have a half-brother. They always suspected, but he tracked them down and confirmed it. It was kind of funny, because there were seven of them who were born and raised in Peru and the half-brother, who was a sheriff in Mississippi. They made friends for a while, took him to see where his father used to hang out in Peru (he was dead, and the half-brother had never met him), but then lost touch. There wasn't much in common outside of the father.
  4. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    This is a difficult situation, and may take a while to broach comfortably, or to resolve.

    My oldest brother's family, including his wife and 19-year-year-old son, has been dealing with just this situation since the arrival on scene three years ago of my brother's previously-never-met 29-year-old daughter with a woman he'd known in college.

    My brother and his wife had always known about her and he paid child support throughout the woman's formative years. But, the mother never told the woman who her father was, she did not want my brother in her child's life, and, for reasons of his own that I may never understand, or like, my brother never pushed or pursued the issue.

    Until the daughter called out of the blue three years ago.

    Apparently, she'd finally gotten the name of her father from her grandparents, and had been searching for him on her own since the day she'd turned 18. Upon being located and confirming her identity (there had been DNA tests taken, but we all saw, upon first glance, that they were hardly needed; she was an amazingly similar female version of my nephew, despite their different mothers), my brother finally began to get to know his first child and they belatedly began to build a father-daughter relationship.

    I think they are both glad to finally have met and have things out in the open and to have each other as part of their families.

    My brother's son, however, has not adjusted quite so well to the idea of another, previously-unknown, late-arriving-but-firstborn half-sibling.

    He's been mad since he found out that he was never told about her earlier, says he doesn't like her, and is vehement in his contention that he will never grow to love her -- or her 4-year-old son, my brother's first grand-child. He says he does not consider her part of the family, and he certainly doesn't act like she is, or treat her as such, even though the rest of us have done our best to do so since we were all introduced to her and her little son.

    We all hope that someday, with time, maturity and perspective, my nephew's feelings will change, becoming less angry, more forgiving and more warm and accepting.

    But there have definitely been issues -- for both sides -- along the way and it has been a hard road to what is an improving, generally congenial but still imperfect and sometimes uneasy relationship between my previously unknown niece and the rest of the family.
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    This is definitely not an easy question. I also get the sense that it's a sore subject with your mother.

    However, if I were in that situation, I'd probably push the issue and ask my mother to level with me. Then I'd tell her that I'm not happy that she kept the information from me. (This is, assuming that I had a relationship with my mother.)
  6. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    I spent the weekend at my parents' one year when I was in radio. A 2 1/2-hour drive later, the phone rings as I'm walking in the door. It's my dad. My mom is in the hospital for major cancer surgery. Ummm, dad, did this just come up while I was driving home?

    "No," he said. "I asked her why she never told you, and she said it was because it never came up in conversation."

    I mean, as absurd as it sounds, maybe that's the reason. Maybe your mom is waiting for you to make the first move.
  7. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    I think you have to ask her about it, sore subject or not. Give your mother a chance to explain why she didn't tell you. Obviously, that is the relationship that is most important right now, moreso than the new half-sibling.

    You really have to decide what kind of relationship you want with this person, if any at all. You aren't obliged to. You two may share a genetic connection, but you did not grow up together like siblings. Family isn't determined just by blood, but by the relationships we build over time.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    This is a great, great quote. It's going in my sig.
  9. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Smoke, maybe this woman needs a brother right now. Is she close to getting married or starting a family of her own?

    How long did she say she knew about you?
  10. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    I'd say get a DNA test and know for sure -- THEN talk to mom.

    If she doesn't want to have a relationship with your half-sister (or more likely, the father), that's her prerogative, but she does owe you (and your half-sister) at least SOME explanation.

    You don't have to judge what your mom did decades ago, but her choices don't need to dictate how you live your life from here on out.

    With the half-sister, I wouldn't launch into a furious "making up for lost time" campaign to become close-knit siblings -- everything will be too forced. Spend a little time together; if you seem to be agreeable, spend more.

    If you really don't have much or anything in common, you can basically go your separate ways -- just a phone call once or twice a year, Christmas cards, etc. There are plenty of full-blood siblings who go years without seeing each other, who aren't in bitter feuds or anything like that. You just have separate lives.
  11. Smokey33

    Smokey33 Member

    She's divorced with two kids (who would be my only niece and nephew). Apparently she's known about me and my brother for some time, maybe 15 years. She's biracial and my grandpa is very racist so I'm sure that added extra pain for my mom.

    Y'all are right that I do need to man up and ask my mom.
  12. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    I am honored, F_T. Not my first time in a sig, but it is the first time I've been in one when it was meant as a compliment. :)
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