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"Hello, I'm Your Sister": Lost and Found Siblings
As it turns out, siblings may have a larger effect on our personalities and lives than any of us suspected. Jeffrey Kluger, author of the new book The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, recently told NPR, "siblings are the longest relationships we'll ever have in our lives. Our parents leave us too soon, our spouses and our kids come along too late." Assuming everyone lives long enough, our siblings are the only people who know us our entire lives.
So what if you never knew your siblings, only meeting them as adults? Do they have the same effect on you as if you'd grown up together bonding over great games such as "Why are you hitting yourself?"
A new documentary called "Donor Unknown" explores what happens to five young people as they seek out their biological father, known to them only as Donor 150. The sperm donor in question is a well-meaning but sort of odd guy; every one of his offspring has a different reaction to him, as Amy Harmon writes in her comprehensive story in the New York Times Well blog. But, as Harmon writes, "Perhaps most striking to me in the film was that, as the siblings sought to know a biological parent — the bond that seems most primal — it was their bonds with one another that emerged as unequivocally the strongest." Harmon's story includes a moving video clip introducing the siblings. One of the mothers is near tears as she recalls learning that her daughter had siblings with the same donor-father. "She needed that intimacy," the mother says. "She needed that connection." The siblings found that they shared traits from wide foreheads to easy-going personalities. Two of the sisters talk daily; all five plan to continue having reunions.
I recently had my second child, and all my mom-friends who also recently had their second children like to have this conversation over and over. We say, "Holy moly, what have we done to our lives?" Then we smooth down our hair and take deep breaths and tell each other, "Man, aren't these kids lucky to have siblings though? Won't they be less alone in the world? Or at least in the back seat on family vacations?" So I love this story, and I love that these siblings have found each other, and I love that just maybe, these people, who so recently were strangers, will be able to help each other through the hard times—and possibly even the holidays.
How adult siblings can be friends
Donor families and Autism
What it's like to be a sperm-donor dad
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