Today is National Siblings Day. I am an only child with 4 donor-siblings and a few sisters. All of these identities and relationships help to make me who I am. They are also an honest reflection of the complexities of many LGBTQ families.
I grew up as the only child in my house. At times I longed for siblings, but mostly I was content to surround myself with deep friendships and loving cousins. At eighteen I contacted my identity-release sperm donor after many years of personal growth and soul searching. I was highly motivated to know who he was and sent my letter off to the clinic requesting his identity release a day after my birthday. I honestly had not thought much about potential siblings, being so narrowly focused on contacting him and getting at least some medical history – I was cautious not to hope for more.
What I actually got from my donor, has dramatically changed my life. First, I now have a gentle, generous, and kind person in my life, along with his joyful family. And suddenly, in the course of three years, I went from an only child to having four donor-siblings who also began to contact our shared donor. And all four of our families have lesbian moms. Having met after high school, our relationships have been constrained by geography and busy lives. Over the years our connections have changed, but as I got closer with certain siblings, for the first time I was able to introduce someone as my sister, and it felt so right. Very quickly it was like the type of deep and lengthy friendship that doesn’t require constant maintenance. There’s a shared history and familiarity that falls right back into place each time we get together. All my life biology has played a minimal, if not nonexistent, role in determining who was my family. Now what began as a loose biological tie has strengthened to become how I’ve always defined family – love, respect, and a commitment to support one another.
Contacting my donor and finding my donor-siblings, or ‘diblings’ opened new doors for love, friendship, and family – and the bizarre and novel experience of finally looking alike. I know everyone has different experiences contacting or not contacting donors and diblings – and even the five of us have had vastly different journeys.
For someone who grew up an only child, it is fun now to be able to celebrate ‘National Siblings Day’ with queerspawn pride.