It’s their story now and they will tell it to whoever they like.
We told Corin, Scout and Cully about Maisie and Dougal, their donor siblings on a Saturday morning. Cath had already told her kids so we really needed to tell ours.
The three of them were up at the breakfast counter. Corin was on his iPad and I said quite casually: “You know how we’ve talked about the fact that Donor Dave has donated sperm for other families? Well he donated to Maisie and Dougal as well”. There was a bit of a pause then Corin said: “Freaky,” about three times and then: “That’s freaky, but cool”. And then he said: “Can I go back on my iPad now?” Scout does ballet on a Saturday morning and she was keen to get ready. When we told her she just said: “Yeah okay but I don’t really care about donors, I just care about ballet”. And Cully was a bit young for it to mean very much. They certainly all get it now and there’s a great relationship between the five of them.
There was a difficulty with language, because there isn’t a word to describe the relationship between the kids so, when I first told them, I didn’t want to say that they were “half-siblings” because they’re not, except that they are. I was very clear about saying: “We know somebody who also has the same donor”.
Corin’s now twelve and he’s changed the language as he’s got older. When we started talking about it, it was in more abstract terms, then that shifted to “half siblings” and now he will casually talk about Dougal being his “bro”, which is kind of the latest thing. It’s been interesting watching how it’s changed over time. The other interesting thing for us is that we now have absolutely no control over the information. It’s like you can’t be closeted when you have kids, because the kids will out you and it’s the same sort of thing. It’s their story now and they will tell it to whoever they like, and they do. It’s theirs and you can’t hide it or contain it; it’s out there now for the world, which is probably why we are sitting here doing this interview!