Can we talk?

10 Nov

As you read this post, if it doesn’t apply to you, it doesn’t apply to you, no need to get yourself all worked up and create a response along the lines of #notall, just accept that I’m intelligent enough to know that you aren’t all clones of each other.  If it does apply to you, please mull on the mixed message you are putting out in this world, to your child.

Dear Prospective and Adoptive Parents, and to a degree Foster Parents…

I hear you talking about your child’s parents, about other situations you know about, or, in response to other parents posts.  You speak about how the child’s has half-siblings on her dad’s side, her mom’s side, or both sides.  You actively make sure everyone knows it’s only half a genetic relationship the child shares with her sibling, you do this continually always insuring the half is included before sibling.

Your words sometimes make it sound like that half-genetic relationship isn’t worth bothering with, especially if the child has never met them, or the baby hasn’t been born yet.

You use the half-sibling relationship as a legitimate excuse to downgrade any reason why they may be important to the child.  At the same time, you post memes about how family doesn’t need DNA to be a family.  You speak glowingly about how family is based on love, and how, you don’t need genetic ties to be a real family.

Have you ever stopped and considered, that if being family doesn’t need genetic ties to just be a family, why you focus so much on the term half-sibling?  That your focus, your insistence on pointing out the half-sibling relationship vs. a full-sibling relationship is contradictory to your words about family isn’t defined by DNA?

If family is not about being defined by DNA you wouldn’t bother with the half-sibling descriptor, you’d just call them siblings, because you aren’t threatened by that genetic relationship, because, in your heart, you fully believe family isn’t only defined by DNA, it can also be defined by just love.

You don’t need to reduce the status of the sibling relationship by half, if you believe love is all that is required to be a family.  You can believe both adoptive and biologically connected families are real families that can stand on their own merits and the test of time, without needing to lower one to elevate the other.





Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Can we talk?

  1. kayrosey

    November 10, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    I always use the half sibling terminology as a way to explain how everyone fits together, it’s never occurred to me that it was downgrading relationships. I’ll have to keep it in mind as I talk about my kids. my instinct is to describe the 3 I’m raising as just siblings without qualifiers even though they are either half or not genetically related at all, and the siblings in other households as half siblings when they are brought up in conversation.


    • TAO

      November 10, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Happy to hear you’re willing to mull on it… 🙂 Thank you for listening.


  2. Dannie

    November 10, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I grew up a child of immigrants here on political assylum…..culture is different even if skin color is that of the priviledged….in my family, family is very a) inclusive and b) very boundary like… the use of half/step is used quite often. since I’m an only, it didn’t affect much, however, I find myself getting pulled automatically to verbally expressing things due to cultural norms of family….I try not to be exclusive be it with adoption issues or in general, so to the greater public, please get to know me and know I try to be kind and inclusive before anything else…

    I will digress and say, this is the reason why many Cubans were angry at Janet Reno on the Elian case…..back in my parents day, if a family (parent divorced, left, or died) remarried, stepparents were not looked at as how we do here, and if a step parent came into the picture children were usually given to the grandparents to raise as I guess expectation was that step parents are like those fairy tale ones….family in FL were the mothers family and said the kid belonged with them and not with dad and step mom solely for stepmom purposes…..and of course no one understood the anger and the discord with why Cubans wanted him to stay here. My dad and aunt were left motherless at age 10 (dad) and 15 (aunt)….my grandfather did not remarry until my dad was engaged because he didn’t believe in giving his kids a stepmother. It’s also the reason I have many “discussions” (read: may be a bit heated) with my mother who says if anything ever happened to my husband and i, divorce or death, if I think of remarrying before kids are old enough to take care of themselves, she’s taking them, and she always hovers over my oldest to make sure she’s happy and thriving ….Me thinks culture runs deep……

    I digressed to share some personal info but also to say that this is my culture and roots, but I’m willing to bet that most people emphasizing “half” are not of the same culture as I am and are very much comfortable with blended families.


    • TAO

      November 10, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Amazing insight about the Cuban culture, I can see why it would be that way based on the mothering role. Thank you…and no, I’m sure the use of “half” in these situations isn’t a cultural reason either… Love having you back btw…


  3. Jill Daviau

    November 10, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    I remember thinking this as a child. I had an unusual adoption in that my adoptive mother married my ex-uncle, so I had three stepsisters who were my cousins at the same time. So defining family relationships was a bit confusing. Anyway, I remember thinking “If there are full siblings and half siblings, does that make my [also-adopted] brother my zero sibling?”


    • TAO

      November 10, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful response. I just hope people think about it, you are either siblings or you aren’t.


  4. myst1998

    November 10, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    My daughter’s adopters have done this and destroyed any hope of a relationship between my children. My second daughter accepted her lost sibling as her sister and used to try and reach out as much as possible but my firstborn rejected her the whole time – with the help of her adopters. My second daughter asked for sleepovers etc but the adopters said my daughter was not allowed to stay because of my (then infant) son and husband and that might put her at risk of abuse which was purely a sick excuse to say no. My then 4 and 5 year old daughter did not understand why her sister could not stay. The adopters were ALWAYS quick to point out they were not really siblings because they were only half and therefore didn’t count. Now my second born hates her older sister and wants nothing to do with her and has told me she will tell her if she ever comes knocking – which I don’t think she will ever do. This year my heart has been broken so much more than I ever thought possible, adopters cause so much unnecessary destruction to feed their own insecurities and entitled desires.


  5. beth62

    November 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I have no full brothers or sisters.
    I have adopted brothers, half brothers and a half sister.
    I have six brothers and one sister.
    I have four sister in-laws and one brother in-law.
    I have one brother I will never be able to meet, and three siblings, of some sort, that I have yet to meet.
    They are all real brothers and sisters to me.
    Believe it, and Get over it!

    My sons, the dozens that claim me, consider themselves brothers, “thick as blood”. None share a speck of DNA, nor do they share the first 10 years or so of their lives together, and there is not one legal document anywhere on this planet stating that any of them are brothers.

    They are true brothers, real family, thick as thieves, none will ever be left behind by another. They would walk thru fire for each other, they push each other to do better, they hold each other up when needed, I have seen it many times. When one falls there are dozens of others offering a hand up. When one soars there are dozens there to cheer him on. They have no prefix for each other, they are brothers, plain and simple.

    I feel like one of the main things I’ve done as a Mom, and still do, is insist they maintain their relationships – no matter what fight or disagreement we are in the middle of. And also maintain relationships with their genetic brothers / step brothers / half-brothers, brother and sister in-laws, uncles, nephews, cousins…family. I am pretty proud of myself for that, it hasn’t been easy, not easy at all!! I am very happy when I see our grown men together as brothers still.

    My born son and my born daughter’s husband have claimed their brotherhood, so much so my daughter gets jealous LOL. I have no worries for her now. My worries for all of them have been greatly diminished due to their strong connections. I was the one who brought them all together, and I have worried about that frequently for a very long time. I do and have always felt responsible to keep them connected with all of their siblings (and family), regardless of the descriptor that comes before sibling, or where they were. If I were to drop dead today – I know they would be okay and will not be alone on this planet fending for themselves. When I see them, and their sisters, loving and looking out for each other as adults – I feel like I’ve done something truly good on this planet by basically just insisting they remain close with each other, be there for each other. 🙂 And it feels wonderful, simply wonderful to see it happen.

    The peace that annoying idea has brought to so many, especially me, was Well Worth all of the lessons, discussions, putting up with, convincing, pushing and insisting that I didn’t always feel like doing, but did anyway.


  6. Yes, I am really adopted

    November 16, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I’ve been trying to explain this to someone for awhile now. I’ll be sharing this with her.


    • TAO

      November 16, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      Thank you.



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