Complicated Family Dynamics

In a family mix of biological and adopted siblings, how does an adoptee answer the question – how many brothers and sisters do you have?

Do you say only the number of siblings who you grew up with in the same home? What if some were adopted into different families, but you had contact with them?

What if there are some bio siblings that you never met, but you know they’re out there? Does it matter if some are “half” siblings or step-siblings?

Does your answer vary depending on who you’re talking to?

One interesting response to these questions was – I only have bios, 2 half on each side. Typically I just say I have 4 siblings but it can depend on the situation and who I am talking to. Sometimes (if I’m up for getting into the story) I’ll say I’m an only child but I have 4 siblings.

An adult adoptee answered – it depends on the situation. I grew up with one brother, also adopted, but so far have found out that I am one of 11 children, including all my half siblings…though there could be more I don’t know about yet. I mostly answer I grew up the youngest of 2 as it saves me getting further questions.

Another person answered – I have 8 siblings. No further explanation needed unless additional questions are asked. Then it’s just my truth. I always share that way. It is the truth of my story and feels amazing to be able to tell it. I have 8 siblings, 3 I grew up with in my adopted family, 3 I met 4 years ago and 2 I never met yet.

And then there is this – Even as an adult I don’t know what to say. It really depends who I’m talking to. It used to be easy when I only had one brother, also adopted, who I grew up with. In addition to him, I’ve found I also have a full sister, full brother, half brother, and two half sisters, kind of. To complicate things more my oldest sibling is only a half sister because she did a DNA test and discovered that my birth dad, who raised her and was married to her mom, isn’t her biological father. We also think my birth dad got someone else pregnant before meeting my birth mom, so there is likely to be another sibling out there.

There are many more but just to give you an idea of the complicated family dynamics that adoptees must navigate. In my mom’s case, she had one brother who was also adopted.  After she died, I discovered that she was her mother’s only child but the 6th child her father procreated.  My dad likewise had only one brother who was also adopted but had 3 half-siblings through his original mother but was the only child of his father.  My daughter grew up in a yours, mine and ours family with her dad and step-mother but she also has two non-genetically related younger brothers due to my second marriage.

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