DNA test­ing re­veals mys­tery half-sib­ling

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - CLASSIFIEDS - AMY DICK­IN­SON Email: [email protected]­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: I was cu­ri­ous about my DNA his­tory, so I pur­chased a kit from one of the ma­jor testers. The re­sults came back, in­di­cat­ing that I have a half-sib­ling. This half-sib­ling then con­tacted me and said he never knew his dad be­cause his mom was ar­ti­fi­cially in­sem­i­nated from an anony­mous sperm do­na­tion. I asked my par­ents if it was pos­si­ble for me to have a half­si­b­ling and they both said no. I know these tests are not per­fect, so I agreed to do an­other test with a dif­fer­ent com­pany. The re­sults just came back and sure enough it also con­cludes that I have a half-sib­ling. Amy, I had al­ready asked my par­ents about it once and they both said it couldn’t be true. I’m not sure how to in­quire again. Re­gard­less of the truth, I can hon­estly say it isn’t go­ing to change my view of my par­ents (I love them dearly). I’m mostly just cu­ri­ous now and feel a bit ob­li­gated to help my po­ten­tial half-sib­ling learn about his fam­ily (if it is true we are re­lated). Your thoughts about this? — CON­FUSED BROTHER Dear Con­fused: Just to­day I com­mu­ni­cated with a friend who has re­cently learned that he has a bi­o­log­i­cal son through sperm do­na­tion he had made when he was in col­lege, over 40 years ago. He had for­got­ten about the do­na­tion un­til he was con­tacted. Yes, this caused some awk­ward­ness within the fam­ily, but ev­ery­one has ad­justed. You should speak with your fa­ther pri­vately. Tell him that two tests have con­firmed this DNA con­nec­tion, and that you be­lieve the re­sults. As­sure him that you love him, and that you know he has done noth­ing wrong. In fact, this do­na­tion en­abled a stranger to start a fam­ily. Of­fer to help in com­mu­ni­cat­ing with your mother, if he wants. If your fa­ther con­tin­ues to deny this pa­ter­nity, there is noth­ing you can do about it. As an anony­mous donor, he has the right to try to re­main that way. Don’t push.

Yes, if you want to, you should con­tact this half-sib­ling and of­fer to share fam­ily pho­tos and some ba­sic health in­for­ma­tion with him. You will also have to de­cide to what ex­tent you want to be in­volved with your half-sib­ling. It will help to think of this ex­pe­ri­ence as a process you’ll en­counter in stages. You will all make a se­ries of choices which will lead you to en­counter un­known chal­lenges. With ad­vanced DNA test­ing, this sort of sit­u­a­tion is be­com­ing much more com­mon. Re­solve to han­dle it with in­tegrity.

Dear Amy: My 27-year-old son has been with his girl­friend for about 18 months, and while she is al­ways lovely to­ward me, she very of­ten speaks to my son in a be­lit­tling, de­mean­ing and some­times nasty man­ner. I’ve no­ticed this — and I’ve re­cently be­come aware that sev­eral mem­bers of my im­me­di­ate and ex­tended fam­ily have also no­ticed it.

My son is very laid-back and sweet, but not very as­sertive. Although I dis­like the word, he’s be­ing “hen­pecked!”

Should I talk to him about this? And, if you think I should ad­dress this, what do you think I should say? — CON­CERNED MOTHER Dear Con­cerned: Yes, let us re­tire the word “hen­pecked,” and re­place it with “bul­lied.” This is tricky. You don’t want to alien­ate your son and force him to­ward the per­son who is mis­treat­ing him.

You should speak with your son. Tell him, “While ‘Glenda’ is al­ways very nice to me, I no­tice that she fre­quently talks to you in a way that I think is de­mean­ing. This re­ally wor­ries me. You are my son. You are a won­der­ful per­son, and you are wor­thy of re­spect by ev­ery­one in your life, but es­pe­cially your part­ner. I want you to know that we are al­ways in your cor­ner, no mat­ter what. I just want you to re­mem­ber that when you choose a life-part­ner, it’s im­por­tant to be with some­one who re­spects you all the time, even when she dis­agrees with you.” If you wit­ness this be­hav­iour, you should re­act nat­u­rally to it in the mo­ment: “Whoa. Hey, Glenda, that was un­called for.”

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