Dear Annie: Recently, I was contacted by a person who had just received results from a popular online DNA test, which I had also taken some time ago. She asked who I was. We share a great deal of DNA, so, naturally, she assumed that she would know me. Well, after looking through our shared DNA matches and carrying out some additional research, I realized that I do know her. We lived next door to each other when we were very young, and played together nearly every day.
Our DNA clearly demonstrates that we are half-siblings sharing the same father — my dad, who was married to my mother at the time. While I’m thrilled that we’ve found each other after more than 50 years, we are both a bit shocked at the realization that things are not at all what they seemed, for either of us. She was not expecting these results, and she had simply been seeking information on the family of the man she had always believed to be her father.
I’m really on the fence as to whether I should tell my two brothers about this. One was very close to dad, and the other had a more troubled relationship with him. Regardless of our love and respect for our father, this information would undoubtedly flavor their feelings. Mom and Dad are gone. There is no one left who could answer the many questions this brings up. My friend did not contact me looking for a new family, and has not expressed interest in meeting her other half-siblings. On the other hand, this information belongs to them as much as it belongs to me.
I feel that it would be wrong to hide this but am not sure it would serve any positive purpose, and might well affect my brothers’ memories of Dad negatively. Should I tell my brothers we have a half-sister, the result of a relationship outside of our parents’ marriage? Will this accomplish anything other than bringing up questions that can no longer be answered?
— Suddenly a Sister
Dear Suddenly a Sister: When it comes to questions this complicated, there are no right or wrong answers. But I’d lean toward sharing the news with your brothers, if only because they are your closest living family members and secrets build walls. Whichever you decide, I’d love to hear from you in the future about how it went.
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