I have randomly had a few questions and conversations about half siblings this week. I don’t really class my children as half siblings, they all bicker like siblings, they all defend each other like siblings and my love for them is exactly the same. It did get me thinking though.
A little bit of background, BG’s biological father is from Hong Kong, although he was born in the UK his parents were both born in Hong Kong and immigrated here a few decades ago. MO, SB and BBG are all fathered by my husband.
Now BG knows her dark eyes and hair and her beautiful tanned skin comes from her Chinese side of the family. She understands that she has 2 Dads. She understands that her Chinese grandparents are not the other children’s grandparents. She doesn’t understand that she is a half sibling to the others.
She knows MO and SB are her brothers, who she will defend until she is blue in the face, she will fight their corner and protect them. She also gets frustrated at her brothers, she will argue and bicker with them. She acts like a normal big sister. When I was pregnant with BBG she was so excited to have a little baby sister as that meant she would have dark hair like BG (we did explain genes at this point so that she wouldn’t be disappointed as a blonde hair, blue eyed baby girl popped out).
BG has always had quite a complex about the fact she has dark hair and tanned skin. She will randomly say how no one else looks like her, she has even said she likes wearing sun cream as the cream makes her skin look lighter. She wants to dye her hair blonde. I celebrate her differences however and tell her how beautiful she is, how envious I am of her perfectly straight hair, how I have to sun bathe for hours to get her skin tone and in fact a lot of people pay a lot of money to go on sun beds or get a fake tan to get a skin tone like hers. I say she looks beautiful like her auntie who has all her dark features. I show and tell her all about her Asian history, one of her favourite films is Mulan and she desires to be as strong and clever as Mulan. She knows the importance of her heritage and she is proud of her culture. She is proud to be Chinese, to have her red envelopes on special occasions, she is proud to celebrate Moon day and eat Moon Cake, she is proud to celebrate Chinese New Year, she is proud she can speak Cantonese. She then gets this confidence boost until something else reminds her she is different.
She has recently been asked which one of me or Dad is her ‘real’ parent. She replied ‘both’ to which she was told ‘that can’t be right’. It sets her off on another dip of wanting blonde hair and pale skin. She starts to be upset and feels like she is not part of the family, she asks who the boys ‘real’ parents are. This is why I brought up her insecurities, her heritage in this blog post, as if she was blonde strangers wouldn’t even realise she had a different parent then the ones standing with her.
My husband has been around since BG was just over a year. He has woken up in the middle of the night with me to clear up vomit, he has sat with her while she cried over her favourite bear being left on a train, he has been there to teach her to read, he has taken her to playgroup and school, he has been the one sitting in the school hall watching her plays. Her ‘REAL’ father has not been around. her ‘real’ father has not wiped her knees when she has fallen over, her ‘real’ father doesn’t know her favourite tv show, her ‘real’ father doesn’t know that she is allergic to jelly. Before people ask, her ‘real’ father left as soon as he found out I was pregnant, BG sees her fathers family once a week, and all Chinese festivals and her father chooses to come down on different days not to see her. I will never tell BG that her father chooses not to be in her life as at the moment she is quite happy thinking he doesn’t see her because he lives far away and doesn’t come down often.
I guess I am annoyed, annoyed that people have the audacity to ask my nearly 8 year old daughter who her real parents were as obviously Dad and I can’t possibly both be her real parents. I am fed up of people commenting how happy Dad and I must be to finally have a daughter of our own, sometimes when BG is there. How people assume BG is a burden on us, on how BG can’t possibly have the same bond with MO as SB does, just because they are half siblings. How when she goes to her Chinese family people have commented how lovely it must feel to have just a couple of hours of just being a real family.
Half siblings are everywhere you turn. Most families now have half siblings. In our house we do not believe in half sisters or brothers, you can’t be a half daughter or half a cousin… so how can you be a half sibling? Some children may not even realise they have half siblings or step fathers/mothers depending on their situation or some maybe adopted. So to all the strangers out there that comment, please keep your nosy beak out of my families genetics, it really doesn’t concern you, I will go mother bear on you if you upset my children again by your down right nasty comments. Questions to me, not in front of my children, are fine, I will answer as much as I feel necessary but don’t ask such sensitive questions to my children!