Half Sibling vs Whole Siblings?

Children in Jerusalem.

Image via Wikipedia

While visiting a friend, I met a group of children.  All of them are related by their mother, but have different fathers.  I know what this is like as my only sister has a different father than I do.  Growing up, my mother always told me that my sister was my sister–there was no “half” sister.  Thinking about it, there is no way she is my half sister.  She is a whole person, has grown up with me, and is the only sister I know.  However, these children spoke of their sibilings in terms of half.  I was introduced to one sibling, by another sibling.  The girl said “This is my half-brother ____________”.  I was completely shocked and stunned.  I thought they were all raised by their mother and couldn’t see how any mother, baring children, would allow her children to refer to their brothers and sisters as half.

After talking to a friend of mine that knows them better, she explained the situation: the mother raises some of the children, the grandmother raises some of them, and some of the children’s fathers raise them.  It kind of made sense to me, but I guess I just don’t agree with it.  Not that it is any of my business.

I have four children, two of which share the same father.  They all live with me and are MY children.  When they talk about their siblings, they refer to them as “my brother” or “my brothers”.  It would hurt my heart if I heard my children use the term half.  Even when I had a step-child, I would tell people he was my son.  He was and I didn’t feel it was necessary for anyone to know he wasn’t related to me biologically.  He would occasionally refer to me as his step-mom when speaking to some of his friends, which was fine.

I’d like to imagine that all of my children will be close-knit and loving enough to look at their emotional ties, rather than their biological ties.

 

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