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Should Children Know Who Their Biological Parents Are? Or Their Half-Siblings?

Updated on February 9, 2013

We moved to a small town thinking this would never happen here!

When the now adults-in-training were just starting middle school Tucson Unified School District changed their borders, again. We had already moved as far West of the city as we could afford; we were on West Grant, tucked into the smallest of the foothills on the edge of the West Saguaro National Monument. Man, we loved it there too. However, when we made to tour to see where the kids would be going to school we knew we had to move. We looked in the desert, of course, and in New Mexico, but in the end, hormones won out.

That's exactly how I feel about the whole, entering mainstream America and getting a better life for our family. We did it for all of us, but mainly for Katie and David Wyatt. I was so afraid of the gangs and the drugs and the violence in the big city and after seeing where they would be going to school...I mean, there was coiled barbed wire at the top of the fence! And sixth graders with their hands through the fence!

I freaked out. However, freaked or not, my husband and I do not regret the decision to try and find a safer, more stable environment for our children’s teenage years.


But, this is about half brothers and sisters who do not know they are half brothers and sisters!

One of the things we have learned, of course, is that one can run but one cannot hide. There is nothing new under the sun and there is no safe haven. The most you can do as a parent is talk and talk and talk and oh, did I mention talk? Talk to your kids! I know, the eye rolls and the "I know all this already" answers make you want to pinch their heads off but try to call up that lovely baby head smell, you know the one higher power put on their soft spot? He put that smell there to keep us from killing our children!

The good thing about living in a small town is you get to know most of the people in it that go double for the kids. Teenagers sometimes stick with one group of friends their entire teenage years. Others may have more than one group they associate with, such as one for college prep English and another for ROTC or the art club. Sometimes teenagers just fire their friend and never speak to that person again! I know, total shocker isn't it? It happened in our house; somebody copied one of my daughters many styles of hairdo's and my daughter got so mad at the friend for copying her they never saw or spoke again, to this day! Apparently, plagiarism in the form of hair does not have to be written, it only has to be seen!

Now, this has been really fun to write, up to this point.

Now is when it gets a bit dicey.

Dicey Does Not Tell the Half of It!


Living in a small town has its down side. The teenage pregnancy, multiple partners, children being born during the same two to three year time period with the same father is extremely high. If I were not a part of my daughter's life when she was a teenager, if she did not find the situation appalling, if she had not talked about how she felt with her father and me, this may have escaped my knowledge together.

I am afraid it has been seen but not acknowledged by the majority of the people I know, people I work with, people I go to church with and people I see in the W store daily. If there is one thing Southerners excel at, it is their ability to pretend anything that is sad, uncomfortable, embarrassing, frightening, humiliating or potentially harmful even exists.

Exist it does, not just one instance but several. One father, several girls, all pregnant by the same male and all their children will now go to school together, be in friends groups together, see each other in a whole, friendly way together. All without knowing they are related by blood.

Oh, you say you are sure that sooner or later they will find out? I'm sure they will as well. I certainly hope they find out before it is too late! You say you doubt they would be attracted to the other? I would have to say that blood ties are very strong. My sister and I are very close, though we are many miles apart. We will still buy the same thing and then call the other to say guess what I bought? Only to find out the other had already done the same thing! If that can happen with my sister and me, it can happen with half sisters and brothers as well!

What a terrible thing to discover you are related when you about to get married! What a frightening thing to find out you're related by blood when you are expecting a child! No one should have to suffer that.

Should children be given information related to their true biological parents from the earliest age?

To answer with my favorite teenager-ism...Well, DUH!

Would you?

Would you want to know if you were closely related to the one you married and had children together?

See results

Do You Know?

Do children in or around your town with the same father and the mothers have decided not to tell their children about their half-siblings?your know of

See results


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    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thank you sweetguide!

    • sweetguide profile image

      sweetguide 5 years ago from River side

      Interesting information. Thank dear RNMSN

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      whoa that was fascinating JameeGenee!

      this hub was written from my perspective in a small town...I researched it a bit but oh goodness, I was and still am truth be told, hoping it was an isolated incident

      no such luck...we as humans know not what harm we are doing

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Better to fess up early on and therefore avoid the embarrassing and/or painful situations that could result later. My brother and I had been estranged for years (and still are), so my children had had no contact with his even though we only lived 25 miles from each other. When one of my daughters was 16 or 17, she and her buds liked to go to the next town over and "drag Main" on Fri and Sat nights to meet boys. At a family dinner after a funeral, I noticed she was eying a tall, good-looking fellow about her age. That kid was my nephew, but he and Daughter hadn't seen each other since they were toddlers. When I overheard him telling her, as a prelude to "hooking up", that he also often "dragged Main" in the same town, I jumped in and said "Mary, allow me introduce you to your first cousin John". Oops.

      Another reason kids should be aware of half-siblings made national news back in the 80s. A prominent psychiatrist in the same large Midwest city where he'd attended med school had augmented his income as a med student by making regular donations at a local sperm bank. A reporter doing a story on the rising popularity of sperm banks by infertile couples and single women unearthed the fact that the then-med student's sperm had been quite popular. And that over 500 children "fathered" by him were now attending a handful of grade and middle schools in one affluent suburb of that city. This was back when families didn't move much, so there was a very real possibility many of those kids would be attracted to and marry each other, having no idea they were half-siblings. If that wasn't bad enough, the shrink's young wife had NO knowledge he'd been a prolific sperm donor and thought their two children were his only children. Surprise...

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      great comment Verygoodie

    • profile image

      Verygoodie 5 years ago

      While visiting the tiny little town where the adoption took place. Was sitting at a table eating lunch in the local cafe. Kept looking at a man, seemed odd, yet drawn towards him. After the weekend ended and I returned to Indiana we both enjoyed each others company so well because my grandfather said, be careful, you two are related. Without believing ~ I lead conversations to that area, asked him if he had photos, albums, let me look... We were related ! How odd to meet your blood cousins ( not hard to remember two identi twin boys from childhood).. Almost sad feeling. Yet it was an odd experience to meet him. Life is full of twists and turns. I'm glad it wasn't any kind of romantic attraction OMG :-) !!!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      Amen to that!

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thank you James for your supportive comments! unfettered, so true...often by the parents of the children expressing the individualism! If the kids had less freedom but more constuctive forms of expressing their individualism then this type of article would be unnecessary....

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      I do think if people are related by blood they should know about it. It is tragic, the collapse of virtue in our society. But many don't see it as anything except the joy of unfettered licentious individualism. Thanks for the thought provoking Hub.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      hey Maggie, yes, as one of five siblings I have 64 first cousins on my mothers side of the family (my dad was an only child) and less than a dozen 2nd cousins on my dads side of the family...imagine if nne of knew where our ancestry lines went...could be disastrous! I have tons of info on ancestors on my moms side but only one generation on my dads side...his dad separated himself from his family though the why was never explained and didnt matter to us...he was Teekee and the best!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      hi Barbara I have been married for 43 years now and at this stage of the game I don't think I would like to find out that my husband was my half brother ignorance being bliss in this case. lol

      Being adopted I know from the odd comment from my mum that my birth mum had others later so some where I have blood relatives and I would certainly like to know about them.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      what an honour! thank you so much Ethel!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      That was also something I was considering in my hub. Nicely done Barbara. I will link it to my hub if that's OK with you?