In this episode, we have the privilege of hosting Melanie Blanc, self-described “curvy spice girl,” who shares their deeply personal journey as a donor-conceived individual. Their story is a riveting blend of self-discovery, family dynamics, and the complex emotions that come with uncovering one’s true origins. Melanie’s openness in discussing their experiences from childhood realizations to adult revelations makes for an engaging and thought-provoking listen. If you’re intrigued by the intricacies of donor conception and the powerful bonds it can create, this episode is a must-listen.
Highlights of the Episode:
1. Early Discovery: Melanie discovered they were donor-conceived at the age of eight, prompted by a school lesson on genetics, leading to a life-altering revelation about her family.
2. Family Dynamics: Melanie shares the impact of this discovery on their family life, particularly their relationship with her social father, and the acceptance they experienced from their family.
3. Siblings and Connections: Melanie delves into their experience of connecting with their half-siblings through DNA testing platforms like 23andMe and Ancestry, highlighting the joys and complexities of these newfound relationships.
4. The Search for Identity: The episode touches on Melanie’s search for their biological father, the lack of communication from his side, and Melanie’s emotional journey through this process.
5. Advocacy and Awareness: Melanie speaks about their involvement in advocacy for the donor-conceived community, emphasizing the need for ethical practices in the industry.
6. Future Aspirations: Melanie discusses her plans to further connect with their half-siblings and her idea of starting a podcast to explore these unique family bonds.
Melanie’s journey, from the innocence of childhood curiosity to the nuanced understanding of their identity as an adult, offers a compelling glimpse into the life of someone born through donor conception. Their story is a tapestry of emotions, challenges, and the enduring quest for connection. If Melanie’s experiences have moved you or sparked your interest in the fascinating world of donor conception, don’t forget to rate, follow, and review Family Twist. Your support helps us share more stories like Melanie’s with a broader audience.
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Kendall and Corey: [00:00:00] Melanie, welcome to the show.
Melanie: Thank you. I'm so excited to be here.
Kendall and Corey: Well, we're excited to have you. Kendall and I have really delved into the donor conception side of the story, The Family Twists, over the last six months or so, and it's been absolutely fascinating, heartbreaking, heartlifting, all of it, because it's just everybody's story is unique, but there are so many similarities, of course, along the same way. And I think the heartening part for us is getting to see the donor conception community grow and helping each other through education and moral support and advocacy and all of that. So, thank you in advance for coming on and being open to sharing your story.
Melanie: Well, and I have very recently, within the last year, been delving into the donor conceived community and then I realized how similar it is to the adoption community. [00:01:00] And so just within the last, I want to say four months, I started to learn more about that side of the baby business.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Absolutely. Yeah. There are definitely crossovers there, not only within the industries, but also with just how people discover their truth, and sometimes it's super, super early on, like Kendall has never not known he was adopted. Right. And then there are other folks like our episode this last week, guy was 48 years old before he found out and essentially kind of forced his parents to tell him because there was like lingering stuff that was very confusing.
Melanie: I'm still halfway through that episode, but I've been kind of binging them throughout the last couple of weeks.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, Oh, awesome. Thank you. We appreciate that. So, let's talk a little bit about your story. When did you find out you were donor conceived?
Melanie: I found out when I was around eight years old, I was in like fourth or fifth grade and learning about genetics for the first [00:02:00] time, which is I think a fairly common story. And I consider myself lucky to have found out when I was so young around eight. We were learning about the Punnett squares, and my dad had brown hair, brown eyes, and skin that tanned really well and neither of my sister and I had brown hair, dark brown eyes. We have very, very fair skin, we looked nothing like him. And I guess I just kept pestering my mom about it, and she finally broke down. She's bad at keeping secrets. So she finally broke down, she sat us down and said, listen, like your dad isn't your dad, but I don't want you to treat him like he's not your dad. And we're like, well, yeah, he's our dad.
Kendall and Corey: Right.
Melanie: That's not, that was never really in question the entire time.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Yeah. Yeah. And I can't imagine a situation unless there's like abuse or something like that happening where someone finding out, whether they're eight or 18 or 48, if this is [00:03:00] the parent that raised them and they've always loved and bonded with them, why would that change? It should change absolutely nothing.
Kendall and Corey: Yeah. I definitely feel that way.
Melanie: I do still, I like to call my dad, my social dad, because he's for all intended purposes, my dad.
Kendall and Corey: Are you older than your sister?
Melanie: No, my sister, so I have a full older sister, she's two and a half years older. My sister was born in 92. I was born in 94. And my sister never really had as much of an interest as I did. I think partly because she fit in with my mom's family more. I am sperm donor conceived.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Okay. Did your sister find out at the same time that you found out?
Melanie: Yeah. We were both sat down at the same time and my mom told us, and my sister just kind of was like, huh, and then just went back to watching cartoons.
Kendall and Corey: Wow.
Melanie: And at that point I remember my life like flipped upside down, but nothing changed.
Kendall and Corey: Mm hmm. At [00:04:00] that age, do you even have questions about like, well, who was he? You know, what's the story?
Melanie: At that point, my mom really didn't have much information. We didn't really have a full donor profile but my parents were told that he had two degrees music.
Kendall and Corey: Oh,
okay. All right.
Melanie: So we were kind of in a nature versus nurture thing. My mom was like, let's see if you're musically inclined. And we were,
Kendall and Corey: Awesome. Awesome. That's cool.
Melanie: but then there is at one point, my mom brought up the donor sibling registry
Kendall and Corey: yes. Hmm. Hmm.
Melanie: And she never fully signed up for it, but she did find that there was a sister like around my sister's age, but my mom asked my sister and we never really ended up reaching out to her. And so I never found any other siblings until 2020.
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Wow. So, 2020, that's when you did a test?
Melanie: I took the test, I took 23andme first in [00:05:00] 2018.
Kendall and Corey: Mm hmm.
Melanie: Um, and I think my sister took it the following year and then we just kind of waited. In January of 2020 we had a half brother show up, but then 2020 happened and neither of us really followed through, we didn't really know how to proceed.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Yeah. It was a weird couple of years for all of us. Everything was topsy turvy. Yeah.
Melanie: and weirdly enough, finding a long lost half brother wasn't even on the top 10 weird things that happened that year.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Yeah. Exactly. Have you connected with him now?
Melanie: We have connected with him now. He is honestly an amazing artist, a photographer. He is born 94 as well, the same year as me and he also has an older half brother.
Kendall and Corey: From the same donor.
Melanie: No, he also has an older full brother. He's my half brother.
Kendall and Corey: Gotcha. Okay. Right. Right. Yeah.
Melanie: So it is kind of cool to find [00:06:00] other siblings It is really, really cool to find other siblings that have the same kind of experiences, cause they were told around 18.
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Okay. How far are you geographically from your half siblings? Or do you know?
Melanie: Well, okay. So out of the last couple of years, I have found 16 of us so far. And most of them live on the West Coast.
Kendall and Corey: Mm hmm.
Melanie: Uh, that is where our donor donated
Kendall and Corey: Okay.
Melanie: LA area. And so there's six or seven that still live in California. There's one in Portland, there's one in British Columbia, Canada.
Kendall and Corey: Cool.
Melanie: There's two right now in New York state, so I did go see them for Thanksgiving because I'm in Ohio.
Kendall and Corey: Right.
Melanie: it was a nine hour drive to go out to Albany to see one of my sisters.
Kendall and Corey: Very cool. Awesome. Awesome. Wow. How much do you know about the donor?
Melanie: [00:07:00] So that is something that when I was told 20 some years ago, um, I have always wondered who this guy is. We found out that he had a musical background and I really didn't know much else. And then in December of last year, just over a year ago, I had two half sisters show up on 23andme. And one of them said, Hey, there's three more on Ancestry and I found our biological father. Do you want to know who he
Kendall and Corey: boy.
Melanie: within one night, there was five more, and I saw a picture of my biological father.
Kendall and Corey: Wow. Man. Wow. Is he a famous musician?
Melanie: it's one of those things where as a kid, I let my mind run and you just kind of like, [00:08:00] you think these things, like, I wonder who he is. And ended up he was a middle school librarian.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, okay. Hey. Awesome. Yeah.
Melanie: has not reached out to any of our attempts to contact him.
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Okay.
Melanie: Um, I have had to talk myself and one of my sisters out of just showing up at his doorstep.
Kendall and Corey: Don't talk to Kendall because he'll talk you into going. Yeah, I know. and I haven't done that with my birth mother either. But, you know, I, I have this recurring dream that it happens, uh. Yeah, but anyway, uh, it's, you know, it is what it is at this moment, but I hear you, it's, it's hard not to just do it.
Melanie: That's something that therapy, I started therapy again this summer, and it's been helpful just to teach myself to give him some compassion, give him some grace.[00:09:00]
Kendall and Corey: Mm hmm. Sure. Absolutely. It is curious though that he's on Ancestry because obviously he knows he, oh, he's not. Oh,
Melanie: my sister who contacted me, who was on Ancestry had used dNA angels.
Kendall and Corey: Mm hmm. Okay. All right.
Melanie: So she was able to narrow it down to a very high percentage that it is this person. And then I saw a high school picture of him, and it is my face.
Kendall and Corey: Wow. Wow. All right. Yeah. Right.
Melanie: So, I have very little doubt at this point.
Kendall and Corey: Absolutely. Right. Yes, it's been a while since we've talked to DNA Angel, but we're going to do some more of those interviews this season because, the stories are just unbelievable
Melanie: My sister who used them, she said they typically add a couple hundred people to the ancestry tree to build it out. And they added over 500 people and they tracked it down and turns out one of [00:10:00] our ancestors is related to one of the people who works with dNA Angels.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, that's really
Melanie: Like it's one of the employees there, one of the volunteers there, her husband is like our second cousin or something.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, wow. Bizarre. It is a small world after all, you know. No kidding. Hahaha. Um, can we talk a little bit about the nature side of things? You mentioned that you and your sister are both musically inclined. Can you talk a little about that?
Melanie: So I played the French horn for over 10 years.
Kendall and Corey: Wow. Awesome. Very cool.
Melanie: My sister and I both attended an arts middle school, high school. She was more like a choral theater, musical theater major. And I was a band person through and through.
Kendall and Corey: Awesome.
Melanie: I'm not sure if I think my sister and I would have ended up in music, even if my parents hadn't have [00:11:00] known that genetically we were inclined, but it is still fascinating because out of the 16 of us, majority of us have musical abilities.
Kendall and Corey: That's amazing. Yeah, that's awesome. Are any of your siblings sort of exploring that as like career options?
Melanie: One of my brothers was a professional opera singer for several years.
Kendall and Corey: Very cool. Wow. Man. Amazing.
Melanie: then I do have a half sister who is in a band and like a comedy sketch group.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, cool. Very cool.
Melanie: Super, super creative people.
Kendall and Corey: Awesome. Yeah. I mean, we love to use our platform to talk about the importance of the arts, especially, with children and people going through school, because even if you don't end up pursuing that career wise, it just prepares you for so much as a human and prepares you so much for finding success in whatever [00:12:00] you decide to do. And I'll step off my little soapbox now, but I'm always talking about the arts. I think it's so important and Kendall and I were both encouraged to be performers in whatever we wanted to do. And, obviously we don't do that professionally now, although I think it's certainly helped us with the podcast. Oh yeah, for sure. I feel sorry for people that have performance anxiety and things like that. You know, I can't relate. My adoptive parents said that they wish I had a shy bone in my body because I was the outgoing, annoying toddler.
Melanie: Did you pick up traits? Cause that's something that I, with my social dad, like I do think I got some of his sense of humor. Did you pick up similar traits from your like adoptive parents?
Kendall and Corey: For sure, for sure. I mean, I relate, I don't know my birth mother, but, I know my birth father and I like him very much and he's a great guy, but I just don't relate to him the same way that I, you [00:13:00] know, and I'm a sociologist at heart, so like I want there to be a lot of truth to the nurture side of the story, you know? So, and I feel like I am an example of that, but Yeah, for sure. Because we talk about my parents have been, my adoptive parents have been dead for years and years, but we talk about them probably daily. Like they're such an influence, still to this day, it's bizarre.
So I literally just got back last night from a trip to New York City with Kendall's half sister on his mom's side, and she's a NICU nurse, and we were traveling with three of her really dear friends who are also NICU nurses. And we'd kind of like chatted with one of them over the last year or so, via like Facebook and stuff, BJ, and guess what the B stands for, Kendall? Betty? Yes. Oh, and now, you know, my mother's name was Betty Jean, so I'm wondering now what J is in BJ. It might be, I don't think it's Jean. I think it's something, because [00:14:00] we were playing the guessing game. Oh. And, uh, I don't remember, but I definitely, yeah, so, yeah. Interesting. I know, it's just, it's a big, small world. yeah, yeah. What is the age range of your pod?
Melanie: So our pod the oldest is born in April of 91, and the youngest is May of 95.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, okay. All right. So, pretty close,
Kendall and Corey: We're not, but not. But Kendall and I could have been the donor, but we're not. not. We we're we're of the age we could have been
Melanie: Did you live in Los Angeles, did you go to USC? I may have said too well. So one of the things that I think is interesting with my story is we have two separate donor numbers.
Kendall and Corey: Hmm.
Melanie: In my pod,
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Hmm mm-Hmm.
Melanie: and I, I mean, I don't mind sharing my donor number. I won't share my half sister's number, but my parents went through the University of [00:15:00] Southern California for andrology lab. And so I have donor number 76,
Kendall and Corey: Hmm.
Melanie: which really is telling how new the industry is. It was like a page and a half of like 50 donor numbers.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, wow.
Melanie: And my parents had like their height, their eye color, basic information,
Kendall and Corey: Hmm.
Melanie: but my parents weren't given medical records as far as my mom knew, and so I have donor number 76, but one of my sisters has a different donor number from California Cryo Bank,
Kendall and Corey: Right. Hmm.
Melanie: and she is the same age as my full sister,
Kendall and Corey: Hmm. Wow.
Melanie: oldest was born in Detroit
Kendall and Corey: Hmm.
Melanie: far. And so right now we're kind of trying to track down how many banks were donated to if it's [00:16:00] just the two or if there was more.
Kendall and Corey: Right. And, back, well, it's still, you know, it isn't regulated well enough at all. And you wonder if maybe they were being sold after they were collected to other banks, you know, so it's interesting, which that's this whole other ethical issue. Well, right. I mean, the lack of regulation there, it's the wild, wild west.
Melanie: yeah. Well, and I think it's so crazy that donor number 76 and then even then my half sister, like her donor number is in the under thousands, it's three digits
Kendall and Corey: Wow.
Melanie: and they're up to 20, 000 now.
Kendall and Corey: Wow.
Melanie: I think that's been kind of the craziest thing for me to learn in the last year is that they're still getting away with the same kind of practices from 30 years ago when we were all born.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Right. Yeah, absolutely.
Melanie: So that has kind of what pushed me into the advocacy [00:17:00] route.
Kendall and Corey: Totally makes sense.
Well, let's talk a little bit about the advocacy. We found each other through a couple of our former guests, Laura High and Donor Dylan, and were all together at a first of its kind protest in New Orleans recently. Can you talk a little bit about that experience?
Melanie: So, when I found most of my siblings last year, I got into as much media as I could about donor conception. And I found Laura High TikTok, Instagram, and I started listening to her podcast Insemination earlier this year. And, she announced that there is going to be a protest in New Orleans, and it was going to be in like a month's time and at this point I live in Ohio, so, it was going to be a task to get to New Orleans, but I also knew that I would regret it if I didn't. Also, my husband's brother lives in New Orleans, so we just had to figure out a way to get to New Orleans, and we'd have a place to stay. It would be easier. And so I finally figured out a way to get [00:18:00] to New Orleans. We drove to Louisville, Kentucky, and then flew down from there. And it was a whole trip. It was really pretty fun. And I showed up not knowing anyone else. And I left with amazing lifelong connections.
Kendall and Corey: That's great.
Melanie: had found the Made to Wonder Race.
Kendall and Corey: Mm-Hmm.
Melanie: Through, is that the USDCC or is that Right to Know?
Kendall and Corey: I can't remember which.
Melanie: I think this was the second or third year that they're doing the Made to Wonder Race to End Anonymous donations. And so I had found that, we signed up for that, and I showed up with my husband in Jackson Square, and just kind of, uh, trauma bonded instantly with everyone.
Kendall and Corey: Hmm. That's great.
Melanie: So there was the Right to Know, we hung out, I got to meet Jacoba and Laura and Kelly Bests. I got to meet Cassandra Evans, both of the Mels from is the [00:19:00] one from USDCC and then the other is the donor conceived community.
Kendall and Corey: Mm-Hmm.
Melanie: There were, like, two Melanies and three Mels there, so it confusing.
Kendall and Corey: Here's your name tag, right? Yes.
Melanie: Yeah, did have name tags. And the protest was amazing, getting to hear Dylan tell his story over and over again to people who genuinely had no clue that this was going on. It was life changing in a way that I knew we were dealing with a problem, but I didn't quite realize that this is a human rights issue.
Kendall and Corey: Mm-Hmm. .Absolutely. Mm-Hmm. ? Yes.
Melanie: This is a massive problem of people being able to buy and sell children,
Kendall and Corey: Right?
Melanie: making billions of dollars off of it.
Kendall and Corey: Yes. Yes. And leaving a lot of people in the dark as far as their health [00:20:00] histories and, you know, yes, they're making a ton of money. Are they doing it the right way? Are people slipping through the cracks that are not being honest about their, Yes, absolutely. And that's, what's really disturbing, you know, is hearing the parents, who are just so frantic because they don't know what's wrong with their child physically and they don't have the full health history. So they can't go to the doctor and say, here's let's go back three generations they can't. And then it's trial and error and making people sicker. It's just, it's a crime, it's an absolute crime. Yeah. And you know, there's some relation to the adoption community there too, because my parents adoption for me was closed and they knew nothing. I mean, they knew my birth date. They knew the hospital where I was born and they knew my name and those were the three pieces of information they had and, and that you were born premature. So who knows why, right? Right. Yeah. I mean, they could tell by my birth weight that I was [00:21:00] premature, but they were at least told that, um, I joked with them as I got older and found out how sick I was as a baby. I said, you purposefully chose me? That was nice of you. Like I would have like, no, maybe not, like that kid's sick all the time. But, my mother said, you know, it was just. One of those things, like she said, I actually didn't feel like I had a choice, like you were my kid.
Melanie: I personally have had a lot of health issues and as of this point, I am not sure they are related to the donor. I have found some of them are from my mom's side,
Kendall and Corey: Hmm.
Melanie: but we do know the ADHD comes from the donor, so far about 70 percent of us turn out to be ADHD.
Kendall and Corey: Wow. Okay. Wow. Probably not something that he mentioned when he started donating.
Melanie: Or probably not something he knew.
Kendall and Corey: it's true. I mean, it was a completely different era than where, even if people recognized [00:22:00] it about themselves, that there was such a stigma associated with it, where you wouldn't even talk about it. So, Yeah. Do you think you had a late diagnosis based on that?
Kendall and Corey: Okay.
Melanie: Yes. Well, and part of it is my mother, is neurodivergent of her own. So I told my mom, I called my mom one day a couple of years ago and I said, I think I'm ADHD. And she said, no, everyone's like that.
Kendall and Corey: yeah, yeah,
Melanie: Like, well....
Kendall and Corey: yeah.
What do your parents think about you getting involved with your pod and now getting involved with advocacy?
Melanie: So I could have said earlier, I guess my social dad passed away in February of 2020.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, okay.
Melanie: So he, it was something we never really talked about. So my social dad, he had Klinefelter syndrome.
Kendall and Corey: Hmm mm-Hmm.
Melanie: So my dad was born XXY chromosome and knew that he was infertile. And my parents got [00:23:00] married knowing that they wouldn't have kids. They were married for 10 years and then I think decided to give it a try and out of three attempts, they ended up with the two of us.
Kendall and Corey: Hmm.
Melanie: So they were really lucky that my mom didn't herself experience fertility issues.
Kendall and Corey: right.
Melanie: Uh, this was the first donor that they chose. And my dad was our dad for all intents and purposes, but still wasn't super close with him. And I think he would have been very interested in it. And my mom thinks it's really fun. My mom thinks my nieces and nephews are also her grandkids.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, that's sweet.
Melanie: It's sweet, but it's also, I'm like, well,
Kendall and Corey: No, not really, not related. Right,
Melanie: not related, it's, a good sentiment.
Kendall and Corey: absolutely, for sure. Yeah, I mean, if it were the opposite... We can relate to that, tonight we're going to my biological father's ex [00:24:00] wife, the mother of two of my half siblings, my local half siblings, we go to her family's holiday party. So we're going, yeah, and it's fun. They're a huge family. And so my siblings, cousins are all there and they've been so welcoming to Corey and me and the aunties and uncles are great. It's a lot of fun and it makes me think these are people I could have grown up around, you know, and I just found, found them six years ago. And, I don't have a lot of that, aside from Corey's, fabulous family.
Melanie: That has, for me, been the best part of this entire experience is gaining family that I'm so connected to, even though we are still kind of strangers in a way. It's family that I don't know their childhood stories, and I don't know even their favorite colors.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Right.
Melanie: I still feel so connected to them [00:25:00] and I love them so deeply. Already. And I mean, just in the last year between my husband and then now my nieces and nephews, I have six nieces and nephews to buy presents for. And this is literally the first year
Kendall and Corey: Right.
Melanie: I'm buying presents for nieces my family has expanded
Kendall and Corey: kidding. Yeah. Yeah. That's beautiful. Yeah. Wow. How many of your half siblings are getting into the advocacy side of things, and is your sister that you grew up
Melanie: So out of the 16 of us, there's 12 of us in a group chat.
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Oh, cool.
Melanie: There's still four that haven't really wanted to get in contact.
Kendall and Corey: Mm hmm.
Melanie: Um, and out of the 12, I would say there's like eight of us that are fairly active in the chat.
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Wow.
Melanie: [00:26:00] Um, I somehow have kind of become the matriarch of the pod.
Kendall and Corey: Mm hmm.
Melanie: Didn't mean for that to happen, but I will accept the role happily.
Kendall and Corey: Yep. What does that entail? What are your duties as the matriarch of the pod?
Melanie: I made the spreadsheet.
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Yeah.
Melanie: I guess somehow I'm in charge of planning the vacation next year.
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Got it.
Melanie: Not fully in charge, but I'm kind of the person that everyone reaches out to when they have questions on anyone else or I seem to be the central, the most, um,
Kendall and Corey: Yeah. Yeah. Accessible. Yeah.
Melanie: Yeah, I'm also self employed and don't have kids. So I have a lot more free time
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Well, there you, yeah, there you go. I get it. I have six half siblings and I'm the only one without children. So I get it. We don't have that demand on our lives, you know. [00:27:00] That's so cool though. Where are you talking about vacationing next year with the pod?
Melanie: So we were talking about going back to, well, we were going to California. We were talking about maybe San Diego.
Kendall and Corey: Oh, so beautiful. Yeah.
Melanie: So somewhere West Coast, especially since there's so many of us that aren't near the West Coast,
Kendall and Corey: right?
Melanie: It seems easier there because half of us are already over there.
Kendall and Corey: Yeah, sure. Right.
Melanie: So it is a lot harder for the couple of us, especially the two in New York state that have kids to get out to California.
Kendall and Corey: right. Yeah. Yeah.
Melanie: warm, we've been kind of looking at Airbnb's, hotels, trying to figure out what the best option is.
Kendall and Corey: Yeah. Right. Right. Well, 12, if you could go en masse to knock on your biological father's door. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Guess
Melanie: So lives in Las Vegas
Kendall and Corey: Oh, okay. Close
Melanie: and it is pretty cheap to fly to Las [00:28:00] Vegas.
Kendall and Corey: It sure is. Yeah. True.
Melanie: From almost anywhere.
Kendall and Corey: True. Yeah, I know. Yeah. It would, yes, it would be very tempting. There's more to this story. Right? Of course. Of course. Yeah.
Melanie: I am still holding out hope. So the thing about my biological father is he has said nothing. He hasn't said don't reach back out.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Okay. Well, there you go. That's a step. The door's got a crack. Yeah. You know.
Melanie: door hasn't been shut. hasn't been opened, but it hasn't been
Kendall and Corey: Right. Right. Yes. No. Maybe it's, maybe it's just unlocked. Not open, it's closed, but it's unlocked.
Melanie: The newest sister to join our pod, she's the oldest and she is so far the bravest of us and sent him an actual text message. And I thought that was, I was screaming,
Kendall and Corey: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. But nothing back.
Melanie: Nothing back. There is a half sister who I know lives about 50 minutes away [00:29:00] from me. And I've done almost everything except show up on her doorstep.
Kendall and Corey: Ah. Okay. Yeah.
Melanie: And it's, how do you manage that type of feeling where it's I want a relationship with them, but they don't. That seems be something I'm struggling with.
Kendall and Corey: Yep. For sure. Yeah. I mean, you're definitely not alone in that. I feel the same way about my mother's other son. I have a half brother on my mother's side and he. Um, he will sometimes respond to me, uh, via text, uh, that sort of thing, but it's short. You know what I mean? Like it's, there's no connection whatsoever. And that just feels weird to me. I only have six, I mean, that I know of, and it just feels weird to have never connected with one of the six, you know, I don't know, and it feels kind of unfair, and I don't know how to say that, it just, I mean, who am I, right, to expect it, but it's [00:30:00] like, I'm your older brother, like, the least we could do is have a conversation. You know what I mean? Like, yeah, and I think, and I sometimes I have to remind Kendall that like, we all don't think the same. We have to kind of take a step back and think like, okay, not everybody came up in the arts and are like, open to like, putting themselves out there in front of people. I mean, it would drive me absolutely bonkers to find out I've, had half siblings and they wanted zero contact, that would just drive me crazy. Like, why don't they want to know me? And who knows, that could happen because we just did, I've done Ancestry before and no surprises there, but we just did 23andMe, so we'll see what happens in a couple of weeks. never
Melanie: There's a lot more of us on 23andMe than Ancestry, I will say.
Kendall and Corey: Okay, that's good. Yeah, it's good to
Melanie: There's, I think, four of us on Ancestry and nine of us on 23andMe.
Kendall and Corey: Wow. Okay. All right. Cause we always joke about my biological father that we might not be the only ones out there. He was so, um, active. Yes. I think is the polite way [00:31:00] to say. Yes. Yeah. And my father had a wandering eye. Let's just put it that way.
Melanie: hmm. That's something that I always tell people, I do highly recommend taking one of these tests, but be a little careful.
Kendall and Corey: Just, you got to understand that you might be getting some
Melanie: you do have to be prepared.
Kendall and Corey: it's not just finding out what percentage of Irish you are. It's right. You might have 16 siblings out there,
Melanie: I took it with the express purpose of finding siblings.
Kendall and Corey: right? Yes. Yeah.
Melanie: that so many of my siblings are finding out through taking the tests so I did mess up contact with one of them. I do have a half sister that shares my name. Her name is Melanie spelled the same way. Um, and what are the odds of that?
Kendall and Corey: Yeah. Wow.
Melanie: Um, she was unaware, and I may have said [00:32:00] things the wrong way when I initiated contact, just because I was unaware that she wouldn't have known.
Kendall and Corey: right. Yeah, right,
Melanie: I, having been told at such a young age, didn't even consider that my siblings parents wouldn't have told them.
Kendall and Corey: right. Mm hmm. Yeah, but there's no manual for this. You are writing the manual right now, you're helping create the manual. And so yeah, people are gonna make little oopsies You know Kendall sure did. For sure His three half siblings on his mom's side had no clue. They did not know I existed. He dropped that bomb I mean, you know, I At that point, I was 47 years old when I found them. And Corey's like, wait, they may not know that you exist. And I was like, well, they're going to find out today. You know what I mean? I'm like, no, what if something happened to me tomorrow? They need to know that I am out there and I want to know [00:33:00] them. One of them is the sister that he literally just got back from the trip. And it's so funny because Kendall's baby sister was like, well, we're not going to tell Stephanie yet because she's on vacation. Just so happen to be on vacation in Boston, you know, which we live in New Hampshire. So like we were right there, but, uh, Kendall's youngest was like, she's a little bit, she might not, you know, she might take this the wrong way or she, she's very sensitive. It's like, oh my gosh, she embraced it. Yeah. She is. She's great.
Melanie: Every time I meet a new sibling, I want to say it gets easier each time, but it doesn't because it's so unique, but it's also so familiar.
Kendall and Corey: Mm. But yeah, you've got the biology there
Melanie: The genetic mirroring.
Kendall and Corey: right? Yeah. Yep. It is bizarre. There's a photo, I think, on our website of me with my uncle, Sean, my [00:34:00] biological father's brother. Wow. I mean, there's no denying that I look more like Uncle Sean than I look like my dad, but it is bizarre.
Melanie: Do you guys do comparisons like that?
Kendall and Corey: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It's so. And in fact, it's funny. I feel like I look more like uncle Sean than uncle Sean's three kids, my cousins, look him, they look more like their mom. And growing up as an adoptee with no biological connection to either side of the family, you're like, who do I look like? I don't really look like any of these people, but you could line Kendall up in the middle and have his six siblings on either side of them and see the similarities going down the line on each direction. Yeah. Yeah.
Melanie: That has been something that has been so much fun because having a full sister
Kendall and Corey: Mm-Hmm.
Melanie: and having that genetic sample size of two and then increasing it to 16
Kendall and Corey: Yep.
Melanie: and [00:35:00] being able to really figure out how genetics can take part because my full sister, I found a picture of my mom's oldest sister from high school. And I thought it was my sister.
Kendall and Corey: wow.
Melanie: My sister takes after my mom's family a lot more than I do.
Kendall and Corey: Okay. Yeah.
Melanie: And I do think that's one of the reasons that she never felt the need to seek other family,
Kendall and Corey: Mm-Hmm? . Mm-Hmm. , right?
Melanie: she had genetic mirroring,
Kendall and Corey: Yeah. Right. Yeah.
Melanie: I didn't see myself in that family. And so it is really crazy because there's maybe half of us out of the 16 that half of us look like me and then the other half looked more like my sister and it is kind of interesting, but we do all have the cheekbones.
Kendall and Corey: Mm-Hmm? . Wow. Okay. Mm-Hmm. . Nice. Nice. Wow. Very, very cool. Wow. Well, your story is just, this is the beginning of your story, really. And thank you [00:36:00] for being open to talking about the first couple of chapters, but we really hope that you stay in touch because we would love to continue sharing your journey as it expands.
Melanie: So we have talked about as a sibling pod working on our own podcast.
Kendall and Corey: Cool. Awesome.
Melanie: We have a running title of From Strangers to Siblings. And it's kind of just us getting to know each other as I think siblings should, like, I wanna know their favorite color and some of their childhood dramas.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Yeah, that's awesome. I think we need more of that in the community and everybody's been so open, we've never felt like, oh, we're accidentally stepping on somebody's toes or something like that. It's like, no, we need to get these stories out there. There's so many people that just don't have any idea. Like you mentioned, the donor conceived community being so close, so many similarities to the adoption community, not something that we really thought about because we weren't part of that until our eyes started to get opened [00:37:00] to how similar all these different communities are and how really it's just one big community. Yeah,
Melanie: Also at the protest in New Orleans, I mean, there is less than 20 of us. It was a pretty small gathering, but it was powerful in its own right, meeting so many people with such unique shared experiences. And then meeting I mean, there's so many more of us out there that have no clue, no concept. And then the more people I talk to about this, just clients of mine, friends. Anyone I meet, I'll tell my story to whoever, and no one is even aware of this side of the community.
Kendall and Corey: Right. Yeah. Right. You're Right. Because the positives are what I've always heard about, right? and there are so many wonderful positives about people who donate and give other people families but, it's eye opening when [00:38:00] you start hearing about these people that have been lied to for all their lives and even the donors are lied to, so it's just, yeah, we believe strongly in the positivity of the concept, we feel even stronger that it should be done in the right way and it's not right now. Yeah.
Melanie: that is exactly how I feel. I think the science of donor conception is absolutely amazing. but the way they're doing it right now is kind of a scam.
Kendall and Corey: Right? You're Exactly. Exactly. Very true. Well, I don't know if Laura has begun planning her next protest or whether or not it's going to be in New Orleans, but, if we can make absolutely be there.
Melanie: the word I've heard is it's in Denver in October next year,
Kendall and Corey: Oh. Okay.
Melanie: but it's still
Kendall and Corey: Sure. Sure. Interesting. Cool. Very cool. We'll actually be in Denver[00:39:00] in the spring for the Right to Know conference. Yeah. Cool. Cool. Yeah. They asked us to come and speak, uh,
Kendall and Corey: yeah, so I'm, I'm really looking forward to it. So yes, what a great group and doing important work. Yeah. So yeah, if we can still spread that news, we definitely
Kendall and Corey: Absolutely.
Melanie: finished that podcast this
morning, that episode.
Kendall and Corey: Yep. Yep.
Melanie: So that was definitely fascinating. I'm going to look into that agency a lot more.
Kendall and Corey: is amazing. They're doing some really, really cool stuff. Yeah. Yeah. We're trying to spread awareness about them for sure. Yeah. Cool. Excellent. Well, Melanie, thank you so much for being with us.
Melanie: Thank you guys.