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Wendy Kramer and the Donor Sibling Registry Part 2

Updated On: January 2, 2024

Welcome back to our conversation with Wendy Kramer. In this episode, Wendy delves deeper into the intricacies of donor conception, sharing the empowering journey she and her son, Ryan, embarked on and the broader implications for donor-conceived individuals and their families.

Wendy Kramer and the Donor Sibling Registry Part 2

Summary of Episode Highlights:

  • A Team Approach to Donor Conception: Wendy emphasizes how she and her son tackled the challenges and questions of donor conception together.
  • The Evolving Age Range of Half Siblings: Fascinating insights into the age diversity within the community of donor siblings and its implications.
  • The Shock of Discovery through DNA Testing: Wendy discusses recent cases where individuals discover their donor-conceived status unexpectedly through DNA testing.
  • Counseling and Support for Donor-Conceived Families: Wendy talks about her role in counseling families who are navigating the complexities of donor conception.
  • The Impact of Secrecy in Family Life: An exploration of the emotional turmoil caused by the lack of transparency in donor-conceived families.
  • Understanding and Respecting Children’s Curiosity: Wendy highlights the importance of acknowledging and respecting a child’s curiosity about their biological origins.

This episode with Wendy Kramer deepens our understanding of the emotional and social dynamics in the world of donor conception. Her insights remind us of the power of honesty, respect, and empathy in family relationships. If you’ve been moved by this conversation, please rate, follow, and review Family Twist to help us share more stories like Wendy’s.

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Transcript

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I think our close relationship in part is because his whole donor journey we did as a team. It wasn't like I'm telling him what to think about it when he was angry, like when he was six, he was saying, I want to know who my biological father is like the sperm bank knows it. What if my donor wants to know me and I want to know him. The sperm bank won't let us know each other. And I empowered him by having him write a letter to the sperm bank. I knew it wouldn't do anything, but I wanted him to have a sense of empowerment, like you are not a victim in this. So he wrote a letter. I want you to give me this information. And, you know, it was pretty stern letter and I had him like address the envelope and we mailed it together, all like this empowering thing. Of course, they never acknowledged it or whatever, but I didn't want him to feel like a [00:35:00] victim in I wanted him to have some power in the situation. We had no idea that ultimately he would definitely have some power in the situation beyond the sperm bank, thank goodness, but I always acknowledged and honored his frustration, his curiosity, anything he wanted to do, we talked it over and we did it as a team. You know, I've always felt that respect goes both ways. Like he needs to respect me, but I also need to respect him. And I think a lot of parents don't get that second part, it's all about children should respect their parents, but it goes both ways and, and it pays off tremendously.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Absolutely. That's a great message. Yeah. I have a question, do you know the age range of Ryan's half siblings?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah, so for many years he was the oldest, but now there's one girl who's a year older. So, from 1989, I'm looking at my list, so all of us, [00:36:00] we usually have this next to our desk, which is our list of half siblings. Um, everybody gets their spreadsheet moment, usually it's around 6 or 7 when you can't keep it in your mind anymore. Um, and I think the youngest is 96. So from 89 to 96, so 34 to 27.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Very cool.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: No, it's crazy. And here's the funny thing with Ryan. Well, last month he got two more boys so now it's five boys and 24 girls.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Wow. Interesting. Wow. Hmm. That's amazing.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Which is not like the population. Population is pretty much 50. So, this one, well up until like, last month there were, it was like there were only three boys and all the rest were girls. Now, at least we get two more in, so.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Right. Wow.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: It's crazy. [00:37:00] It is crazy. So here's the difference too, so now for the last five years or so, all of the new siblings had no idea they were donor conceived.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Oh.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: So they're all swabbing their cheeks and just wanting to learn about ancestry. And it's like, you have a half sister, you have a half brother, you have a half sister, you have a half sister, you have a half sister. And they're all shocked and upset. and family turmoil, all this unnecessary family turmoil because the parents were never honest because of their own fears, and worries and insecurities. So lucky for our families, this is what I do for like, they join like the royal family of donor kids, right? So this is what I do. I do counseling videos all day long with people who just found out, parents who are going to tell, you know, all the different things that donor families go through. So my son's half siblings, [00:38:00] they're lucky because they get into a half sibling group where people, they create a soft landing pad. Many of them know what it's like to just find out. Everybody's handled with care and understanding and empathy, and we just make it as easy as possible and try to present it as positive as possible. Like, yes, it's shocking. Yep. You got some anger towards your parents. You got some conversations and healing forgiveness to do. But in the meantime, you've joined this group of really awesome. you know, 20, 30 year old. So, it's a positive thing too. Even when like life altering and identity shaking and all the rest of it, don't forget, it's more love in your life. You know?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: For sure. Absolutely. And you know, uh, I can't put myself in a parent's position, but I can't imagine keeping a secret like that and and, and especially today, knowing that [00:39:00] ancestry and 23andMe are like, everybody knows what that is that you say Ancestry and they automatically know, oh yeah, the DNA test. So it's like, okay, gotta be in the back of your mind that this could be coming out, you know, so so why Not just be honest?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Fear, fear is very powerful. So usually it's the non bio parent, and this is in LGBT families too, the non bio parent is more hesitant with any kind of donor connections. It's a fear of these people have a connection to my child that I don't have. And it's people who are maybe more insecure just by nature, they feel threatened by it, or they're afraid. For the heterosexual people with egg and sperm donors, my kid won't love me as much if they know I'm not the real or biological parent. So it's fear and it's powerful. And a lot of times when a sperm donor is used and the parents don't tell, the mom is protecting the [00:40:00] dad. In egg donor families, the dad is protecting the mom. So it's an unhealthy cluster of reasons, but they're very powerful in keeping the truth from a child. And in my personal opinion, and I don't say this to people when I'm doing counseling, I think it's really selfish, right? Because it's putting your own needs and your own fears in front of what's best for your child.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Absolutely.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: So that's my personal

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, you know and we experience both sides of that because Kendall was adopted as an infant and he's always known he was adopted and the love for his parents is, I mean, we talk about them every day, you know, and they've been gone for a long time. I've never got to meet them, unfortunately, but you know, it's, but they're part of our life every day. And then on the flip side, when we found his birth family, well, his mother still has not acknowledged, you know, six years in, you [00:41:00] know, she's never, yeah.

I mean,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, here's the thing too. A lot of time, it has nothing to do with you. And I'm sure you know this when donors say no or there's no response. It's something with them. They don't have the emotional bandwidth. They're not at a good place in life. They're embarrassed about where they're at in life. They have mental struggles. They have physical struggles. So it's not you per se. It's what she's got going on.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I, I. It doesn't make it less painful though. No, no, it's true. It's I, I try to be adult about it, but I have my moments. Corey will tell you for sure. Yeah. I mean, when I, when I struggle and, you know, I have deep love for my sisters, my mother's two daughters and my half brother on that side, but it's difficult for me to relate to them at some level because [00:42:00] of this disconnect between, you know, I don't have a relationship with our mother and, um, I joked with my sisters a long time. ago and said, if one more person tells me how wonderful she is, I'm going to throw up like, I don't need to hear that anymore. you know what I mean? It's like, to me, she has a lot to prove, you know, and, um, and I'm, she probably is a good person, but just, it's an awkward, unfair, position.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: She just can't. Do you know why

she can't? Do you know

why?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: We've never been given a full answer. You know, we think it might have something to do with the gay thing, you know, or, it's so buried that like, you know, even though it got dug up a little bit, it's like she's reburied it, you know,

yeah,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: She can't, it's too painful for her to acknowledge, because then she'd have to go through a bunch of emotions. That's what I'm saying. Like, some people don't have the emotional bandwidth to [00:43:00] take those steps forward because it's like, you know, you've been going through it emotionally. It takes a lot and you just have to have self awareness to kind of make that journey. You have to have good support to take that journey. And maybe she, she's just not able, she

can't do

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: yeah, I know. And I, I find myself not showing her as much grace as I should, um, for, for my definition of what that is. And, um, I, you know, I've been wrestling with that. And, uh, because part of me is, you know, angry, of course, that she's had six years to reach out and hasn't, but then the other side of that equation is exactly what you just said, where, you know, who am I to judge how she must feel?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: The thing is, both things can happen at the same time. It's not one or the other, right? [00:44:00] So you have your anger. It's appropriate, it's not like it's inappropriate anger. No, it's totally appropriate, and, at the same time, you don't have to wait for the anger to be gone. At the same time, you can keep exploring the empathetic part of like, given what she has, she's doing the best that she can do. And right now she can't do it. She doesn't have the ability to take those next steps. And it's okay to acknowledge both of those. And I'm really pissed off, you know, like. It's not fair and it isn't fair, right? So it's all appropriate, but it can all happen at the same time so that maybe you can feel that there's some kind of a movement in process too. You don't want to get stuck in the anger,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Right. Right. You know, we do believe, you know, from what we've heard from Kendall's father and others that they both really wanted to keep the baby, and they just weren't given that choice. They were so, young, they were not given that [00:45:00] opportunity. And so I'm sure that's part of it. It's like I've got to turn this off because I can't cry every day because my baby was taken away. Hmm. Yeah, they really were not empowered to do that, which, you know, I'm not, I don't, I have differing feelings sometimes about my grandparents, but I know that if my 15 year old were pregnant, I'm not, saying I wouldn't have thought the same thing, you know, like, wow, okay,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, back

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: right,

Especially back then it was, there was such a different stigma attached to her as a pregnant teen. So

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: right. Yeah. Then you'd have to acknowledge she had sex, which nobody did back

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Exactly. Yeah, Exactly.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Like now we know, you know, yes, teenagers have sex, like, you know.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Right. Surprise.

Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. Oh, boy. So, but you at least [00:46:00] you have been able to make contact with her daughters then, right?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Absolutely. And my mother's sister has been wonderful. She's great to Corey and me, you know, she texts us, she calls us, she sends us cards. She's just, you know, she's not a replacement for my mother, but she definitely, um, fills the bill for a nice auntie. Well, and it's funny when you mentioned Ryan sending the email to Lance, it immediately reminded me of Kendall couldn't once he, he and his, uh, his brother found out like discovered together, you know, who his birth mother was and, and he just, I'm like, well, let's pause. Let's pause for a minute. Yes, they're on Facebook. Yes, you could message them, but let's, let's just, let's take a pause. No, no, he messaged everybody he could immediately. I couldn't do, I couldn't do it. I was 47 at the time and I said, I have waited 47 years to find these people. What if [00:47:00] something bad's about to happen? I have to reach out to them this instant. So I completely can relate to Ryan's sentiment. Yeah. And he did, he laid a shocker out there because his sister got the message and was confused by it because she had no idea that Kendall existed. And she showed the message to Kendall's mother and she went bone white and almost fainted. Yeah. And it's like, okay, I guess this is true then because,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: And this is true in the donor world too, when it's a secret that the parents have carried for decades, they don't realize the burden of the secret, but they carry that secret every day. And it's a huge burden, but it's all they know is carrying secret. And so, therefore, they don't know how to let it go. What would life look like without that burden of secret, right?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: and I think one thing that's really unfair is that you're burdening whoever else knows the secret, even if they're [00:48:00] not the parent, you're burdening them as well. So the only people that knew, as far as we know, were her husband and her sister. And it's like, you know, this this sweet woman who, can't. No, I can't talk about it. Can't say anything about it, but knows it knows like I've got a I've got a nephew out there somewhere, you know that I probably will never get to meet. Well, and my mother is still dealing with that because her husband's family is huge and they don't know about me. So, it's bizarre. It's like, I'm 53 years old. How long do you need to keep this secret?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, is this shame? Is this a shame based secret still?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I think

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: She's ashamed that she gave a child up for adoption

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Or was, you know, promiscuous at such a young age, you know, it's like, you know, quickly do the math.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: ago. Yeah, Yeah, yeah, no, I think. The shame at this point is maybe twofold that she gave [00:49:00] a child up for adoption and that she's refusing contact.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I'm sure there's got be some guilt there. There's got to be guilt there. I'm sure, Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Are they a religious

family?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: They claim to be and they live in Southern Louisiana, you know, I hate to stereotype because there are lots of progressive people down there, I'm sure, but it doesn't sound like my family is part of that progressive movement.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, there you go. I mean, that explains a lot too. So in that cultural realm, it's harder for us to understand because we're not in that, but if we were in that cultural realm, we might feel strongly about keeping the secret too, because we're going to be judged by our peers, So it makes more sense.

Yeah.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. Yeah. But you know, Kendall. It's from Arkansas and he's, he's coming from the flip side of that where his parents were, you know, very religious, but also progressive and they were very open [00:50:00] about everything from the get go. And so coming from the South, like he's experienced what it should be, as opposed what is what it is. Right? Right. Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Right. Right. So you're constantly having to

reconcile. Yeah. got. Really good things that you're happy that they happen this way. Then you have the really frustrating thing with the woman who really needs to get in to see a therapist to work through this, you know,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. Yes.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: you know like I always tell people and no doesn't mean a no forever So I know, it's still no and it's been six years, but you never shut the door totally like sometimes people just come around in their own time, you know, and so your door isn't slammed closed forever. There's always hope there, Right? That she will an epiphany. Something will happen where she knows it's the right thing to do.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. I remind him of that at least [00:51:00] once a week. Yeah. Yeah. I totally get the frustration and the anger, but just knowing Kendall, if, you know, all of a sudden she called two minutes from now, he would be happy to take that call. Of course.

I just, yeah,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: just, want to know

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah.

But I, I think at that point you'd probably let go of the anger just like that. Right. I think be like all gone because now we have what I want to have. Yeah. So yeah. Oh boy. I get it. I really get it. I mean, I talked to a lot of donor conceived people and parents who reach out to the donors and the donor spouse isn't on board, like the spouse is saying, Hey, don't you don't even have time for our kids. How are you going to make time for all these other kids? Or I've had one spouse say, if you connect with your donor kids, I will commit suicide. I mean, sometimes it's like that strong of the spouse and the guy says no. There's [00:52:00] the shame of being a donor. I sold my sperm and I'm ashamed of that and I'm embarrassed if the world knew about that. So it's very parallel here in that embarrassment and shame and what other people will think or demands that they make on you are all pushing you into keeping a secret, right? And what that secret does is hurt another human being because you can't be there in the way that you should be for another human that you helped to create.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Mmmhmm. Absolutely, absolutely. I'm sure there are a lot of spouses out there that don't have any idea that their husband donated because it's like, oh, I did that in college and I'm to. And you know again, so that, and that's not right either, you know, to keep that secret.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Oh, well, secrecy implies shame, right? So they're saying that there's something to be ashamed of. Well, yeah, you sold your sperm, but you helped you know, like, I wouldn't have my son if somebody hadn't [00:53:00] sold their sperm, you know, but I think some guys are ashamed that they did that, that they actually, created many human beings in the world that they have no responsibility for and that doesn't feel right to them.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: And so they're ashamed or embarrassed about it, and therefore they keep it a secret. Or infertility, you know, especially in sperm donor families the males infertility still there's shame around not fully a man if I'm infertile, and that's another reason for, better keep everything hush hush, you know, or everybody would know I was infertile or I am infertile and that's really embarrassing.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. Which is so strange because it's a biological thing that most people would have no control over, you know?

Uh, yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: No, you're not embarrassed if you have diabetes

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: exactly

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Why would you be embarrassed if your body is in another way not functioning the way it could you I don't know It's crazy. It is it's like a [00:54:00] mental Sterility, virility thing,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: For sure. So, Wendy, I think you would know this probably better than anybody we've ever talked to, but something that we've talked aboutbetween me and Kendall and, a couple of our guests, just because we interviewed a brother and sister who knew each other as teenagers working together, but didn't know that they were half siblings, and I think that even contemplated dating, and a lot of people are coming from the same region. So have you encountered donor conceived people who, yeah,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Many. yeah, so the sperm banks said for a long time, well, statistically speaking, this is impossible. You know, a donor child will never meet their half siblings. Oh, my God. We hear about random meetings all the time and we have for years, you know, on a playground, at camp, one donor's daughter was the counselor to her half brother, two half brothers were on the same little league team, one girl in college was in the same class as her half [00:55:00] brother. It's just like, story after story, so it's not improbable, it's very probable. And it happens all the time.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. Yeah. We've got to assume that there are half siblings that are married and don't know it. Don't know that they're half siblings.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah, we know that for sure.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Hmm.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: and that's, know, again, parents, it's all up to parents. Like, just be honest right from the beginning. So, you know, my son and I used to joke, when he was a teenager, if you ever become serious with someone, like you got to check for her donor number, ask her if she's donor conceived, and let's say she's one of the 90 percent whose parents are lying to her. Like, I'm going to have to go to the parents and say, look, I need to know, is she donor conceived? And if so, sperm bank donor number,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Right. Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: we, you know, it was like kind of funny for us, but I think it's not funny if it happens,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: That's right. Absolutely. That's right. Absolutely. [00:56:00] Wow. Well, this has been, fantastic.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Oh, I love you guys.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Thank you. and again, just, I mean, you're a cool mom, so I hope you know that. And I, and I hope Ryan tells you that on the regular.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I will remind him to do today.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: And I'm going to think about all the similarities that came up between your story and my story, a lot because, you know, I was so fortunate to have very, very forthcoming adoptive parents who never made me feel stigmatized at all. My hometown, I have to give it credit again, not very progressive, but very open to the fact that I was an adopted kid who talked about it a lot, like kind of like how Ryan walked up to adults. I wasn't quite at that level of, talking about it, but I remember many times when I would meet my parent's friends who hadn't seen them for, you know, a few [00:57:00] years and it would always make us chuckle my mom, dad, and me when people would say, oh, this is your son, I can see, Kendall, you look so much like, and I'm like, me at five years old, I was like, that's cute. That's sweet. That's not real. I don't really look like these people, I love them, they're handsome and beautiful, but I'm not their kid. You know what I mean? Like I was just very forthcoming and very like, it's okay. I got this, you know?

And, um,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I respected my parents so much for just being truthful. I really did. Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: And normalizing it for you that it wasn't good or bad. It just was that was, it was a part of your identity, this is who you are. And then when, at what age did you become curious or did you as a child become curious about your biological parents?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I always was. I remember my mother told me that I was like four and I would come in and say, you know, maybe we'd had one of those, um, interactions with people. And I'd [00:58:00] say things like, well, I don't really look like the Montgomery side of the family or the Austin side of the family. I wonder who I do look like. And my mother, of course, was very nurtured or they both were, but she would hug me and say, Oh, honey, that doesn't matter. But she understood what I was asking. You know, she understood that at some point that was going to become even more important to me. And it did, you know, especially because I lost them both so young, my mother died when I was 10 and my dad, when I was 16. So for me, I was already ready, you know, but as. soon as they both had passed, I definitely like was ready to just jump headlong into any avenue I could use to find my biological family. Of course, you know, it was a private adoption, there really wasn't much, I had many doors slammed. I wrote letters like Ryan, I just happened to be 18 when I did it. But, it was disheartening and you just start to really, I kind of got to a point of [00:59:00] acceptance in my twenties, where I was like, I'm never going to find anybody, you know, this is long before the DNA option was there. And I just thought, well, that's okay. I've always been an only child and I still am. And that's okay. And I felt fortunate to have all the cousins and aunts and uncles that I had. So, you know, you kind of just stifle that interest at some point, sadly, until, you know, all this DNA stuff became a possibility. Yeah. I'm a journalist that I could not have the story not be complete. So I pushed and pushed and, pushed and, and that's, it happened.

Yeah. And then

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: here you are, so you're still in the middle of your story.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I think so. Oh, for sure. For sure. Yeah,

It's, you know,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah, mean, I think we're all in the middle

of our stories, right?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah.

Absolutely.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: You know with my son, he's at least you're not gonna get half siblings

every month. So

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. [01:00:00] Yeah. Although we do joke about my father. Yeah. I mean, Kendall's father was, uh, prolific. Yes. Prolific. Yes. The nice term that we're going to use. Yes.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Ah, so you could get some more

half You

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: He had some good swimmers, let's just put it that way. Yeah. Yeah. I remember when I met him and I shook his hand and I was like, have a seat, we should talk about what you should have known when you were 15, you know, I was like, there are ways around, procreating constantly. And, uh, it was just a good joke. And I think I embarrassed him slightly. He didn't know me well enough to know I was just being a big goofball about it. Yeah. well I mean, When

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: That's funny

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: you when you impregnate three different women within three years? Girls. Girls. I'm girls. Three. Three different girls within three years. Then, you know, come on at some like when is the light bulb gonna ?Click on .No, we, we, we three boys from three different girls are 19 months is all that separates me from [01:01:00] the younger,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: oh my Holy

oh

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I know. know.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: well,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: love him.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: that's a story.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yes. Yes. And now, you know, I were doing this podcast.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Have you written a book?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Originally this was going to be a book. And then, um, you know, we, We encountered a couple of situations where I was like, well, maybe, maybe not. Right. What about a podcast now we're back to, yes, we're, we're, the book is coming for sure. Cause it's, it's a wild story. and as you

said, we're still in the

middle of

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah, exactly, you've got the breadth and the depth, right. So, lots of different things, lots of relationships, and

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Oh yeah. And we've learned so much and met so many wonderful people through this podcast. And like, it's a free therapy session for us, you know, every time we interview somebody, which is, which is great, but it's just, I mean, you know, Kendall is part of this greater community and it's not [01:02:00] just adoptees and donor, it's, it's everybody there. They're really part of that community. And if we can shine a little light and help somebody or maybe convince a parent to share that secret finally, then our job is complete.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Absolutely. Well, and it's also just, the more you talk about it, then these kind of things are in the zeitgeist, right? not like, weird, or unusual, or hard to talk about, it's just your family. It's just the way your family was created, which is a little bit different than the majority of other people, you know, same with us. And same with donor families. It's just a family. Like we're all trying to figure it out. What are we to, each other? And do we want to see each other all the time? And, you know, it's like that with any family, right? The people that you bond with are the people that you have more in common with, or similar interests or whatever, just because you're genetically related doesn't mean you're going to bond. So we're all like figuring out what is, [01:03:00] family to us, right? Sometimes family is people who are not biologically related to, and sometimes it is, you know, especially in the LGBT community, I hear DNA doesn't make a family. Well, sure it does. Of course it does. Like, don't be afraid to say that it does. It's not the only way to make family, but don't dismiss or negate that that is valid for donor conceived people. It matters. So don't be afraid of it. It's okay. It doesn't mean the non bio mom or dad isn't the mom or dad. All these ideas can coexist at once, right? there are many ways

to make a family

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: and

you know, who doesn't want bigger family, right? You know, I mean,

we moved to San Francisco and, we created a chosen family out there because we didn't have any, we, I actually did have a cousin out there, but otherwise, we created a family out there and, you know, so we've got both sides of it. You know, I've got my bio family. Now we're living in New England and [01:04:00] we've got Kendall's bio family. And it's, you know, there's, there's nothing wrong with having a huge family.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: That's the whole thing. It's not like there's only a certain amount of love that I have and, then that's going to get used up. It's like, no, if you have three family members, there's enough love, and if you have 50 or 100 family members, it's still enough love to go around and you know, it's just, yeah, it's not a finite thing. just, you know, expanding family is, makes life interesting.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: So, Wendy, can you tell my mom that It's okay that we have five dogs because we have enough love for all of them because she thinks we're crazy.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I have three, I get it's just me, one person and three, you guys are two guys and five. I

I totally

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: cats. And two

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: It's, the only time it's hard is when I have three dogs

and two hands. So you have to, if you're getting them all at once, you got to keep moving everybody gets a pet. the only

challenging thing.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, this has been delightful. Thank you so [01:05:00] much for what you do and for sharing your story. And if Ryan's open to it, we'd love to have him on at some point, you know, that would be great.

Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Oh, yeah, he would

do it.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Very cool. Cause he has such an interesting take, being the first who found. Yeah. I mean, just the way you've described him I really want to pick his brain. The journalist in me is always very inquisitive about, you know, um, interesting people.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I will, uh, I'll shoot him an email today. uh, yeah, I don't, you know, he's super busy and everything, so I, I'm very picky with the things that I say, cause I know he It's hard for him to say no to me,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yep,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I'm very careful with the things that I request from

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Sure. That's a

good too.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I'm I'm so happy. Well, it's good. You're doing something good for yourselves and You know, for people. at large to, [01:06:00] uh, learn new things and different ways of thinking about these things that might benefit them and their kids. And yeah, it's all good.

Oh, oh, all right. We'll care of you guys. Thanks

so much. All right.

Bye.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah.[01:07:00] [01:08:00] [01:09:00] [01:10:00]

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