As an adoptee with approximately 7 zillion biological half brothers and sisters (okay, I exaggerate…there are 9 that I know of), I have got pretty much a lifetime’s worth of possibilities for meeting people I am genetically related to, but had zero connection to, or even knowledge of, while growing up.
The back stories would be much too long to tell here (readers would fall asleep before I was even a third of the way through the Byzantine explanation of my bio-family roots), but I’ve met genetic relatives on three occasions, including one just an hour ago, which is why I pose the question. It seems like people have a wide variety of experiences when they meet a long-lost relative, especially when adoption is involved.
For me, in all three cases it has turned out well. The first instance, a half-sister, is now a wonderful friend who I can without hesitation refer to as “my sister” (or half-sister, for people who know I grew up as an only child and would be confused if I said that). We’ve know each other for 20+ years and I have never felt a moment’s regret that she tracked me down.
Second instance, a half brother - we met once, liked each other, and that was pretty much the end of it. I chalk our lack of long-term contact to, “life is complicated, even without adding semi-sibling people with an exhausting backstory into the mix, despite the fact that they seem pretty nice.” I have no doubt that if we somehow were in close geographic proximity, we’d meet again and “click.” But the effort to stay in touch without a shared history is beyond what any of us feel like doing. (This goes for several other relatives as well, with whom I have exchanged occasional emails but never met or tried valiantly to stay in touch with.)
Third case, a half sister, I just met, along with her son (my son was there too) today. It was lovely! The first 20 minutes or so were a bit awkward - really, what do you say to someone with whom you share a totally evil sociopathic child-abusing parent, but virtually no other history - but we pretty quickly realized we were people who, if we met under more usual circumstances, would become friends.
Anyway, I’m curious how it has worked out for other people. I’d love to hear stories from Dopers.