Hans's email was really nice. It was almost as though he'd researched what the most supportive things were to say to a donor conceived person because he said all of them. He said our father had told him when he was a child about having donated sperm, so he'd always known he might have a half-sister out in the world and was totally okay with it, not in shock at all. He said he felt I had a right to know my biological family and where I come from. He said he knew our father had written me a letter saying never to contact him again, but he felt it was more reflective of Hans's mother's "irrational anger" at my having found them than his own feelings on the matter. He said he thought our father felt ambivalent, but he recommended I hold back and not contact him again -- that while our father might change his mind some day and want to know me, Hans felt pretty sure his mother never would.
I felt a wide range of emotions. My brother seemed considerate, and he was open to getting to know me. I was thrilled. The reactions of my biological father and his wife were essentially what I'd expected, but I felt disappointed and sad nonetheless. I was pleasantly surprised he'd told Hans about me since my closest friends had been quite certain he'd throw away my letter without telling a soul. I had quietly hoped he'd recognize that I could contact my half-siblings with or without his introduction. I felt sure it was better for both of us if he told them about me first, and I was glad he saw it that way too. It was the kind of rational response I'd learned not to expect from the parents who raised me. I am reasonable in spite of them, so I thought maybe I'd inherited that quality from him.
I drafted an email response to Hans. I thanked him for writing. I told him I was happy to hear from him and that, while I hadn't received Joseph's letter yet, I was glad to hear from him first, that he'd given me advance notice of what to expect. It cushioned the blow. I assured him I had no intention of contacting Joseph a second time, that if he wanted to reach out to me in the future, I'd love to hear from him, but that I didn't want to cause a rift between him and his wife. I told Hans a few things about myself and asked him some getting-to-know-you questions. I saved the email in my drafts folder to send the next day, when I'd had a chance to reread what I'd written, calm and sober.
By the time I finished, it was late into the night. I went to close my laptop, and my inbox had another new email in it. It was an automated message with the subject line, "Simone Von Trapp wants to be friends on Facebook." I was 2 for 2 with half-siblings. My heart was full.