Friday, July 1, 2011

When adoptees change their names back to their birth names

Jane
Thanks to one of our readers, we saw this gem of misinformation in Dear Abby’s column of June 27.
ADOPTED SON'S NAME CHANGE CUTS REAL DAD TO THE QUICK
“DEAR ABBY: My wife had an unhappy five-year marriage to her high school boyfriend. They divorced when their son, "Noah," was 20 months old. Then she met me, and we have been married for 34 happy years.

I adopted Noah with the consent of his birth father, who also remarried and had a family. My wife and I added a daughter to ours.
I was aware that Noah had re-established contact with his birth father and half-siblings. We supported it. But we were blindsided when Noah told us he plans to take back his original surname. He says it isn't "personal," but he wants his children to have their "rightful" name and know their "true" lineage.
Abby, we are hurt and confused. This has caused a painful rift in the family. Please help. -- NOAH'S REAL DAD IN NEW YORK
DEAR REAL DAD: I strongly believe that the people who raise a child are that child's "true" parents, regardless of whether the child meets his or her birth parents. Is there any ill will between you and Noah? Could there be money or prestige connected with Noah's birth father's name, which could account for what's happened?

After investing 34 years of yourself in that child, you have reason to feel hurt. Family counseling might smooth some of this over. I am sorry for your loss.”
  Abby and Real Dad need to know that Noah is not alone. While it is not common for adoptees to change their last names to their birth names, it is not unheard of. I’ve known of a half dozen who have done it including an adoptee who changed both her first and last names. All were adopted an infants.


The Search For Anna Fisher
Florence's memoir
Florence Fisher, author of The Search for Anna Fisher, an early adoptee search memoir, and founder of the



search and support organization Adoptees Liberty Movement Association, took her birth father’s last name. After her adoptive mother’s death when Fisher was 20, she had little contact with her adoptive father. After a 20-year search, she found her birth parents and learned they had been married when she was born. She kept the first name her adoptive parents gave her which was the same as her birth mother’s first name.

I sympathize with Real Dad. It would be a slap in the face to any adoptive parent who had nurtured a child from infancy. However, I believe that the reasons for adopting one’s original name go far beyond “money or prestige” as Abby suggests. It is, as Noah says, an attempt to re-claim what is rightfully his. It may be also be a way for some adoptees to try to become the persons they would have been, to resume their original identity. I invite our readers who have changed their names or know of others who have done so to comment.

Identifying himself as the “Real Dad” suggests that the adoptive father is unaware that the adoption could not sever Noah’s bond with his biological father completely. Noah is probably more like his bio dad than his adoptive father.

Abby too shows a lack of understanding when she writes “that the people who raise a child are that child's ‘true’ parents.” It’s an old myth that adoptive parents replace natural parents, perpetuated to discourage searching and reassure adoptive parents.  It reminds me of scenes from TV dramas of the 50s and 60s where an anguished teen cries out “I want my real mother.” An serene older woman says knowingly: “Your real mother is not the one who bore you, but the one who reared you.”

THE SEARCH FOR ANNA FISHER.This “true/real parent” language is divisive and patently untrue. Adoptees have two sets of parents, one set is not more true or more real than the other. In the best of all worlds, they work together for the adoptee’s welfare. My advice to Real Dad is: “Accept the relationship you have with Noah and accept him for who he wants to be."

Post Script 10/5/11. I just came across an article in the Spring, 2011 issue of Adoption Constellation by Astrid Dabbeni, Executive Director of Adoption Mosaic. Responding to an adoptee interested in changing her name back to her birth name, Dabbeni writes: "Lately I have met more and more adoptees who have changed their first and last names back to their birth names.  ... Reclaiming a birth name can be an act of empowerment  and positive identity formation.... I think this is a very courageous journey you are exploring."

93 comments :

  1. I'll comment more later when I get back from hospital. I'm HORRIFIED at the selfishness of the hurt adopter! The rightful name of adoptees must never be changed at the time of their adoptions! That is one sharp adoptee with a healthy self-esteem! Good for him for changing his name! I admire him to the hilt! Where is he? ha-ha

    ReplyDelete
  2. How interesting, it almost sounds like my half-brother's story. Almost. He was adopted as a toddler by his stepfather. At 18 he changed his name back to the family name. His reason "I am a [my maiden name], that is never going to change." When we were young he came to visit and stayed with us for a year as a teen. He is my big brother. I only know one of his other sisters, she is okay.

    I wanted to tell you that I am going to link.... I like this one, very real.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Abby rarely if ever gets it right when it comes to adoption. I have a pending rant about it on my blog.

    As someone who is changing my name largely for genealogical purposes, I was irritated by her response. Of course this adoptee can't be seen as having a valid reason for his name change, he's adopted. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  4. As I have been saying... it is a metamorphical slap in the face when the adoptee decides to change their name back to their birth name.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This post reminds me of something Penelope Leach said, that even if a child is placed in infancy and the APs are the only parents the child knows, the APs are still SUBSTITUTE parents.

    I would like to have my n-father's last name because it feels more honest. It reflects who I am, my lineage. Also, a surname reflects a person's heritage and often the a-father's last name identifies a different heritage than the adoptee's (true/real :) heritage.

    I agree with your advice to this REAL dad. Both sets of my parents are really my parents.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's very wise of you to say that about surnames, Robin. I have an interesting quirk. If I could, I would immediately ask every person I meet (within reason), "What nationality are you?" That tells me everything about a person. Also, I can judge by a person's name who the person is. And I can also judge by their looks. I can spot an immigrant a mile away even if he, or she, doesn't have an accent, by the way they walk, talk.... So every person's name proudly says ALOT about the person; EXCEPT, of course, FOR THE LOWLY ADOPTEE. Adoptees must hide who they are so they make other people happy. Adoptees don't have the privilege of being who they are in this here United States of America - the freest and greatest country in the world! Today I also have an overwhelming urge to ask (or listen for), "What religion are you?" Won't that tell us alot, too?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am an adoptee (domestic, adopted as a newborn) who changed both first and last name. I changed my last name to my husband's when I got married and simultaneously changed my first name to one I had always liked. For me, it was a way to reclaim choice in the matter of my adoption. I had no choice about whether to be adopted but this was something I could choose. My adoptive name was never "me," it was the idealized image of the child my adoptive parents couldn't have and wanted me to be. I was tired of living under that shadow. I would have incorporated aspects of my birth name had I known them at the time (I still don't). I changed my name before I became aware of adoptee rights issues, but having since being denied access to my own birth certificate, I feel that my name change is even more appropriate as a raised middle finger at a system that denies me my civil rights.

    What struck me about the letter-writer and Abby's answers is that they both assume they have the right to determine who this person's "real" parents are. I agree with you that this "true/untrue" or "real/unreal" parent thing is a source of major conflict. I think that only each of us, as individuals, can determine who we consider "family". We all have people in our lives who are "family" but not necessarily related by blood, even if we ourselves are not adopted. Therefore why is it so hard for people to understand that when the word "adoption" comes up?

    Personally I am tired of people co-opting the voices of adoptees and first parents. From the adoptee perspective this is exactly why people still call us adopted "children". We're not even allowed to make decisions about our own names! In this letter writer's voice I hear the words of someone who is using adoption to live vicariously instead of dealing with his own internal issues, a situation I fear is too often the norm. I admire adoptive parents who can get past their own reactions (and yes, the name change is a slap in the face, no matter how gently it's explained) and accept such decisions as the prerogative of their now-adult offspring.

    I've written a couple of blogs about my feelings on adoptees and renaming.

    http://73adoptee.blogspot.com/2008/09/power-of-adoptees-name.html

    http://73adoptee.blogspot.com/2009/10/power-of-adoptees-name-part-ii.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. This entry was very interesting to read...Here's another adoptee who has completed a legal name change. My new name is sort of like a compromise between my two identities and families and I'm proud of it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What an insulting and ignorant remark of Abby's and how misguided the adopter.
    As some of you know I use my real name in adoptionland and the other I have acquired through many changes over the years and use in the part of life where it is too hard to change.It works for me, honours my real name and my biological family and affirms the connection I have to a family name that I can trace back to 1770..my real history, not a borrowed one.Money or prestige have nothing to do with it, nor has anything else other than my right to use my real given name which is on my real birth certificate.
    I do wish non-adoptees would do their research properly before they spout this nonsense purporting to be advice.

    ReplyDelete
  10. ALL ADOPTEES ACROSS THE GLOBE SHOULD TAKE BACK THEIR RIGHTFUL NAMES! Changing their names back would make a bigger statement than we, moms, could ever make, and it would make change happen faster than anything else I could think of at this time in the movement! DON'T JIGGLE WITH OUR IDENTITIES! Changing names does not diminish the love adoptees have for their adoptive families; it simply has nothing to do with the adoptive families! Why don't they get over themselves and be the adults and parents that they purport to be!?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I know some adoptees who change their first names --either they switch to their middle name, or the name their first birth mother gave them....or they just change their name! It is an unconscious acknowledgement that the name they had when they grew up...doesn't feel like the REAL name they should have.

    ReplyDelete
  12. (I just can't tell you how much I need you "guys" in my Life at this crucial and STRESS-filled time; there's an illness in the family and I'm the caregiver.)

    Is Dear Abby still around? Wasn't she doling out advice back there in the beginning of the archaic 20th century?

    Please read my April, 2011, post, entitled, "Aahhh! Will The Imbecility Never Cease!?" in my blogcast, http://caleighbrookswatchingthewatchers.com

    Abby fits right in with the archaic Dr. Phil. There's a list of mores that were totally widespread when Phil and Abby were younger. You'll see how perverted the U.S.A. really was at one time!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Abby tried to console the adopter in the above article by saying that, "It's not you. Perhaps the adoptee changed his name for prestige and money?" Isn't that an insult? What are Abby's credentials?

    At all costs, ADOPTEES MUST SHOW OUTWARD SIGNS OF CONTINUAL GRATITUDE TO THEIR ADOPTERS AND SOCIETY! Damn it! We separated you from your familial roots, and we demand respect and admiration! Be grateful - you are our property! WE OWN YOU! (Isn't that along the same lines as how the mafia functioned or functions!)

    There's an aphorism that I love and am using alot lately; it goes something like this:

    "Don't open your mouth and show people how dumb you are. Keep your mouth shut and leave some doubt!"

    I totally love that the above people in Jane Edward's article, and others, are showing us who they truly are! Go ahead, show us how stupid and ignorant (uneducated) you truly are! Keep up the good work!

    This site is very educational - so I'll know how to proceed to make change happen! This is my classroom right now, and my therapeutic session! Thanks to all of you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I didn't intend to write again but... there's certainly a lot of comments and opinions out there of which I wasn't aware...

    In Dharma & Greg, Dharma explains (I think) how she ended up being called Dharma. Her parents simply let her choose her own name.. I think that's a lovely thought, yet I must confess I'm not sure if it would work in reality...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Caleigh, most adoptees do not want to change their names back to the original name. They are comfortable with their adoptive name and it is how they think of themselves. Even those in wonderful reunions do not often wish to change their names.

    Those whom I have heard of who did the name change did it because they had horrible, abusive adoptive parents. Some were thrown out on the street as teenagers and rescued by their birthmother, and in some cases their original mother or parents legally adopted them back.

    Of course changing one's name has something to do with how one feels about the adoptive family and is meant as a repudiation of them in all but a few special cases where some international adoptees take back their ethnic name in their home country's language as a matter of identity.

    In any event, this is a very personal choice by an adoptive person, not something we as mothers should be telling them they all should do.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey Robin and Everybody!

    I would LOVE for my son to change his last name to his 1st dad's last name, or even hyphenate the adoptive last name and the natural last name - FOR HIS OWN SAKE and for the sake of his children! But, I don't foresee that happening, my son is a PROTECTOR like me.

    I've been a total protector of every and any body, but I'm slowly shedding that sick behavior and moniker, as we speak. It's been a long, long, long, excruciating journey - one that no human being should have to endure! No human being should have to endure such pain and agony just so some infertile person could feel like he, or she is a parent, and resultingly, garner respect in our society. I am one ticked off woman!

    ReplyDelete
  17. We beg your pardon!? An adoptee changing his name is a slap in the face to adopters?

    Changing the original name of a human being without his, or her, consent is a slap in the face to the human being and his, or her, complete ancestry and progeny!

    What's up with all this gratefulness for living expected from the adoptee and this ownership of the adoptee by adopters?

    ReplyDelete
  18. To add to Lorraine's comment, I know several international adoptees who have taken their original first or last name as their middle name, creating a bridge between both identities.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for all of your helpful and thought-provoking, comments! I want to answer all but I don't have many neurons left. I was only able to skim your comments today. I'll try again in the near future.

    MARYANNE: Oh, yeah, I know most adoptees don't even know that it's a possibility to change their names. I didn't think about it, either, until I just read it here; and I've been consciously attempting to heal the unhealable wound for nearly a quarter of a century. I'm glad you brought it up, though. Through discussion come brilliant ideas eventually!

    ELLIE: That's such a cute anecdote about choosing one's own name. Please come back, Ellie.

    See? That's what I mean about this site being so valuable! Jane and Lorraine call our attention to so many poignant aspects of the concoction of adoption! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  20. "Of course changing one's name has something to do with how one feels about the adoptive family and is meant as a repudiation of them in all but a few special cases where some international adoptees take back their ethnic name in their home country's language as a matter of identity. "


    *Surprise!* I totally disagree with this statement. Identity can be a much more complicated thing than this for many of us. It is about our identity for many of us, not about honoring or dishonoring any parents.

    ReplyDelete
  21. With the help of my mother I changed my name to most of my true name. Sadly, I did not change my first fake name because I was worried about school records (of all things). I surely wish I had reclaimed my full true name. As it stands now, many people call me by my last name which suits me just fine.

    For the record, THIS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH MY ADOPTERS, AND HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH MY IDENTITY AS A HUMAN BEING.

    Sorry for the shouting, just want to be clear.

    It should be a felony to change a person's identity without their consent.

    Also, for the record, I most certainly did not have two sets of parents. I sincerely wish this myth would go away. I am not a science experiment. I had ONE set of parents who were married at the time of my birth.

    I never considered my adopters my parents. I did not consent to my adoption.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Of course an adoptee's name change can be percieved as a threat to the a parent's... Maybe because of fear of losing their child...
    Personally I didn't do the name change because of bad a parents or bad childhood or anything like that.

    It had nothing to with my a parents for once (shocking, right !?)

    As for the Dharma & Greg thing ; I hope everyone realises that I only meant to refere to it in relation to adoptee's name changes.

    Also, I didn't mean to suggest that adoptee's should be able to pick their own name as toddlers (like Dharma.)

    Here's a thought instead of changing replacing the adoptees first name (personal name) why not keep the original one and later let the adoptee decide ..?

    Btw, I'm from Sweden (or at least living there).

    ReplyDelete
  23. I changed my middle name back to my first name at birth and changed my last name to my natural father's last name.

    This is about correcting history for me. My original birth certificate is sealed. My descendants, if wanting to trace their family tree, will hit a brick wall when they come to me. This is my way of helping them find the TRUTH of our family's origins. I also don't believe anyone should have the right to erase a child's identity because they want to be a "real" parent.

    As for Dear Abby...She speaks about topics that she knows NOTHING about and acts like she is an authority on the issue.

    Adoptive parents need to stop trying to own their adopted children. Insecure, controlling people should not be able to adopt innocent children. Psychological exams SHOULD be mandatory. "Home studies" are freakin' jokes. The pedophile adoptoraptor that acquired me passed his with flying colors!

    Back to the topic at hand: It's about reclaiming one's identity for genealogical purposes and because it's the TRUTH.

    -Mara

    ReplyDelete
  24. I haven't been able to thoroughly read all of your comments yet!

    MARA, you said it perfectly! Could you imagine average, inadequate, arrogant, cheap, people (the adoption industry and others) trying to shut down the whole genealogy of your tribe!? WHERE DOES THIS ARROGANCE COME FROM!? Is this Nazi Germany or the United States of America! I AM TICKED!!!!!!!!!!

    ELLE, Sweden sounds great!

    Did you "guys" know that the Netherlands abolished domestic adoption? Yaaay! Now those are some astute people!

    Now I really am off to the hospital! Drat! You "guys" better quit sucking me back in with your great comments! I gotta' get things did! ( ha-ha )

    ReplyDelete
  25. The way I know that Holland abolished domestic adoption is because Holland's own Rene Hoksbergen, PhD, and renowned expert in the field of adoption, spoke at Joe Soll's "2010 Shedding Light on Adoption Conference" in my favorite city, New York City! Yaaay! I'm sorry to say I missed the conference, but years ago, I went to a few. Rene is all over the Internet!

    Why is one of the greatest and freest countries in the whole wide world, U.S.A., so far behind Holland? Just sayin'

    [Ok, now I really am off to the hospital! You "guys" better leave me alone! (ha-ha)]

    ReplyDelete
  26. My own older brother, the son of my mother's first (and absent) husband, was never officially adopted by my dad but grew up using his name and I did not even know this other guy existed because he was not a presence of any sort in my brother's life. Then, at 18, he denied my brother permission to change his name to Dusky, the name he'd grown up using; so my brother waited until 21 and changed his name ASAP.

    So that's kind of the opposite story from the one Dear Abby wrote about.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The other part that has been gnawing at me about Dear Abby's article is, "What kind of dingbat father would allow his son to be adopted by another man?"

    I'm outta' here! I'm addicted to this site! Is there rehab centers for this addiction?

    ReplyDelete
  28. [See how you "guys" are? I'm back already!]

    This whole parenting thing has been such a concoction in Frankenstein's and Hiltler's laboratories:

    * Let's pay this poor, vulnerable, young woman for her eggs.

    * Then, we'll be slick and have another woman carry the baby so these two don't get too attached.

    * And, by the way, let's not tell the baby any info about who he, or she is. Shhhh!

    * We'll let this guy adopt his stepson so we get some ownership thing goin' on for his trouble.

    * The single mom must give her child to a married couple.

    * You're too young to have a child!

    * Don't you want what's best for your child?

    * Adoptees are not allowed to know who they are.

    Why are strangers so fixated on the sexual organs of the vulnerable and the poor!? The whole conjuring up of families - finagling kids from the vulnerable - is just too INCESTUOUS! Let's get some order in our world! I'm ticked!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I also want to add to my last comment about the concocting of families in Frankenstein's adoption and surrogacy laboratory:

    * There are too many cooks in the kitchen - too much money exchanges too may hands in the finagling of children from the vulnerable!

    Thanks for allowing me this space to vent - purge my heartache. I bleed for those who come after me, too!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Some religions forbid changing the names of children. For example, it is against Islam to change the name of any child as it is considered to be deception. Those who look after a child that is not theirs are considered to be guardians, not replacement parents. It is mainly a Christian thing to change names. It is illegal to do that in many places in the Middle East.

    ReplyDelete
  31. The adult adoptee is the one who should decide what name(s) s/he is most comfortable with. While I found Maryanne's examples extreme, I suspect that if I felt closer to my a-father I would be more at peace using his name. His last name reflects one part of my cultural heritage but it is a different heritage than my n-fathers. I think a hyphenated name using both surnames would suit me and might be easier than completely changing to my n-father's name.

    ReplyDelete
  32. It is also forbidden in Islam for children born to people not married to each other to be named after the father, because the relationship between the parents was not one of marriage. The child takes the mother's surname.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Regarding Caleigh's question "What kind of dingbat father would allow his son to be adopted by another man?"

    It's a sad story that happens not infrequently. Young Father is ordered to pay child support and he has very little money. He gets behind and the state threatens to put them in jail if he doesn't pay up. He has married and has other children to support. New Wife resents every dime he spends on son and every minute he spends with him.

    Meanwhile, Child's Mother marries Big Guy who tells Young Father if you butt out, your kid will be better off and we won't try to collect the child support. Young Father drinks the same kool-aid we mothers drank -- believes Big Guy will be a better parent; best thing I can do for my child is not to interfere. Yada, yada.

    Once Young Father agrees to the adoption, he regrets butit he can't do anything about it. Years later son shows up and Father learns things were not so swell -- Big Guy was okay but he and son never related to each other. Son feels his Father abandoned him.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Adoptees should be able to do what they wish with their name, and that's that. My oldest son was officially adopted by my parents when he was four, changing his last name. He hates it because it sounds descriptive of something a construction worker does instead of his name. His original last name says so much more about hs heritage, especially since his adoptive father is my step-father, so hus heritage is not ours by blood. But it's his decision in the end.

    My second son was adopted when he was a week old. I assumed amom would change his name, and she did. He's very proud of his a-family's heritage, which is fine, and I doubt he would want tontak on his very long, very clunky, very ethnic-sounding name from birth. But it says exactly who he is.

    My own father was not known to me (and whom i still do not know), yet his surname s on my BC. When I was three, my mother married my step-father and my records were changed to reflect his surname, even though he never adopted me (this was done to keep the neighbors from gossiping) and I used his surname until I married. I've had my name changed because of marriage more than once, but in recent years I've thought about changing my surname to my Mother's maiden name, since it should have been that when I was born. That name reflects me, my heritage, and I'm proud of it. I actually wish I had incorporated it into one if my raised sons' names.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anon wrote:"The child takes the mother's surname."

    Are these children then discriminated against because they don't have their father's name? Also, I have heard but don't know if it's true that women in Islamic countries do not take their husband's name upon marriage but retain their maiden names. Is that true?

    ReplyDelete
  36. I just walked in the door and will study all of your lusciously educational and mouthwatering comments, perhaps, tomorrow.

    I just want to quickly say, "WOW, Jane Edwards! What a scenario you have painted describing why a dad would allow his flesh-n-blood to be adopted!" I'M SO TOUCHED! I never thought of that! I just figured men didn't have to deal with the stigma of single parenthood in the 20th century like single moms did.

    See? That's what I mean about this site being so invaluable. You probably think I'm nuts raving about this site so much?

    Here's why I love you "guys" :

    I've been within the so-called adoption healing and reform movement since about 1988 or 1989. The helm of the adoption support group that I joined in my state at the time was made up of adoptees and SOCIAL WORKERS. First moms were shoved into the background - ostracized, once again, and adoptive parents were praised.

    If a mom talked up too much, she was QUICKLY viewed as "an angry mom" and, of course, shunned, once again! I call the helm of that group a bunch of HOLD-BACKS, but it's all I had! I'd love to expound on that experience another time; it was a horrific experience. It was like the rape victim getting therapy from the rapist!

    I'll give you one example of the sick abuse I took within that group. Once I innocently said to the President (adoptee) of the support group, SOMETHING like, "I want to kill society!" (you know, for tricking me out of my child)

    [Ok, I'm deleting that word - Jane and Lorraine say to "cool those jets."]

    This young whippersnapper of a President quips back at me with, "It wasn't society!"

    Picture me turning around to see who the hell she was talking to! The support group meetings were held in her home in the beginning and the abuse only got worse from there.

    What a shame! Look at how long it has taken me to find a group (you "guys") - a site - that I can already tell is going to facilitate my healing!

    Thank you for being here!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am surprised no one has raised Dear Abby's connection to adoption. I believe their is one. Hence the "real" family views.

    I may get drummed out of the corp for saying this but I actually like my son's first and second name better than the ones I gave him because the AP's accidentally named him in a way that honours his mother and his father. Now if he wanted to change his last name... However I should throw in that I am the grandaughter of immigrants whose name was changed. So even I don't have my real last name.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I never really liked my adad's last name, although I love him; it's very ethnic and I look nothing like his ethnicity. I was very eager to change my name when I married. I really like my nmom's maiden name and would love to do a name change to add it, like Amanda is doing, as a middle name.

    While I wouldn't be changing my name to repudiate my adad *at all*, I know the change would gut him and I just cannot bring myself to do it. Not while he's living, anyway. It would be nice if we could all be adults, and I could sit down and explain that this is an addition, not a subtraction, but I really don't think he could hear my message. I think it's reasonable that I want to acknowledge my own genealogy (as he loves to do with his own family tree, going back centuries in another country), but there is that pesky "ownership" problem rearing its head again. "You're MY daughter."

    If my adad and I had a more fraught relationship, I might be more willing to go ahead. I suppose I could just make the change and not tell him, but that's not really my style.

    Moreover, if I added my nmom's maiden name to my name, she'd probably have a conniption, since I am "not family" in her eyes.

    It's definitely complicated.

    ReplyDelete
  39. [You "guys" are killin' me! (ha-ha)]

    I got out of my bed at 1:20 AM on Sunday, July 3, 2011, just to add the following addendum to my last comment above about the adoption healing support group that I attended over the years on and off. [No more!] This will give you an idea of how I've had to suffer.

    Within the aforementioned non-profit organization, there is a segment called, "Birthmothers Support Group." Guess who's at the helm facilitating this monthly support group meeting? An adoptive aunt who is a social worker! I rest my case! That truly is the rapist providing therapy to the rape-victim!

    I think they may only have such meetings bi-monthly because so few mothers attend. I still get their newsletter because I want to witness their downfall; albeit, I'm not sure how long I'm going to get it - I'm paid up for the next year. They've had to resort to catering to foster care children and most of their clientele is African-American because, of course, the regular adoption business is a little slow!

    ReplyDelete
  40. "Also, for the record, I most certainly did not have two sets of parents. I sincerely wish this myth would go away. I am not a science experiment. I had ONE set of parents who were married at the time of my birth.

    I never considered my adopters my parents. I did not consent to my adoption."

    Elizabeth:

    How on earth can you consider your bparents your "True Parents" if they were married when they had you but didn't want to raise you? Unless you had horrible aparents, then I can understand the name change and anger. But I cannot wrap my head around two people being married and placing their child. That's just like a woman keeping her first born and placing her second child-there's no excuse!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Back to comment after a few hours sleep it's atucally morning here now...

    I was adopted before my 1st birthday, but I had already been given a personal name. I later decided to reclaim it since it was my original name (which I happen to like better than the name my a parents gave me.

    Secondly my birth name was the only thing I had from my birth country, like the only proof and the only thing that was totally mine not someone else's.

    My birth family was pretty upset when I announced my plans to reclaim my birth name. Which has nothing to do with inheritance or wealth.

    Why do people rebrand children and babies while they still don't do the same with items let's say cars....?

    Shouldn't it be the other way around ...? (It certainly seems to make more sense to me)

    ReplyDelete
  42. I legally changed my name years ago to my "original" name. It was one of the most liberating things I've ever done. I did not change it in reaction to my adoptive parents. It wasn't a rejection of them, it was a reclaiming of myself. It had nothing to do with them, and everything to do with me.

    ReplyDelete
  43. @Elizabeth,
    I must commend you for being in one piece after being given away by married parents. Wow! I'm just speaking for myself here but that scenario would have just about finished me off. Was one of them very sick and they couldn't care for you? Just wondering what the story is if you want to share it.

    Also, I am of a different school of thought than you about who I consider my parents. I do consider myself to have two sets of parents. Since I am from the closed era I was not even supposed to ever know who my first parents were. I think I would have had a very sad and lonely existence if I only considered the two phantom figures in my imagination (my n-parents) who I might never meet to be my only parents while dismissing the people who I lived with and who were raising me as a member of their family.

    Also, I think that if I had found that my first parents were married that I would have only considered my a-parents to be my parents. Unless my n-parents had some really good reason for giving me up I think I would have disowned them and just considered them BIRTH parents. Again, just my personal take on the matter.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Wow, you guys have taken this topic and run with it. I have been more than a litle MIA because we had a 4th of July BBQ last night and you can see the village fireworks from our yard...so I've been busy and then I'm just pooped today.

    As for my own name: I decided as a very young girl (pre-feminism, after Brenda Starr) that I would never change my name. Lorraine Dusky I was born, and Lorraine Dusky I would die. I cut out my middle name (Blanche) very early. (Original Polish name: Drozduski, but I never had that name.)

    Oddly enough, the only Man I Might Have Married who did not immediately agree to my plan NOT to change my name was Patrick, my daughter's father. For those who don't know--he was my relinquished and only daughter's father...whom I never did marry.

    Tres amusesant, oui?

    ReplyDelete
  45. I wonder what's most common for adoptees ; to change the personal name back or to change the surname back or maybe both... ?

    (And yes I'm aware of the fact that there are adoptees who don't want to reclaim their birth names after adoption)...

    ReplyDelete
  46. After I found my son and he found out the truth
    of his adoption from me his mother. The only one that knew the truth. He found out his dad had died in Nam.
    He also found out his name. I named him after his dad.
    He changed his name back and is proud to have his dads name. He was adopted by a grandpa age "dad" who left. the two kids he adopted soon afterward. So he was born to me a single mom and ended up being raised by a single woman till she married another grandpa.
    Names are important it tells us who we are where we come from and who we were born to.

    ReplyDelete
  47. @ Robin
    "Are these children then discriminated against because they don't have their father's name?"

    In some countries where Islam is the main religion it is not possible for a child to be registered with an official identity unless the father has acknowledged paternity and given them his name. This can create problems for them in society.

    "Also, I have heard but don't know if it's true that women in Islamic countries do not take their husband's name upon marriage but retain their maiden names. Is that true?"

    You are correct. Because she is not related to her husband by blood she cannot take his name but must keep to the name she inherited from her father.

    ReplyDelete
  48. [I just got home from the hospital and I haven't even shed my clothes yet. I only wanted to see, "Did I get ostracized once again by my society!" Were my comments published?]

    Intellectually, of course, I understand why Lorraine and Jane say in the sidebar of this site that ". . . commenters should be patient - Lorraine and Jane have lives, too."

    The following is an example of how deeply the wound of the ORIGINAL OSTRACISM still effects me many decades after I was ostracized by my cheap society at 18-19 years of age for daring to give birth to a Gift while single - those were supposed to be the magical years!

    I had noticed that my comments were not published when I left the house at about noon, Sunday, July 3, 2011, and I had uploaded them in the middle of the night; as a result, the following thoughts flitted through my brain all day long:

    * I'm worried about the last couple of comments that I submitted about that nightmarish adoption support group in my area that was purporting to help me all these years when I was so vulnerable!

    * I know that my comments were too harsh! I'll explain my support group experience in nicer words!

    * I shouldn't have used the analogy of rape when describing the helm of the group that marginalized me once again!

    * Dictionary.com defines rape as "any violation or abuse." I'll include that in my new comment.

    * I"ll rephrase another comment about the same subject when I get home from the hospital - then they'll let me back in.

    * Perhaps the moderators don't 'work' on Sundays?

    * No, I'm sure that I've been ostracized, again! I finally found a group where I fit in, and they ostracized me, too.

    * I don't care. I don't need them. I don't have time to do all that writing anyway! I'm trying to rebuild my Life!

    * I could use the analogy, "Would the descendants of slaves seek therapy from slaveholders?"

    * Joe Soll told me to absolutely NOT get therapy from anyone with adoption in his, or her, family. Soll is a social worker and N.Y. adoption expert; he should know.

    * Medical professionals never treat their own families, and that idiotic helm of the support group were like family. Adoption is so emotionally-incestuous that they're like family, I mean, they got my kid! So, I don't think they should be "treating" me in a therapeutic support group!

    * I feel ostracized all over again!

    * Am I going to be labeled "an angry mom?" [Well, hell yeah, I'm angry!]

    * I'm a writer. Writers always use metaphors, analogies, flamboyance, elaborations, and the like. Was it wrong to analogize social workers and the adoption industry to rapists. I didn't mean it in the literal, sexual sense.

    * I'll write all about the "conflict of interest" that adoption is saturated with.

    * Let me jot down these thoughts so I can clean up those last two comments I submitted about the horrific support group.

    WHAT A WASTED DAY!!! I was only one-third present!

    Why have I had to spend my complete adult Life worrying and attempting to heal the UNhealable wound instead of living my Life to the fullest!? Why Dr. Phil? Why Dearest Abby? Why do you two wish that kind of horror on me!?

    ReplyDelete
  49. My eyes are crossing!

    [What I don't do for you "guys!" (I'm just kidding.)]

    I forgot to leave the last and most important line in the comment I just uploaded:

    When I arrived home from the hospital, I could see that I wasn't ostracized at all by my friends at First Mother Forum. All of my comments have been published!

    Thank you for helping me heal - one comment at a time!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Caleigh, I do not know what Hoksbergen said, but he cannot have said that domestic adoption has been abolished in the Netherlands, it is down from low in the four digit numbers to low in the two digit numbers a year, but is still legal, and it is still tried to push it down further.
    Of course adoption of newborns has been totally abolished in the Netherlands, as has adoption by total strangers, at least de iure. There are no domestic adoption agencies either, and no domestic adoption bussiness.

    I really think you have misunderstood something, but I have no idea what...

    And considering names, de iure, marriage does not change one's name in the Netherlands, but a married person gets the right to use the name of his or her spouse, long stay foster children turn out to be doing the same. Woman getting name of husband? For REAL?

    ReplyDelete
  51. Married parents who give up a child: it does happen, and I have heard of several scenarios, none of them being a couple in a stable marriage just not wanting that particular child. The stories I know of were all people in bad circumstances, and just as unable to fight the system as single parents. A marriage license does not always enable a couple to keep their child if other factors are against them.

    Some examples: young mom married to an abusive addict left him and found she was pregnant. Her parents wanted nothing to do with her or the child for running off and marrying the addict. She did not get a legal divorce until years later, so technically was still married. But she had no resources and nowhere to go with her child so she surrendered.

    Many cases of women separated but not divorced who got pregnant in the interim. Some cases of very young parents who got married but were forced by their own parents to give up the child anyhow, to avoid the "shame" of a baby who came too soon after the wedding. These were not stable marriages of autonomous adults. In some cases where the mom was underage the parents had the marriage annulled.

    Then you have married couples where drug abuse or mental illness, coupled with poverty, were a factor. In hard economic times, often it is the youngest of a big intact family who is surrendered because they just cannot support another child.

    None of these was my situation, I was the typical unmarried college student whose boyfriend refused to marry. But I have been involved in adoption reform long enough to have seen all sorts of situations that should not just be condemned outright as uncaring or bad parents because of marital status or other factors. Adoptees who really are adults should try to understand, not rush to condemn.

    ReplyDelete
  52. "Her parents wanted nothing to do with her or the child for running off and marrying the addict."

    That's a silly example. Obviously the mother is going to give up her child if the father is abusive and then a divorce happens.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Caleigh: You do have to be patient with the posting of the comments. There are times when neither Jane nor I are checking often and holiday weekends are likely to be such a time. I'm glad that that First Mother Forum is a safe place to unload what's on your mind (with all those hospital visits), and your feelings are validated here.

    And to everybody reading this, I am trying to step back from posting as much as I used to because I have other stuff I have to write! My relationship with my "found" granddaughter, Lisa, has blossomed and I need to include that in the rewrite of my memoir. And as soon as I can I am going to publish Birthmark, that "controversial" coming-out-of-the-first/birth-mother-closet memoir I wrote back in the Seventies as an electronic book, but that too will take time. There is a lot of adoption stuff that has been floating in my head and I will try to post tomorrow. In the meantime... enjoy the Fourth. There are some days that can be adoption-free!

    On another note: I just got word that there are questions about whether the governor of Rhode Island (Lincoln Chafee) has actually signed the OBC access bill; but the folks most involved say that they got official word from the governor's office that Chafee signed the bill on July 1. However, there has been no press release about this at the governor's web site.

    ReplyDelete
  54. "Of course changing one's name has something to do with how one feels about the adoptive family and is meant as a repudiation of them in all but a few special cases where some international adoptees take back their ethnic name in their home country's language as a matter of identity. "

    The other issue I wanted to point out about this comment speculating and speaking for adoptees, is that even those of us whiteys that are adopted domestically our names often do not line up with our appearance. Germans are adopted by Italians, Italians are adopted by Swedes, Germans are adopted by Irish etc. etc.

    To claim it is a spiteful act is such a gross understatement and shows a real ignorance to the identity issues that can present themselves with adoption.

    ReplyDelete
  55. "That's a silly example. Obviously the mother is going to give up her child if the father is abusive and then a divorce happens."

    Why "obviously"? Are you just being sarcastic?
    Please explain

    "A marriage license does not always enable a couple to keep their child if other factors are against them."

    Word. Unfortunately a reality that some people are unwilling or unable to acknowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Mei Ling, that was a real situation of someone I knew, and there was no divorce for many years. At the time she did a seek a divorce. long after her child was gone, she found out he had died in the mean time. Many families would have taken their daughter and grandchild back, especially if she had been married, but hers did not.

    She had the legal marriage, so nobody was taking away her child just because she was single. She was "Mrs." somebody, which many of us unwed moms thought at the time would have saved us, but it did not save all mothers in distress. That was the point I was making and it was not silly.

    Joy, I can see from some comments here that some adoptees do change their names strictly for identity reasons. I was not being "spiteful", just relating what I had personally heard before which is obviously not the whole picture. Ignorant perhaps, but spiteful, no. I should not have made such a broad statement, but there was no need to get snarky. After all, you let Caleigh's even more broad statement that "all adoptees across the globe should take back their rightful names." Like me, Ms.Caleigh appears to be a birthmother, so is she not "speaking for adoptees" too?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Maryanne, I think you misread Joy's words. She wrote "To claim [the name change] is a spiteful act is such a gross understatement and shows a real ignorance to the identity issues that can present themselves with adoption."

    She didn't call *you* or *your words* spiteful, but the adoptee changing her name a "spiteful" act, repudiating our adoptive families, as you put it.

    Negotiating one's place as an adoptee is very complicated. I appreciate your apology for being ignorant in this case, as your original statement certainly wasn't very thoughtful.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hey Theodore!

    Thanks for this opportunity to explain my 2 comments above dated July 2, 2011, 11:13 AM and 11:48 AM. about Holland abolishing adoption. Who should I believe? You? Or these professionals in the field of adoption? Are you Dutch?

    If you go to http://www.adoptionhealing.com/conference you'll see where I got the info. The advertising for the conference reads, "On Saturday, September 25th, 2010, from 12:45 PM to 2:15 PM, Prof. René Hoksbergen, Ph.d., will facilitate a panel discussion of how and why domestic adoption was stopped in the Netherlands."

    I'm going to try to key in the above site address for your convenience under my name and you'll be able to just click on my name and it'll take you right to the above site, I'm assuming. Hope it works! You "guys" are so much fun!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Well, by the time domestic adoption of children with at least one living parent, is down to a mere 1/50th of its worst in absolute numbers, half of those occuring to girls from "foreign" families, you will consider it stopped as well.
    It is as a bull, shot down, but still not dead, so "abolished" is just too strong an expression.
    And yes, I am Dutch.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Oops! Yes, misread, probably need reading glasses:-)There are many reasons adoptees take back their original names, and I have nothing against them doing so for whatever reason. I was relieved to learn that my son's adoptive parents had kept the first name I gave him. For me the last name did not matter. For some people it does. It is a matter of personal choice for the adoptee what name they want to use.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Somebody must have said somewhere that adoptees changing their name is a 'spiteful act' somewhere else then, otherwise I'm sure Joy wouldn't have mentioned it how she did. Maybe that person deleted their comment or said it on Facebook. It can get very confusing who says what where.

    I agree with the statement that when adoptees change their names back, their reasons are complicated. It is a personal decision only made after much thought. I don't think it's necessarily a repudiation of the adopter family at all, although that might be part of it in some cases, especially where there has been abuse. But I think the main reason is to reclaim something important that they had lost. After all, a name is a signifier of identity, and what’s more personal than that?
    Anyway there is no practical reason for an adult adoptee to continue under the adopter family's patronymic. Still, I can see how reverting to one's original family name could cause a few complications, especially if one is a married man with children who have already been registered under the adopter family name and are accustomed to being known by it. There is a precedent for women to keep their "maiden" names, but I imagine that for men, having a different surname from their children could be tricky in some situations. Changing first names doesn't pose such a problem of course.

    I think some adopted people simply can't be bothered to change their names back, and there's nothing wrong with that either.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I forgot to add that of course I also think it's also OK for adopted adults to keep their adoptive families names if that's what they want and are happy with.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Theodore!

    Aaaww! The link I put under my name in the comment right above this one doesn't work. I'm going to try again. You wrote that Holland did NOT abolish adoptions! You asked, "Where did I get such erroneous info?"

    Try clicking my name here. I hope it works. I want you to see Rene Hoksbergen's picture and all the great info about this N.Y. conference.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Anything connected with that conference and especially the group that runs it is open to debate. Many in adoption reform find it questionable. Opinions vary, do not take it as gospel.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Yaaaay! My above link works; just click on my name. The link is about adoption abolition in Holland.

    Now I have links to 2 websites under my name. Computer technology is too weird! The reason why my latest link didn't work the first time is because in http://adoptionhealing.com/Conference/ I didn't have the C in Conference capitalized and I didn't have the forward-slash at the end. I guess?

    I love the Dutch! One of my 2nd cousins married a REAL savvy Dutch young woman.

    ReplyDelete
  66. "Why "obviously"? Are you just being sarcastic? Please explain"

    Nope, not sarcastic.

    It was stating the obvious - a woman who has an abusive husband (one solid reason for leaving him) and then divorcing said husband - is probably going to have the odds against her in terms of adoption.

    A woman who does NOT have an abusive husband and whom did NOT divorce said husband is more likely to keep a child than one who DID face that situation.

    That's all I was saying.

    @ Maryanne: Didn't say I didn't believe you. You stated a situation that is perfectly real and valid... except in a situation like that, the odds are stacked in favour of the child NOT being kept. Your example doesn't prove what isn't already obvious - in this case, the likelihood of a woman giving up her child because of an abusive husband.

    ReplyDelete
  67. "She had the legal marriage, so nobody was taking away her child just because she was single. She was "Mrs." somebody, which many of us unwed moms thought at the time would have saved us, but it did not save all mothers in distress. That was the point I was making and it was not silly."

    You also stated her husband was abusive, which was part (if not mainly?) the reason for divorcing him.

    I don't know where that case took place, but in Canada, the legal custody automatically goes to Dad.

    So does this mean she was not legally classified as single after divorce? Or that she took on her own legal name instead of sticking with his?

    (What does that have to do with anything? Traditional custom indicates females take on the surname of the husband, that's why I ask.)

    ReplyDelete
  68. Re: the name change thing

    So many people say it's not necessarily about the adoptive parents, but regardless of whether it is or not, that's how things go.

    Adoptive parents name a child to make him/her feel like part of the family. They grow up being called by the name - everyone sees the child by that name. Child's birth name is kept BUT no one uses it - that is not how they see the child.

    Child grows up, searches for blood family. Blood family *only* sees child as birth name. If child rejects adoptive name, or takes on birth name in full with only one part of adoptive name, it signifies betrayal as the adoptive family does NOT see the child as being "birth name."

    So yes, it implies a betrayal.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Anon: You are talking about the conferences Joe Soll holds? And Joe Soll himself? I know he is an adoptee himself but I have always shied away from them and him.

    As a cogent factor in my feeling, I cannot understand why, if he is truly interested in more than his livelihood as an adoption counselor, he is not more involved in reform and getting adoptees their original birth certificates. On that level, his main involvement appears to be being on a email list. Nice, but no cigar.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I don't have time to write too much right now; I gotta' definintely run:

    Joe Soll has been literally Marching on Washington for open records for years - before anyone else; I think he kind of gave up recently.

    Please check out my previous comments about the HORRIFIC manner in which the only adoption support group in my area has treated me for years.

    In the beginning, we were all at one of Soll's N.Y. conferences, perhaps, 2 decades ago, roughly. I was naive and wounded to the hilt. The President of that support group in my area especially came up to me, and quipped, "Stay away from that guy!" I didn't know what was happening because I was so new and vulnerable, I didn't know why she said that about Soll. He had been so nice!

    Well, it has certainly turned out that the President has been the one who continues to marginalize and dehumanize us, moms, once again in her supposed support group; and Joe Soll is inclusive and supportive of moms who lost kids!

    That President is an adoptee and she wants moms who lost kids to adoption IN THEIR PLACE - beneath her, at all costs! It's like a power-struggle with her! She, and her helm, make me shudder right now and make my skin crawl!

    That's VERY interesting how people talk!

    ReplyDelete
  71. One last comment again (sorry Lorriane) I think in the end it's up to each adult adoptee if they want to change their names or not. It should be compulsory to keep the original birth name (some adoptees might not want to change) and that should be allright too. Although it should be possible for those who want to change their names to so.

    However speaking from personal experience as one who recently did a name change actually doing it has caused a lot of new issues with my adoptive family but also society. If you do want to do a name change as (international) adult adoptee be prepared for confussion from society and really think twice before doing it.

    Lastly I don't regret having changed my name although I pertially wish I had changed my surname too...

    ReplyDelete
  72. Elle: DON'T BE SORRY.

    This discussion about the meaning of name changes has been enlightening, and undoubtedly primimg me for the post I wrote today about the right of everyone, no matter how conceived, to know their complete genetic heritage.

    Let me thank you for your comments, one and all. No need to stop now.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Anon, you wrote:

    "Somebody must have said somewhere that adoptees changing their name is a 'spiteful act' somewhere else then, otherwise I'm sure Joy wouldn't have mentioned it how she did. Maybe that person deleted their comment or said it on Facebook. It can get very confusing who says what where."

    I agree that Joy is exceedingly bright. That's why I adore her. I don't think she was quoting from anyone or any deleted comment; she was just using an appropriate word to express the negativity implied behind the betrayal of APs that Maryanne was speaking of above.

    I made the comment to Maryanne because I believed that Maryanne had wrongly taken Joy's words *personally*, rather than in the spirit of debate about why some/many adoptees may want to change their names to those of their first families.

    I have been thinking about what Mei-Ling said about the inevitability of a name change implying a betrayal of APs. I suppose it does because there is always slippage between adoptees' intention and implication and what APs want to read into things. Some adoptees *may* intend it as a big middle finger. I certainly wouldn't, although I am sure that even with hours of explanation, my father would still read it that way. My extended afamily would see it that way, as would society at large. So no matter how hard I might argue to the contrary, I am screwed. Which sucks.

    Once again, it's nearly impossible to struggle against the dominant discourse. It can be done, but a lot has to be sacrificed.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Thanks Ms. Marginalia, yes I substituted the word spite for repudiation, meaning that it was in fact done as an act to reject the aparents for whatever reason.

    I am lucky enough to match in appearance my adoptive name, I have a Scandinavian name rather than let's say Italian. If I had an Italian name everytime I said it people would be looking at me like, no you are not.

    I disagree Mei-Ling that it is neccessarily seen as a betrayal. Personally, I know lots of real kids who have changed their names, granted I am from Northern California, but still... I never interpreted that it that way. If my son wanted to change his name I would not think that meant he was rejectcting or betraying me. I would support whatever. Nothing can change the fact that he is my son.

    With my adoptive family I would hope that that decades I have spent attending to their needs, their holidays, etc., not because I have to, but because I want to should be evidence enough that I am/do consider myself their daughter. That we have fights and resolve our arguments and I don't go away should be evidence enough.

    An adoptee shouldn't be held to a different standard than a real kid. Yes, we have differences, but I would support my child in whatever he needed for his personal sense of worth and expect the same. That you would not says a lot about the culture you were raised in, none of it good.

    It suggests an insecure bond. While I have a strong bond with my own mother (natural) I also do with my adopive family. Just as I do with my son and if he wanted to change is name to Ninja Turtle, Raggedy Andy or Troy (his preferred name, which he has told me) I would support him. I gave him a name I thought would look good on a resume, that sounded gentle and masculine to me, classic, in hopes of his well-being. If as an adult it doesn't meet his needs, I would support him.

    ReplyDelete
  75. That was a long way to say, I chose my child's name to serve HIM not me, and if it failed for whatever reason I would be happier than a pig in sh*t to help him change it.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Once again, it's nearly impossible to struggle against the dominant discourse. It can be done, but a lot has to be...withstood.

    That's what we have been trying to do try to do here.

    ReplyDelete
  77. "I never interpreted that it that way. If my son wanted to change his name I would not think that meant he was rejectcting or betraying me."

    Except... your son isn't adopted.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Lorraine, I really like your edited version of my statement. It *is* about withstanding the criticism of others if you choose to make the change.

    ReplyDelete
  79. "Except... your son isn't adopted."

    Have to say I agree with this point made by Mei Ling. I believe there is an inherent insecurity in adoption (i.e. Is this really my child? Are these really my parents?) and that that is why the name change issue can be threatening to APs and can seem like a repudiation of them even when it's not. I don't think this situation can be likened to a mother raising her bio-child and him feeling like his name doesn't suit him.

    ReplyDelete
  80. @ Mei-Ling:

    Right, I know my son wasn't adopted he was born with the great rush of my body fluids, I remember. That is why I spent the rest of my comment explaining why I don't think adoptees should be held to a different standard. The onus is on the adoptive parents to get over it, they elected to adopt.

    That adoptees themselves are holding themselves to a more obligated standard is something I would encourage them to reject.

    A parent's job is to nurture a child in my opinion not extract bits of that child as if he/she were a possession.

    @ Robin:

    Well why not?

    ReplyDelete
  81. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  82. My adopted last name is horrible. I changed it to my married name the minute I returned from my honeymoon.
    My married name is extremely...ethnic and in no way represents my actual heritage but it's better than my adopted maiden name.
    My maiden name is so bad that when I recently told a group of 11-year-olds what it was, they immediately burst out laughing and told me that if they had that name they would have gone to court and changed it the minute they were able (!!!).
    Actually, I'm kind of surprised that no one with that last name including my adopted brother has considered doing this.
    Anyway, it's not a name I have ever felt an attachment to and I was glad when it was gone.
    I love my married name, maybe because I adore my very hot and adorable husband who agreed to share it with me.
    I don't think my hatred of my last name had anything to do with adoption though.
    With that said, I do love both of my biological parents' last names and would love to have either of them. I kind of feel ripped off by the fact that I legally have no right to either name. :(

    ReplyDelete
  83. @Elizabeth,
    You have my admiration. I don't think I would be functioning at all if my happily married parents dumped me on strangers just because of my gender. There is more than enough misogyny in this world. I hate it when women contribute to it.

    ReplyDelete
  84. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  85. "That was a long way to say, I chose my child's name to serve HIM not me, and if it failed for whatever reason I would be happier than a pig in sh*t to help him change it."

    YES! THIS!

    Being a parent isn't about self-validation and putting yourself and your own ego first, it is about doing what is right and putting your kids first at all times! Thank you, Joy, for putting it so well.

    In regards to the rest of the general conversation here, I want to say something about my name change. My name should be about how I identify as an adult. I identify as part of FOUR different families. My two first families, my adoptive family, and my married/immediate family with my husband and our children. I want my name to reflect the families I belong to and that belong to me.

    I have no problem with my adoptive families and am not doing this in spite of them.

    Why is it that when adoptees change their names (some) people call it disloyal or say that the adoptee is doing it out of spite....but when APs want to change the name of their newly adopted kid, it's a given, it's normal, it's expected even?

    ReplyDelete
  86. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  87. A lot of food for thought here...

    All I want to add is that the current ABBY is not the one of years ago. Someone (her daughter?) has taken over her popular column since her death.

    The Abby I knew published a letter (in the mid-80s) from a birthmother who had found the child she lost to adoption and expressed her joy. Abby responded by publishing information about ISRR (International Soundex Reunion Registry). I kept that clipping until my son turned 18 (ISRR requirement that both parties be 18 to register) and then registered what info I had. It took another 8 years for my son to register and two weeks later we were reunited. We met in person 10 days later. I wrote to Dear Abby to thank her, told my story about the difference that initial letter and response had made in my life. She printed it. I still have THAT clipping,

    My point is that the REAL ABBY was more understanding of adoption and its impacts than the new one.

    I don't know what to say about name changes, other than lots of people change their names for a variety of reasons.

    But I do have something to say about some adoptees' lack of understanding of what their birthmothers went through, why we felt compelled to relinquish. This blog talks about all sorts of situations: young mothers, older mothers, unwed and married mothers, poor mothers, those in abusive situations.

    Why are you even reading here if you don't get it? I don't think Lorraine and Jane ever intended for mothers to have to defend themselves here. Because they get it.

    Whole different era. And if we are ever to stop the nonsense of adoption, we have to focus on what's happening today — where woman have choices and are still being entrapped by the industry — and quit blaming what happened 40 or 50 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  88. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  89. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  90. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  91. I do not harbor any ill will towards my first mother. I believe her when she said she was forced to give me up. It was as traumatic for her and caused as much damage to her life as it did to mine. My n-father is a different story. He was certainly able to step up to the plate but instead chose to be a cad.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Just to show that the Dutch domestic adoption is still not dead...
    The adoption stats for the Netherlands in 2010:

    Total adoptions: 672,
    Chinese born: 317, 210 boys !!!
    Haiti born: 58
    Dutch born: 36
    USA born: 33

    Three dozen domestic adoptions in a country of about 16.7 million inhabitants, shows that the practice still continues, to some degree.
    2010 shows a significant reduction of adoption of children before first birthday, relinquished Dutch borns cannot be adopted under 15 months and SN kids are usually kept in foster care too.The adoption numbers have dropped nicely back to the mid 90's levels since annus horribilis 2004 (1378 children adopted into Dutch families)
    China Haiti NL USA Total
    0yr 6 0 1 30 78
    1yr 120 1 12 1
    2yr 108 13 9 1
    3yr 56 17 5 0
    4yr 20 14 1 0
    5yr 2 7 1 0
    old 5 6 7 1

    Mind you, step parent adoptions and 50 Haitan children who immigrated for adoption in 2010, but weren't fully adopted yet at the end of the year were excluded from these data, most orphans are raised by blood relatives,which does not have to involve adoption, though not all adoption by kin is illegal, some orphans, don't have any family left, so the numbers cannot be taken as the relinquishment numbers... That Dutch 0 year baby is way too young for a normal baby relinquishment, and you would expect a bit of adopting against break up of foster families by aging out.

    The USA seems to be the leading neonate producer for the Dutch market.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Oh, I forgot to type in the totals for all ages but the youngest, 0yr: 78, 1yr: 188, 2yr: 160, 3yr: 116, 4yr: 61, 5yr: 27, older: 42...

    As I said before, thus is just about the number of full adoptions, (as opposed to step parent adoptions, in which a child keeps one parent,and gets a new one too), it does not say anything about the tragedies the numbers describe...

    ReplyDelete

BOTH JANE AND LORRAINE WILL BE AWAY FROM COMPUTERS FOR EXTENDED PERIODS IN EARLY AUGUST. PLEASE BE PATIENT.

We welcome comments from all, and appreciate letting us know how you relate to adoption when you leave your first comment.


COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish or not. We are trying to find a way to end the endless anonymous comments, which drive many of us crazy. Pick a name! Any name. Choose the NAME/URL selection. You do not need a URL. Your name does not have to be your name IRL though we appreciate those who do, and we understand due to the sensitive nature of our subject, many will prefer to use a nom de plume. Okay with us, but the endless Anons are tiresome for everyone. If you post as "anonymous" you run the risk of not being posted.

We try to be timely but we do have other lives.

For those coming here from Networked Blogs on Facebook, if it does not allow you to make a comment, click the "x" on the gray "Networked Blogs" tool bar to exit out of that frame and it should then let you comment.