Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What's in a name?

Boy and Girl Child do not have the same last name as Jason and I. Oh, and the dog. Who's name, I recently learned, is Ginger B. Ourlastname. And the B? Apparently stands for "Bread".

Good to know.

When I gave birth to Boy and Girl Child their sperm donor was long gone. But we were still legally married and I was so dreadfully ashamed of having been left by my husband while I was pregnant and whatnot so Boy and Girl Child have that asshats last name.

I didn't change my name after I got divorced either. I wanted the three of us to have the same name. I figured it would cut down on the questions like, "You have two infants. Where the hell is your husband?"

(It didn't. It was just what I thought)

I was glad to change my last name when I married Jason. Our last name is pretty unusual but it's a nice name. I like it.

I do not like my children's last name. I did not like it when I married that douchewad and I don't like it even more now.

When I was in Kindergarten there was a little boy named Jamie in our class. He was an unmitigated ass. As an adult, I can look back on this person and realize that he probably had a really horrible family life and home and that's what made him act out in the ways he did. At the time, though, at age 4-5? I just thought he was so horrible.

One day Jamie came in to school and announced that his mother had married a man named Willis McCooterface (not really, I can't remember the man's name). Jamie further informed us that we were all to immediately begin referring to him as Jamie McCooterface.

The teacher insisted on calling him Jamie Vonbadboy. She refused to call him Jamie McCooterface.

I don't remember everything that was said. It was nearly thirty years ago. But I do remember, vividly, that they were shouting at one another. The teacher kept insisting that was NOT HIS NAME. He was sobbing, shrieking, flailing about on the floor, SCREAMING that she MUST CALL HIM JAMIE MCCOOTERFACE.

He had to go to the Principal's office. I remember that too.

Perhaps teacher's now are a bit more tolerant of blended families than they were in 1980. I don't know.

We've talked a lot about changing Boy and Girl Child's names. They insist they are part of the Ourlastname family. We don't do it because it would require contact with the sperm donor. I do not want contact with the sperm donor. My husband does not want contact with the sperm donor. Most importantly? My children do not want contact with the sperm donor.

They insist they will change their names legally at age 18. If they do, they will graduate under Ourlastname. It will be like they never had the sperm donor's last name at all, in terms of education.

But there will be other things.

Is a name that important? I just don't know.


Anonymous said...

Aah, names in 'blended families'. Yes, I do think a name is important, but only to the extent to which we let it. Otherwise, I think children know exactly whom they belong to, whether or not they share the same last name.

Julie said...

I think a name is important - it helps define a person's identity.

Christie said...

My situation was a bit like yours. I married my husband when my son (by someone else, who was long gone) was only 4 months old. Immediately, we all began using my new husband's last name, baby included. Like you, we didn't want contact with the sperm donor. I contacted an attorney, who essentially said that a person is NOT legally bound to call themselves by the name on their birth certificate. Meaning, even without taking legal action, there wasn't an issue with enrolling baby in pre-school, soccer, and even elementary school using my husband's last name. Which we did.

Now, maybe not surprisingly, a few years later, sperm donor contacted me and said "I don't want to be responsible for baby (ha! like he ever was! he never paid a dime of child support!), so would your new husband like to adopt him?" Of course the answer was yes, and now baby's name is legally the same as ours.

But the moral of my long story is, you could probably go ahead and start calling your kids by yourlastname, and then let them change it legally as soon as they're of age. Of course, give an attorney a call and find out. One might be kind enough to discuss this with you without even charging you a consulting fee.

Christie said...

Oh! I should add - of course, when I enrolled him in school, I had to show a birth certificate and of course, the last names didn't match. But you know what? The school didn't question it. No kidding.

Military Mom said...

My mother changed my last name to my step father's last name when I was in 3rd grade. All that was required was that she run an ad in the local paper and he (my dad) had 30 days to contest it. My dad didn't even live near us! But it was legal. And no adoption. Check in your state, it may be just that easy.

Angie said...

Ah. . .somehow, my dear, I fear our state won't be so easy to work with. I blame the Governor.

I blame him for a lot of stuff. : )

I hope there's an easy way to resolve this. Now, I'm he**bent on figuring out your last name! : )

Robyn said...

When I was 14, my biological father gave up his rights to me and my brother and my (real) dad (my mother's 2nd husband who I refuse to call my step-dad) adopted us. So, I changed my name one month shy of my 15th birthday.

It was VERY important to me to change it. For one, it felt like it loosened any hold or ties to the side of the family I knew and cared nothing about. For another, it made ME feel like we were the "whole" family that we were. Also, my mom and dad had a daughter and I HATED having a different last name than my sister.

I got married at 27, changing my name again. So, here I am, at 31, on my 3rd last name! I wouldn't have had it any other way.

AndreAnna said...

I think blended families are so normal now, no one bats an eyelash when children have different names from their parents.

In this case, I can see their strong desire to change it.

Is there a way you can get a lawyer to mediate and handle Douche Nugget's portion of it, so you and your family don't have to have contact?

Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity said...

i kept my ex's name when i got divorced as well for the exact reason's that you did. I figured if I ever got remarried the kids would be older and understand more then as opposed to not understand at ages 3 and 1.

Of course, they are 11 and 8 and firmly believe that i will always share their last name... love how they have faith that i will remarry...

there's nothing in a last name. It means nothing. However, pray about it. IS there a statue for abandonment in TN or NC? I think there is in VA so you may not need to contact the sperm donor. Or maybe you're smart and already checked into all of this.

However, I know that if I were a child, and I had a crappy sperm donor, I wouldn't want his last name either.

Jana said...

Now I've got Romeo and Juliet in my head. "What's in a name?" They know who they really belong to and if it would be more detrimental than beneficial to contact sperm donor then it's probaly not a good idea. I know how you feel, I have never had the same last name as my son. When he was born I was engaged to my sperm donor and gave him not only his last name, but his middle name is sperm donors first name. UGH!!! And now that sperm donor is in prison and has cruised in and out of my boy child's life, I wish I would have given him my name. But now I'm married and we would have different names now...not sure what the right thing to do is in these situations. But for now, he'll be Jana's Boy Child Jailbirds Last name.

Anonymous said...

When I was kid, my mom, brother and I all had different last names. No joke. (My mom has been married a lot) And, it never really bothered me, most people didn't know my real dad, and they just knew the man of the hour as my "dad" and it was okay. I never thought of it as a big deal.

But, if they want to change their names, that is great.

And, yes, I think that teachers are more accepting nowadays, I went by a different last name for an entire year and the teachers didn't care.


Betsey Booms said...

I was raised with a different last name and my daughter is being raised that way now.

If you ever want to talk about it... You know where to find me.


Tara said...

wow... I didn't know you had to contact the sperm donor. I didn't have to when I changed my last name from sperm donor's to step father number one, or when I changed it back to my mom's maiden name... but I live in Canada so there must be different rules. I had no idea where sperm donor was anyway so it would have been impossible to contact him!

stepmomof2 said...

I think names are very important and if there is anyway that you can change their names without having contact with you know who, then go for it. Of course, I've never had to deal with this before because the kids have Brian's last name and so do I, but their birth mom and stepbrother have different last names. It's nice to be able to call the school and say this is Mrs. (...), Brad (...)'s mom and not a different last name. If changing it now doesn't work, then like you said, they could always change it when they are 18.

Allie Bear said...

If BC and GC don't have a problem with it then I say keep with the plan and change it when they are 18. If it bothers them and they really want it changed then I say its worth it to contact the ass hat and have it changed, just make sure they really want it changed. There is no point in stirring the pot of it isn't a big deal.

tiger lamb girl said...

I think it's wonderful that BC & GC are cool with changing their names when they're older (to avoid contact with sperm donor now). They seem like very level headed kids. And it's great they'll be able to graduate under your last name!

I think a name is important. But that's just me:). xo

Emma in Canada said...

We have 3 different last names in our house (I use my maiden name, the 2 oldest have their dads, the 2 little ones have William's) and sometimes it can get confusing!

For me, personally, my name is important. I had a hard time changing it when I got married to number 1 and there was a big fight about it. I always hated his last name because a)it's a stupid name and b)it wasn't even his. His step father never legally adopted him because they didn't want to lose the orphan benefits!

I do think, however, that he would have eventually changed it to his step dad's. After all this was the man who raised him.

I guess what I should have just said without all the crap is that I think your name is important. I think it defines who you are. And if your kids want to be Ourlastname now or at 18 because they feel they are the children of you and Jason not you and sperm donor then I think that is great.

Alpha Dude 1.5 said...

I was raised by my step-dad since I was 8.
But I still have my father's last name.
And I'm okay with that.

Sparing you all the details.....

With the power of my heavenly Father, I am breaking the cycle and making my last name one to be proud of.

You all are family. Regardless of some legal document, your kids know who their "real" parents are.

Blessings to you.

Reluctant Housewife said...

Names are difficult. Sounds like you have some pretty awesome kids there.

I'm awarding you and Excellent blog award. You can check it out at my blog.

SJ said...

Names are hard for sure, I can see why you'd want to change it, but I can see why you woudln't. Either way they are a part of an awesome family and they know that.

So what's a name anyway?

The Huffs said...

You were 5 in 1980?!?!?

OMG I graduated college in 1981. In 1980? I was 22 years old.

Holy crap, I feel old now.

Thanks a frickin' lot!! LOL

Sleeping Mommy said...

It's only important if it's important to the person with the name, you know?

PaintedPromise said...

last name? heck, i've had five total. my maiden name, 2 married names, then i legally changed my name to my MOM's maiden name (so we would match, and i didnt' want any of the other 3 ever again), then got married again even though i swore i wouldn't do it again. finally made the right decision so this is the name that will STAY. to the people who are important in my life, my name has always been the same - SUSAN. no matter what comes after it, i am still me... i applaud your kids' reasoning, though, which means i applaud your parenting! i always wished my kids WANTED to change their last names to match mine but they didn't. however i have all girls so i assume someday they will marry and it will change then, my oldest already has...

as the saying goes, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - your kids are awesome no matter what name they bear. i said it before and i'll say it again - just reading about them, i would take them into my home if they needed to be taken in, and that's saying a lot, i am so ready to have no kids...

Kelly M said...

I think it is as important or unimportant as you want it to be. I would say to most people it probably would be extremely important. I mean if it wasn't, why do people spend so much time, wondering what to name their children when they are born?

Megan said...

Only if it is important to you then it is important. I know that didnt make sense, so I will try and explain.

I loved my maiden last name. It meant a lot to me. It was unique. And it was an important name in our town. So...when I got married I became one of those girls. Yes...I became a hyphen.

Oh well. It works for me.

Lil Mouse said...

i am going to pass on some very 'eh hm' interesting information that 'came' to me via something my husband read. it was a real situation, where a lawyer suggested that this grandfather hire the 2 meanest, biggest guys he could find, and PERSUADE the deadbeat dad to hand over parental rights to his daughter, and then she could hand them over to him, the child would be on his insurance and she would get the surgery she so desperately needed. unfortunately, the little girl died before that was possible. but i think its a very important lesson. find out the rules in your state and his state if its different, and if all it takes is his signature, then send out those beefy guys. you could probably get the names of some retired cops from the police station, for instance. chat up some young family guy officer and see if he can persuade any of the beefier/meaner more persuasive ones out of retirement for a job, that includes oh say a lasagna, fixings and cake or something like that if they deliver. not bad, i dont think...

Priscilla said...

Is a name all that important? It is if it is. Genius, I know.

I like my married name even if I'm not married to him anymore. It's my name now, it's my boys name and shoot, I've been Mrs. C for longer than I was Miss W.

My dearly beloved, has the most common name on the planet. Smith. He's not thrilled that I wont change my name. Even if it was cool and unusual and wonderful I don't think I'd change it.

So if it's important. Do it!

And my neighbor registered her son under her husbands name. It's not 'legal' but for school records it doesn't matter. They don't require all the doc's to change it. Here in CA anyway. You may want to look into that.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog all the time, but haven't commented before.
I, too, had a sperm donor for my oldest dd. He paid a whole three months of child support and the govt. could NEVER locate him, although I told them several times he was enlisted in the Army.
Now, I'm glad they never looked for him.
I'm happily married. Not long after I married dh, dd asked him to please adopt her. Of course he did, because he's a great father. He even worked overtime to pay the attorney.
I did not want to contact sperm donor either, but we did not have a choice.
And, he never showed up for the court hearing or anything.
Our court hearing was set for 9 a.m. and we left the court building at 9:15 a.m., with adoption papers signed, because sperm donor didn't show up and the Judge was convinced dh was a great Father. I was amazed at how quick and painless it was.
Just wanted you to know.
I was nervous about having the sperm donor contacted because his family is literally insane. They like burn each other's houses (trailers) down and some are in prison. But, he's never bothered us.

I am Trish Marie said...

All of us have a different last name here. No one gets is. I stopped trying to explain how it happened. I wish I could change it, but it won't ever happen.

Jenski said...

Boy and Girl Child know who their parents are, and that is the most important thing. Would it help to let go of the past if you all stuck together and went through the process of changing their names?

Sweet Tea Addiction said...

Names are very important. I would say girl and boy child clearly identify much more with your new last name. I wish them all the luck in changing it.