This has been a really busy two weeks! Had to get activities set up for Little Guy for the semester (he's going to work two days a week and go to class 3 days), get Big Kid to appointments, and get The Happening Dude to his driver's test. The only DMV that does that is over an hour drive away.
Which comes to the name thing. This has been a major pain-in-the-pooper.
For those who haven't been around my blog for a long time, The Happening Dude is really our nephew. You can read about how he came to be with us here.
My brother and his wife adopted THD and his sister out of foster care. And then promptly divorced and she moved to another state. She rapidly remarried and then started working on all 4 of their kids.
My brother's last name (and my maiden name) is ordinary enough. However, if you deliberately mispronounce it, it's a word that basically means hard-on.
Ex knew that my brother would never allow her new husband to adopt all 4 of his kids, so she started making fun of their last name. She made them ashamed of it, and then suggested they get my brother to allow them to change their name to her current name. They called and harangued him ("kids are making fun of me!" "I want the same name as Mommy!") and eventually wore him down. He agreed to it. Dumbass.
The problem is that Ex never notified the state where THD was adopted and from which she was receiving foster/adopt benefits of the change. So in their system, THD and his sister were still listed as Hard-On and not Smith.
When she and her new hubby divorced, she moved back to her home state, and within a year put THD back in to foster care. After a couple of years, when she had no intention of reunifying, we were fortunate to get him.
Except the kid has been in name limbo. Legally, his name is Smith. All of his official documents say differently. We used them to get his driver's permit, but knew that we'd have to get it all straightened out. Although my brother granted us custody of THD (after ex relinquished control), he is not an on-the-ball person and never managed to track us down a copy of the name change, and I didn't have the legal authority to request it. We all decided to wait until THD turned 18 (a few weeks ago) to do anything about it.
Shortly before his birthday, he emailed his mom. It was the first communication he'd had with her in a few years. He politely asked if she had a copy of the order of the name change and if he could have one.
"I have a certified copy, but I'm saving it for your sister. You'll have to get your own. Good luck to you."
WTF? Hubby and I suggested he write back to her and ask if she could just fax a COPY of the order so we could get the case number and court it was issued in. He did. She never responded.
Fortunately, tracking down the paperwork was easier than we thought.
Now convincing the DMV of this preposterous story was another issue. Gah! But it all worked out.
While we were driving home, THD casually mentioned that he wanted to change his name again. He'd already spoken to Hubby and wanted to change his name to ours.
I almost drove off the road.
He explained his reasoning. He didn't want to carry the name of the man who was briefly married to his adopted mother. He had an aversion to the "Hard-on" name, and his adopted dad had only "sort of" parented him for a few of his 18 years. He had no affinity for his birth family and didn't want to go back to his original name. He wanted to be a part of our family, if only by a name.
Bless his heart. After all those years of being shuffled around and in and out of care, he wants to be identified as one of our clan.
I reassured him that no matter what, this is his home. We are his peeps. There's a lot of things for him to think long and hard about, but as a young guy, he has a lot of time, and we'll support any decision he makes.
One thing he is sure about is that he wants to legally sever all ties with his adopted mom. After our scare with Big Kid, where I had to make all the medical decisions for him when he couldn't make them for himself as next-of-kin, THD is afraid to relinquish any of that authority to her (thinks she'd tell them to pull the plug).
Lots to think about.