“The State of Florida will not budge on this unless you can prove something absolutely awful is happening… Like his father is shooting heroin between his toes on a regular basis.” That was one of the first pieces of feedback I received from one of the many attorneys I’ve consulted with over the years regarding my fight to have my son’s last name legally changed to mine. I also heard “the State of Florida would prefer he have an absentee father than no father at all.” Oh wow! THAT’S not a psychological recipe for disaster AT ALL, is it? I am not a victim. I chose his father. This isn’t a pity party. This is a story about a mom’s attempt to right a wrong.
My journey to have my son’s name changed began when he had just turned 4. His bio dad made it crystal clear that he was not going to be a reliable presence in his life and that’s when I realized I had to make it happen for this little boy. I had to make sure he and I had the same last name by the time he started school. I knew kids were unintentionally (sometimes intentionally) cruel and they’d be asking why he and his mommy didn’t have the same last name. I knew each time it would be a piercing reminder that he’d been abandoned and those were feelings I was laser focused on avoiding for him. Entering a school environment is life-altering enough, I didn’t want to ice the shit-filled cake.
And around every corner I was met with resistance. What the attorney’s said very quickly proved to be true. What concern is it of the state that my child is the only human being he knows with his last name? Why should they care that any time I took him anywhere that paperwork was required I’d be forced to explain (almost always in front of him) why we have different last names? COUNTLESS times I’ve picked this little boy up from school and he’s repeated stories to me that have straight up BROKEN my heart. Of kids telling (not asking) him he must be adopted and he can’t possibly be his mommies REAL child. Him questioning the truth. So many tears have flowed from both of us.
I obviously never accomplished my goal of changing his name before grade school. His bio father refused to allow it. At that point I had already met and fell in love with my now husband and every attorney told us there would be no hope of a name change until we were married and my child would be ASSURED a father. GTFOH with that garbage. But facts are facts. We didn’t rush our wedding by any means, but it has taken a painfully long time to make this happen.
Today it was finazlied, you guys. Today my son became OUR son. It’s never taken me so long to achieve a goal, but we finally have the same last name for this first time in his entire life. He’s been through SO MUCH in his short time here and I can’t stop crying because he’s wanted this for so long. To live life as an adult not feeling like you belong is gut-wrenching and this is what he’s been experiencing all his life.
I’ve never been able to breathe or sleep easy with this weighing on my mind… The pain this boy has felt.
Tonight I will.