Join Angela, Axel, Abel and Asher as they welcome their new sibling home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What's in a name?

My mother will not be happy I'm sharing this story, but I don't think she's reading here, so maybe I can get away with it. LOL

When I was 17, I decided, in and of my own free will, to join the U.S. Army. Have I mentioned that I'm a slightly independent thinker, and don't often do what everyone else is doing just to be like them? Just to make sure, when my parents found out I was doing this, my mom checked around and not one single friend of mine was enlisting. Just me. All by myself. All 80 lbs soaking wet of me.

Anyway, my parents didn't know I had gone through all the testing, etc. until it was actually time to sign on the dotted line. I was only 17 after all, so I needed my parents' consent.

I also needed a copy of my birth certificate.

It is never good to keep secrets from your children. Even secrets you think are harmless. Seventeen year old girls have a way of making everything into big drama, and although most people thought I was pretty reserved, I just hid my dramatic qualities better.

Oh, the secret? Well, when I was born, my parents did not name me "Leah". In fact, they named me "Kimberlee", but when I was three weeks old they decided they liked "Leah" better so they just started calling me that. By the time 1971 and Kindergarten registration rolled around, well you could just go pick up any kid off the street and enroll them under whatever name you wanted and say they were yours and nobody asked any questions, so I was enrolled as "Leah".

Jump ahead a few more years to my need for my birth certificate and mom's need to explain the fact there is a different name on it. This caused the 17 year old me to think back to the times my blonde haired, blued eyed siblings teased the dark haired, dark eyed me about who my "real father" was. And now I believed them. When I ordered my leather bound senior year book, I chose to have "Kimberlee Leah" put on for my name instead of Leah. Seriously, this moved me to my core.

And then within a couple of years I'd forgotten about it.

Then in 2003 I needed a passport, which required my birth certificate again. DOGGONE IT! There was that name issue again. You can't get a passport when your drivers license and social security card have one name, but your birth certificate has another! UGH! I was required to order a copy of my military discharge papers and my high school diploma showing that I've gone by "Leah" my entire life. My passport was issued, and I was allowed to forget about it again.

UNTIL NOW!!!!

With an international adoption there is no such thing as "forgetting about it". So this week, amidst studying for and taking my midterms, I've been gathering documents: Certified marriage certificates (x2!) Military Discharge Papers, Passport, High school and college transcripts, and a notarized copy of request to amend my birth certificate ONCE AND FOR ALL!

In about three weeks, my name will forever be "changed" to Leah. That still doesn't really answer the question of the dark hair and eyes though, does it? LOL JUST TEASING MOM!!!!


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