Identity. A big topic for an adoptee. Am I the sum parts of my parents, birth and adoptive? Are my children the sum parts of their birth parents and their father and me, adoptive? If so, why so? Is it that they only are who they are because of their genetic link to the past and the family that we have created for them, as my parents did? Of course there is more to it.

 This morning I had a conversation with my daughter (adoptive) who mentioned that she read somewhere that middle names are usually reserved for getting someone's attention. She recalled that when I used her middle name or her brother's, something was brewing, but it always got their attention. That isn't the reason why I'm telling you about our conversation. The point is that my son has two middle names. His first middle name is his birth father's name and his second is the name his birth parents, together, chose for him. This is so meaningful for both him and me. For an adoptee, a "first" name is something we often fantasize about, Susan, Cynthia, Scarlett, were my top three. And there were times I visited the painful thought that I may have once been nameless.  As much as we "identify" with the name our adoptive parents have given us, it probably was not our "first" name. For this reason, I am grateful that my son can consider all of his names important to his identity. The name his birth parents gave him, his birth father's name, the name his father and I gave him, after my father. That is, I think, how identity is made clearer and more cemented into time and place for an adoptee. I don't know if my daughter's birth mother had named her. I know it would mean the world to my daughter to know her "first" name. Maybe the name her birth mother never shared with anyone. I hope she learns it one day.

When I read my non-identifying information from the agency for my own adoption and my eyes rested on, "She named you Donna," I felt the cement of myself, once tethered by fantasy, identified. That my birth mother named me, that I learned of it, gave me an identity rooted in my birth and not just my adoption.

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