Photo by Shanna Hullender Photography

"Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

All In A Name

School starts tomorrow for Fuller and Shyne. Fuller will be going into 2nd grade and Shyne into Kindergarten. For those of you that have followed this blog or followed me on Facebook, you know that I was hardly impressed with our school and school system this last school year. Anyway, our school got a new principal this year. It was truly an answered prayer and may have been the best news I had all summer. Plus, we now have a new Superintendent and two new school board members. So needless to say, I'm feeling much more optimistic about this school year.

I tried in February to change the boys names at school as DFCS had given us paperwork stating they could go by their new names although we had not yet finalized the adoption. However, the BOE would not accept it although every other entity that we dealt with did. So a week and a half ago, I took all the necessary adoption papers down to our Board of Education so that we could get our boys names changed to ours on their school record. They directed me to the boy's actual school. I went to the school and a lady met me at the door telling me that parents were not allowed into the building until this week. She said that she could make a copy and leave it for the clerk. She slipped away for a few moments and then cracked the door open and handed me the copies and off she went. So here I stand outside banging on the door because I needed our original notarized papers back, not the copies. I reiterated that it was of utmost importance that their names be changed before the school year started and she said she would pass on the message.

We arrived today at school for the teacher meet and greet event. All the names were correct everywhere we went until we got to the cafeteria. I wrote out my check for over $500 and put the boy's names as requested in the memo line on the check (Both boys will eat breakfast and lunch at school for a whopping total of $1030 for the school year). The cashier flipped through some list and then proclaimed "He is not on here...oh, yeah his name changed. What was it last year?" Before I could answer, she answered her own question out loud by blurting out Fuller's given name at birth. There were people standing in line behind me and of course I had the kids with me. Then she blurted out Shyne's birth name, how the names on the check need to match the name in the system, yada, yada...WHO GIVES A CRAP LADY?!?!?

I nicely tell the cashier that since the adoption was finalized that their new adopted names should be reflected in the computer system. She referred me back to the Board of Ed. Then she tells me that all the kids lunch numbers in the entire county is changing this school year. She writes the new lunch numbers out on a piece of paper with their birth names. Basically, she refused to acknowledge that the kids names had been changed. I take her pen and scribble out their names and write their correct names which she knew as they were right there in front of her!

Of course everyone in earshot hears this exchange. At this point, I'm not real happy. I tell the cashier that the Board of Ed sent me to the school with my adoption paperwork and there is a copy right across the hall in the main office. She still refers me to the Board of Ed. Long story short, after several phone calls no one seems to know who can and will change the boy's names in the cafeteria system.

When Fuller first came to us last summer he begged and pleaded to be called Michael Jackson. That was definitely a "no go!" However, I was happy that he was actually requesting to be called something other than his given name because we were very uncomfortable with it. See, he was Junior and had been named after his natural father. Being a namesake is cool and all but then on the other hand there are some people that you really don't need to be named after. There are details here that I'm not willing to share on this blog but consider this: DFCS doesn't terminate rights on Mother and Dad of The Year. So with that in mind, Fuller was his middle name so we made it his first name and then added a new middle name that he picked out all by himself - Billy's middle name. When we registered him for school last year I wrote his nickname as "Fuller" so at least he got called by his new first name all last year.

Of course there is always the safety concern too. I don't know if the birth family knows the kid's new names or not. However, I don't suppose I would be throwing our whole lives out here on the Net for the entire world to see if that was a big concern for me. I do find assurance in the fact that a bunch of EDUCATED EDUCATORS at the BOARD OF EDUCATION cannot figure out how to change a name in a computer system! So, hopefully the people of concern in our situation won't know how to play the name game!

Family is important as are the names that associate you with that family. I felt sorry for little Fuller as he stood there and witnessed all the unnecessary stupidiness today. Our kids were so excited when they finally got to take our surname upon finalization of their adoptions. Today they were elated about the start of a new school year. My little troopers have marched full speed ahead in their new lives while never spending much time looking back. However, no matter how happy and rosy their little lives are there are days like this when reality takes a big dump on them.


  1. The really crazy thing is by law they can only be registered in school using their legal name. It might be time for some scare tactics (like threatening to call a lawyer).