Names: Blessing or Burden?

I write this post with my daughters blessing. We wanted to share this experience because thousands of children share a name with a biological person that they do not know or are disconnected from.

name is a term used for identification. Names can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context. The entity identified by a name is called its referent. A personal name identifies, not necessarily uniquely, a specific individual human (

My daughter does not have a relationship with the person whose last name was on her birth certificate and when she was in elementary school, she would write my last name as hers…despite what official records cited.

She told me that she wanted to have the last name of the person who loved and supported her. The parent who parented her and was PRESENT. I was reluctant to file a Name Change Application with the court initially because she was so young and I wanted to “vet” her feelings out. To make sure she was firm in her position and her feelings because feelings can be fleeing…they do change.

She expressed to me the sadness she felt when she heard “his” last name and how it was a daily reminder to her that he was not present in her life. It was a reminder to her that for all of the myriad of reasons, her sperm donor had not legitimated her or sought visitation rights when the window to do so was open.

I told her not to worry about legitimization and that they only thing he had to leave her were debt, disgrace and a name that in the circles he run in; is dung. His most prized possession, his deceased mothers fur coat, the most valuable thing he had is hanging in my closet. I have it and she will have it.

He owns nothing. He is nothing.

He does work and the State makes him contribute financially and that contribution helps me to feed her and her cat. Cat liter is pricey.

She told me one day in the car, “Mommy, lets do it. I am ready to put that man behind me. I want my name changed!”.

It was such a big girl moment for a little girl and such a wonderful testament of her resolve, character, strength and vision. No tears, she said it with a smile.

When I began a relationship with a man who jumped at the opportunity to love her…despite me, I knew God had answered her prayers for a father. They hit it off and I was standing there like, okay; this is WAY bigger than me.

I love this dude with a love that words will not allow me to express. He stepped in and stepped up and showed out. Our schedules may cross and we miss calls and texts, but those two are video chatting every chance they get. When he flew to Atlanta for “their” weekend, when we were in a “getting on my nerves” space, it was confirmed.

This dude loves this girl for real, for real.

She told me that she liked him better and loved him more than she could ever her biological. The biological was simply the source of some DNA but the love she needs, the time she warrants, the wisdom that will carry her through comes from the heart of a man who chose her and that my friends in more powerful than the heated orgasmic sex I had outside on a deck overlooking the lake with a fool.

Today, we are thankful. When we let go of our burdens, blessings abound. So as my baby girl reads this draft, a smile overtakes her contenace, “I like it Mommy, I like it a lot”.

So to all the children who are feeling a certain kind of way because of a certain kind of fool. Stop. Don’t. Know that what you want and who you need is right on the other side of the burden.

The Blessing is coming.

-Dana Lena

Penning our Journey

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