Friday, November 20, 2009

What's in a name?

Truth be told, I am scared. I have always been Leilani. When I was first learning how to write my name, my mom had shortened it to Loni. Probably to make it easier on me, but I am Leilani. That's the only name I've known.

Until 2006, that is. I requested a copy of my birth certificate from the Orange County Records Clerk. Oddly enough, they had no record of my birth. I gave them the date, time, hospital, mother's maiden name... nothing. They asked if I had been adopted. Why, yes. Yes I had been. I was born to an unwed mother, who, at the time, put down Michael Hobbs as my birth father. Whether she was certain of that or not, may never be determined.

The man who raised me as my father had adopted me in 1983. So I was told that I would have to go through the State of California for my birth certificate. When I received it, I was surprised to find that my birth name is Lelauna. WTF? I know that my mom didn't know how to spell Leilani, but she told me she took care of it. I figured that it wasn't going to be an issue because I have a Driver's License with my name, so no big deal.

That was until I tried to get a driver's license in my new state. No dice. They took one look at my birth certificate, and because it didn't match my other records, they told me HELL NO as far as getting a driver's license or even ID card. Great.

Just peachy. Now what? I started my petition for a name change. I went down to the county court house and paid $136 for court charges. They told me that I would have to publish it in the paper thrice. No worries. I could do this. Until I found out that it was going to cost an additional $299.79. ARE THEY CRAZY?? I can barely pay all the bills and have enough left over for food and diapers!

Dude, I could totally understand if I wanted to change my name to Penelope Pumpernickel Picklebottom... but Leilani IS my name. It's on my driver's license, marriage license, my property taxes, my children's birth certificates, my high school diploma... I understand why they have these rules in place, but it's just so frustrating feeling like I can't get a driver's license here, even though I was able to get one in California. Granted, I don't know how much money my dad slipped the lady at the DMV because I assume the birth certificate he showed her back in 1996 said Lelauna as well...

So here I am without a legal name. The social security department said that they show my name was legally changed with them in 1992. But they don't keep records that long. So I petitioned the state of California for my legal name. They don't have record of a change. So how did my parents get my name changed with Social Security? They are the only ones who know.

Now I am holding all the pieces to this mystery. When I asked my parents (whom I no longer talk to; you'll see why over the course of my blog) they told me that I would know when the time is right and the universe is aligned. Right, let me tell the judge that. They'll sign off on it right away with THAT information.

Too much drama and stress over something that should have been made right in 1983.

So I am scared. I am going to be in court all alone. Trying to convince someone that I don't know, that this has always been my name and somewhere along the road a mistake was made. All I want is a driver's license. Now whether I can pass the written test... that is to be seen.

1 comment:

Smorg said...

Wow! What a freaky problem to have! Now I have to read more posts to see how this turned out. :oD

ps: I followed a link here from Main St Plaza. :o)