What’s In A Name?

Rebekah Diane. Pretty cool name, huh? I really like it. It’s my given name. If I understand the story correctly, it’s the name my dad chose for me. I think it has character. Rebekah is an unusual spelling in our society – though straight out of the Bible – and that sort of appeals to me. I’ve been told the name “suits” me – which makes sense because it’s the name I’ve worn for more than 37 years.

But it’s not my original name. Jennifer Kay is.

I suspect many people play a “what if” game at some point in their lives. They reflect on a major decision they’ve made and ask themselves what if they would have chosen a different course of action.

I’ve played a “what if” game my entire life. My “what if” started when I first talked with my parents about being adopted. “What if” I had stayed with my natural parents? “What if” I had been able to convince them to keep me? “What if” I had a whole different life?

For me, the “what if” game became a little more serious on the day I opened my identifying records from the State of Tennessee. In the stack of papers was a birth certificate bearing the name “Jennifer Kay.” Those of you who know me can attest to the fact that I typically have a lot of common sense, but not on that day. As I looked at the record, I seriously wondered how the State of Tennessee could get my records confused with another individual’s records and send me a birth certificate belonging to this “Jennifer Kay” person. I mean, the mistake could be a little understandable – after all we shared the same birthdate and were born in the same hospital – but still, how could that happen?! And then it hit me, I WAS Jennifer Kay.

I had two identities – two clear, legal identities. Yeah, I know, one was wiped away legally at my adoption, but still – I have been two people. Let that sink in for a few minutes. And then play the “what if” game in your own head – knowing you have two distinct paths open before you, with neither in your control. Pretty deep, huh?

You see, when most people play “what if” it’s because they are looking at a “fork in the road” moment. My “what if” is deeper than that – it’s about the difference between being Rebekah Diane and Jennifer Kay. It’s the difference between two complete identities. It’s the difference between two separate lives. That is what’s in a name for me – two paths for a single life – over which I had no control. Interesting, huh?

File this under things I wonder. You’ll be reading lots of things in that category if you keep reading this blog. I have 37 years worth of wonderings.


Welcome to My Blog

37 years, 8 months, and 6 days ago I was born. About 10 days after that my natural mom gave up her parental rights so I could be adopted. She was barely 17. My adoptive parents were 26 and 25 and my adoptive brother was 7.

Why do the numbers matter?

  • My age is important because it has taken me this long to commit my thoughts, reflections, and anxieties to paper – well, in this case, to screen
  • My natural mom’s age is important because it represents the primary reason she was encouraged to terminate her parental rights – “too young” to raise a child
  • My adoptive parents’ ages matter because they represent the stability that was promised from another family
  • And my brother, well, his age matters because he was to become my playmate and my best friend – in spite of our age gap

This blog is about my journey through those 37 years, 8 months, and 6 days as an adopted kid – a journey I anticipate will continue as long as I live because I always have been and always will be “adopted.”

I don’t know how often I will post – though I will try to post regularly.

I don’t know how relevant my journey will be to yours – though I suspect you will find common ground with me.

I don’t know how helpful my words will be to those who want to be “enlightened” on an adopted kid’s perspective – though I chose a public forum for my writing in hope that I can bring something of value to the table.

I do know this is an important journey for me, and I welcome your feedback as I relate it to you.

Welcome to my blog,