Our Given Name
Our Given Name
They must have known I lost my name and wrote this clever, fun book for once-little girls just like me. Maybe I could write my own book :). I believe when society includes the word “adoption” to a child’s less-than-perfect beginnings, it somehow is supposed to always make the story have a happier ending.
As an adult, I asked my adoptive mother who named me. Strangely, she flat-out refused to tell me. I asked the doctor who delivered me and who, as my hospital birth records show, I was discharged to late in the evening, “Why is it that your wife’s nickname is Jo and your daughter’s name is Ann, yet my adoptive mother won’t tell me who named me?” He also answered me like he was holding all the cards, “I am not going to tell you!”
A few years after his death, I asked his daughter named Ann, “Your father said that he took several babies home for an adoption agency. Do you remember him taking me home?” (She would have been a teenager at the time). Miraculously, she did partly answer my question in a cordial phone message. “I asked my older sister and to the best of our recollection dad never brought any babies home from the hospital. I will talk with the nurse he worked with for many years and get back to you.”
Guess what? She never did, even when I sent her a brief follow-up letter a few months later. The adoption agency refuted her father’s claims as well, and the director added that they had nothing to do with my placement in the first place.
So in the meantime, one of my adoptive aunts who, still to this day, knows nothing about the ridiculous tug-of-war I had to endure while attempting to find even simple answers to what I believe most of us take for granted, “What significance did naming me JoAnne have to someone or anyone for that matter?” One day, out of the blue, this aunt mentions that my adoptive mother was close to one of my grandmother’s extended family and supposedly that relative had a baby named JoAnne who passed away. It was important to me to find this mystery baby in old genealogy records, but I never did :(. It would have certainly felt less empty than it does now if I learned I had been named after a precious child whose life was cut short, rather than this other nonsense.
My birth certificate still has no name.