Thursday, September 8, 2011

What's in a Name: How I Became Rebecca Hawkes

Today my approach to the theme of "return" is genealogy, or the return to ancestral roots.

For many adoptees, this is a complicated matter. The adoptive family's history is not really our own, and if we have not succeeded in locating our family of origin, our biological roots may remain a mystery. Like medical history, this was assumed to be something that we could live without, but it is a loss, one that adds to the complexity that so many adoptees already experience around matters of identity.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have reconnected with my "blood mother," and one of the many gifts that I received from this reunion was a genealogy. And in my case, there was a surprising twist. When I shared the information with my adoptive mother, she noticed a similarity. We did some more research and discovered that six generations back, my two mothers' genealogical lines converge at single point: the union of Ebenezer and Anna (Breed) Hawkes.

And so I am Rebecca Hawkes. It is not my legal name nor is the one that I am generally known by in my offline life. But is the name that I have claimed as my own in this space and for my open-adoption advocacy because it represents and unites the two parts of myself and my history.

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  1. What a bizarre twist of fate to have ancestors in common from both your families. Very cool!

  2. Now THAT is so cool! It really is such a small world!

  3. Well, it's a small state, at least -- or one with a relatively low population rate, to be more precise. I'm originally from Maine, and apparently we are all related there. I have since met several other people who are related to me through this same line. But yes, it is pretty cool!

  4. You blog is such a find. I have two adopted children and you have introduced topics that are important to my family. How you became Rebecca Hawkes is beautiful.

  5. Wow! Highly unlikely for that to happen. Your site is awesome and I will be a return reader for sure. From Members To Remember Event! :)

  6. That's really interesting to find out where different family lines converge and diverge - must be wonderful to have a greater sense of one's history. Some relatives of mine adopted a baby (who's now 6), and wanted to give him a name that reflected both his birth family's culture and his new family's line, so he has five names (one first, three middle, and one last) - each of those attached to something meaningful for him.
    Thanks for sharing your story,