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.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

8 comments:

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

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

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  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!

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  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.

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  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! :)

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  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,
    Kristina

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