While I can recognize the underlying cause of your frustration, while
I can sympathize with your indignation, while I can even understand
your inclination to demand fair and just treatment under the law, I
also can?t help but tell you, that in my opinion you are going about
this all wrong.
Your little girl has already been given a full dose of modern day
family life. Unwed parents, absentee father, incarcerated father,
single parent living, mom?s new man in her life, step-parents, long
distance relocation, and a name change, that we know about from your
question. Isn?t that enough for a while for one little girl?
I?m not saying you?re wrong in thinking your rights may have been
violated. I?m not even saying your wrong for being mad about it. I am
asking you if as a father, you really believe the fight you are
seeking to engage in is in her best interest. Is this your anger and
frustration or is this a bona fide attempt to improve the life of your
child. I think we both know the answer to that question. Maybe what
you should do is forget the name and concentrate on the child.
A child isn?t a piece of real estate you stick the flag in and
proclaim ownership for the queen. What a child seeks and needs most is
a sense of consistency and stability, a sense of well being, and the
psychological comfort born of the knowledge that someone cares about
them. If you accept that basic theory, how can you not stop a minute
and question your own motives and implied actions. Hypothetical
question: assuming you are 100% correct and your rights have been
trampled. You go to court and your attorney beats up their attorney
mercilessly. In winning your case you now enforce your hard won right
to re-change your child?s surname back to yours at school, at the
doctor, in the girl scouts, with her friends, everywhere and anywhere
she exists. She will change her name again and now be known by your
last name. How have you improved her life? What stability, comfort,
well being, pleasure, lesson, insight, love or understanding have you
gifted her that will help her bond with you? There are many ways to be
right. In this case legally right probably isn?t the right way.
Why not take the time, energy, effort, and money that you seem willing
to commit to the re-name project and redirect it? Put it into being an
active, integral, interested, connected part of her life. Become
someone she can count on when things are tough and share the
highlights with when it?s all going her way. Be her daddy as well as
her father instead of being the guy at the other table in the
courtroom. You are irreversibly her father forever no matter what her
name is at school. Be her dad and you will share the joys of her life
not because a court order demands it but because you are an important
component thereof. If you can come away with a heartfelt, ?I love you
dad? from your daughter, what difference to you where she is listed
alphabetically at school. If you do this right, they can take your
name away but they can never take your daughter.
Just an opinion from someone outside looking in.