Would I consider changing my name? Yes I would. I recently had quite a dilemma over whether or not to change my last name. My step father’s last name is Dawson and it is the name my mother has as well, while my sister and I remained Lisanti’s. Due to my relationship with my biological father, or lack thereof, I wanted my name to be Dawson at my high school graduation to honor the father who supported and raised me. We looked into the adoption process but discovered it would be very lengthy and would not go through in time for my graduation. In addition to this it required I contact my biological father, something that was not possible. Next we looked into a legal name change where I would simply change my last name. This too was a lengthy as well as expensive process.
It was at this point that I began to have second thoughts. Although my biological father and I are not close, I am very connected to my aunts and uncles and other relatives from his side of the family. I always took pride in being a Lisanti because it reminds me of the good people in my family. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings by making them think I was ashamed to be related to them and my biological grandmother especially took it hard. I also love how unique it is because I’ve never met a Lisanti that I wasn’t related to. My last name has meaning to me because it connects me to my Italian heritage that I’ve always been very proud of. When it finally came time to graduate, I requested that my name be read hyphenated as Lisanti-Dawson.
This event proved to me how connected people re to names. I never gave my last name much thought until I considered changing it and faced a difficult personal decision as I attempted to honor both sides of my family without hurting either. I will perhaps change my name if I get married or consider a hyphenated option because although my name is just a word it makes me feel closer to my family.