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Re-thinking the Gay Father Name Game

two fathers posting withe their son and daugter by a lake in the woods

Google me.

You can’t tell me you don’t Google people. I admit I Googled my husband before our first date.

You’ll probably find articles about my life as a gay dad, various press releases that have my name at the bottom, and maybe a few of my social media profiles.

What you won’t find is my life before 2010.  Did I ask Google to remove salacious stories about me? I’ll never tell! Was I a technophobe who tried my hardest to ensure I didn’t have a digital footprint? Far from it.

It’s because I took my husband’s last name.

Traditional? Yes. Hard for some people to understand? Of course.

Important I did it? Completely.

For many, changing their name would mean giving up their identity, and I absolutely understand and respect that criticism. But for me, changing my name only strengthened my identity as a husband and father.

When we were going through the adoption process, we fully intended to hyphenate our future kids’ names.  Our plan was to keep our own names – my husband is a teacher and I work in the somewhat conservative business world; our last names are our professional identities.

However, when our son was born, we started writing out his name – fully hyphenated – on the adoption papers, birth announcements, and other forms.  It just didn’t feel right.  While his last name was going to be a combination of ours, for the first time, my husband and I didn’t feel like a truly united family.

So we tried combining our name – but Buckvin, Cuckley, and Bolvin all sounded kind of odd and a bit crude.

So I did it. I became a Colvin.

Why did I change my name, and why didn’t my husband? Simple – my husband gave me Daddy.

You see, in a same-sex household, that’s another name game changer. Do you do Daddy and Dad?  Dad and Dad? Dad and Papa? Or something else entirely?

We went with Daddy and Poppa, because as my ever sweet, always perceptive husband said, “Ian, I just want to be a Dad. You need to be a Dad”.

And he was right.

All my life I’ve had an enormous desire to be a Dad.  If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was always a Dad (and after Dad, the second answer, depending on my age and in no particular order, was teacher, public relations guy or actor. Or dog).  But first and foremost, it was a Dad.

I will forever be grateful to my husband for giving me Daddy.  And more than that, for falling in love with me and taking this magnificent journey together into parenthood, so my dream of being a Dad could come true.

It wasn’t easy becoming a parent –  the home study, police record checks, weeks of classes, and then the  waiting … waiting … and more waiting …

But the moment I met both my kids, I knew I was a Dad – their Daddy.

So the least I could do for my husband was become a Colvin.

Because he gave me my dream of a family – and my new name, Daddy.

To help find your path to fatherhood through gay adoption, surrogacy or foster care check out the GWK Academy.

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