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Changing My Name

It’s what my mother called me for 6.5 years.  Memories of her scolding Haebeom linger in my memory.  It’s how my mother’s side of the family refers to me when I visit Korea: “Haebeom this,” “Haebeom that,” “Haebeom, you need more soju,” “Haebeom we don’t think you should do that,” etc.  It’s the name and identity I’m reclaiming – Haebeom.

Soon official documents will say Kevin Haebeom Vollmers, not Kevin Douglas Ost-Vollmers.  The change is something I welcome; Haebeom, whom I neatly tucked away (out of necessity) in the far corners all of these years, is ready to reemerge as I begin to journey through another chapter of my life.  Honestly, I’m unsure how well the integration of Haebeom will go in the immediate future, but I’m certain the merger will eventually result in a kinder, gentler, empathetic, compassionate, grounded, and understanding me.


4 Comments on Changing My Name

  1. legitimatebastard // March 25, 2013 at 2:31 pm // Reply

    May I ask a few questions?
    What “official documents” are you referring to?
    I ask for several reasons.
    Because I am an American domestic adoptee, born and adopted in the same city, I know only that I have a sealed New York State birth certificate, and a falsified New York birth certificate. I did not change my name when I was married, and there was no need for me to go back to my “maiden” name after divorce, so I don’t know how that is done.
    I don’t know what a foreign-born adoptee’s official documents are. Do you have a birth certificate from Korea? Is that sealed, too? When you were adopted, did your adoptive parents get a new, amended – falsified – birth certificate with their names on it and your new adoptive name?
    When you do an official name change, what “official documents” are changed?
    Will your amended birth certificate be null and void? What is the status of your Korean birth certificate?
    I’m asking because I am a white woman who doesn’t know the complexities of foreign-born adoptees in America.
    I hope you don’t think my questions too personal. Information is valuable for the long haul of the adoptees rights movement.
    Please see my website and specifically, and
    I welcome your feedback here, and at my website if you’d like to comment there.
    Thank you, and congratulations again!

  2. Good wishes with it. I use my ‘really’ name in adoptionland and find that a happy compromise.Works for me to use two names although I know it wouldn’t for all.

  3. The act of changing your name, for adoptee’s it is taking control for the first time. I was named Cheri by birth mother. First Molly, second Becky and third Linda, and fourth foster home Amy. My adoption name Michelle, the same name of the still-born child that I was adopted to replace. Marriage one, Taylor and two, Clifton. Seven different names, all mean the same….of whom Owns Me.
    My name has given me courage to speak out against child abuse of
    adopted children. My name is my freedom and liberation from where I have been.

  4. Gaye Tannenbaum // April 27, 2013 at 9:28 am // Reply

    I’m seriously considering adding my original surname as my middle name. I don’t have a middle name and my first name was never changed.

    The problem – I’m no longer a US resident so doing it through my “state of residence” is not an option. If I do it down here, I don’t know if the US will accept it and I have a lot more riding on my US identity.

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