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I found out my birth name before I spoke with my birth mother. I was thrilled to finally know my name. It had been an exhaustive search using the old search methods before internet or cell phones.

I had not anticipated how confusing it was going to be. My birth mother only remembered me by my birth name Cathy. She called me by that name when we spoke. I had been identified by Debbie, my adoptive name, all my life. How could I come to grips with being both of these people at the same time? I had to decide on my permanent "label". The difference now was that I was in control of who I would be. I chose Debbie, the name I had been given as my legal name and the name I had been as far back as I could remember.

I explained my unsettling feeling about my name with my birth mother. She totally understood and I became Debbie to her.

Did I mention one more complication? She had had another daughter after my birth that she was able to keep. Without knowledge of what my name had become, she named my beautiful sister Debbie! My sister had MY NAME. Or was it HER name? It was completely confusing at first. Now I had a sister with my same name and my birth mother had two daughters named Debbie.

My birth mother is deceased now. My birth mother, sister and I laughed and cried over the years at the confusion in the names. We have likened it to George Foreman's children who are all named George, or the characters on the old Bob Newhart show who referred to themselves as "Darrell and my other brother Darrell".

My birth mother would introduce us as "my daughters Debbie" and would follow that with "don't ask, it's a long story". We would all laugh.

Now my advice is only: "Be who you are, decide who you want to be. Love the whole you and move on".

The important thing is you are whole. Embrace the new you!! Your "label" is just window dressing.

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