Monday, October 6, 2008

Naming Laws... What??

Lately, Mi Amor has been talking with me about things that were once virtually off limits--mainly, the prospect of more children--which is a pretty solid indication that he is as ready for this reunion as I am. I have always been very open about the fact that I want more children, but he has more often than not pushed the subject away because he was unsure about our future. No matter how much I attempted to assure him that we would make this move happen, I don't think he believed it would until we actually got our tickets.

Anyway, when La Hija was born, we kind of melded Salvadoran and American naming traditions/styles. We gave her a hyphenated last name but put mine first and then took his mother's last name rather than his father's. Both of us were very happy with this decision because it sounds wonderful and pays homage to his mother since his relationship with his father was... well... unpleasant. So, we were talking about it and somehow I thought to ask if we were going to have issues with the last name of any future children. He basically told me that we would have to give our future children a different last name from La Hija's because of some sort of naming laws there.

I couldn't believe it! I guess it just seems so ridiculously archaic to dictate how names are given to children. I called the consulate to get the details because I was just appalled by this notion that my children may be required by law to have different last names. Evidently, when a child's birth is registered at city hall they dictate that the father's paternal last name comes first, followed by the mother's name. Once that is in the system, we can go through the process of changing the name to what we see fit. I'm sure it won't be as easy as it sounds... it never is.

It would be interesting to do a bit more research on this to find out why this is still happening. I imagine it has something to do with a new focus on requiring paternal support and preventing illegal adoptions and child trafficking.

All of this is far off in the future, anyway--at least a year or two. La Hija is not yet in pre-school and I would like to be settled in El Salvador before we think about adding any family members, not to mention needing to be in better physical shape in order to prevent the pregnancy complications I had the first time around.

All if it's just so interesting to me, though. It's wonderful to see how the simple solidification of a moving date has translated into happiness, confidence and a willingness to imagine, to plan... to dream.

10 comments:

Steve Cotton said...

I am happy to see how your plans are all coming together. Mine seem to be flying apart at the moment, but that is the nature of life.

aighmeigh said...

Thank you :) I'm happy as well--and relieved!

Hang in there with the chaos of planning--it will all work out. It always does--eventually!

chicadedios25 said...

Back when Carlos and I were talking about having children....

He was very adamate about giving the child his fathers last name even though they have no sort of relationship. He was adamate about me having that last name and the child I might have having that last name. I don't know how much Honduran and Salvadoran laws differ but he had a HORRIBLE relationship with his daddy.

aighmeigh said...

It's interesting how differently people deal with their past, isn't it? Mi Amor and I tend to, as they say, march to the beat of a different drum, so it stands to reason that we named out child according to our own rules. I think that the most important aspect of naming our child(ren) is that we came up with something that we both find beautiful and is a melding of our different cultures, families and backgrounds.

I'd certainly be interested in knowing what other countries have laws dictating how children are named. I just don't understand how parents could be denied the ultimate right to name their children as they see fit. I've got to assume that there is some sort of rational reason to having naming laws... I just am not sure exactly what they are.

Honduras Sprout said...

I was just talking to a family member last night who told me that the nurse at the hospital where she had her son spelled her son's name wrong and then when she went to register him with the hospital record they said they couldn't change anything because it needed to be exactly what was written on the hospital record. They said they would have to go through a separate name change process.

Maybe if they have a similar system in ES you can convince the hospital to write what you ask them to on the hospital record.

aighmeigh said...

You know, the system may be the same. The gentleman who was explaining it to me was having a difficult time breaking it down... either that or I was just having a difficult time understanding... and he did say something about the fact that the people in the hospital don't have to record the child's last name the traditional way. It's worth a shot! Thanks! :)

Kathleen said...

Sometimes, though, not having the traditional name(s) can make things difficult. When O and I got married, it almost didn't happen because I didn't have the two last names as prescribed by Peruvian law. To compound things, I had married and divorced, and not gotten my maiden name back. That caused quite a delay in the procedings, as I had to give my life history to the equivalent of the Justice of the Peace.

aighmeigh said...

Oh boy, that does not sound fun at all. See, I really was so clueless about the existence of naming laws up until now. I really had no clue they existed--it's so loose here. What an eye-opener this move is!

Question (and you may not have an answer to this): if a child is born to a single mother in Peru, and the mother does not expressly know who the father is, does the child just take the mothers two last names, even though it's not exactly traditional? There are so many single moms in El Salvador and I have no clue how that works there, so I'm curious how it would work elsewhere.

It is I said...

When I got married to my husband, I took both of his last names, so when our children were born (in the US) they have the same last name as he and I do. Well then it came time to register them as Hondurans as well. At the consulate there was no problem, but once the paperwork got to Honduras (my husband dropped the paperwork off, then had to go back and pick it up) they said that due to the laws there, the last name that they have could not be their last name in Honduras. So on there US passports it says my husband (and my) last name, but on their Honduras passport it has my husbands first last name (his dads) and my maiden last name. We were a bit upset thinking about how that would complicate things, but as of yet I havent had a problem - and I traveled out of the country with the baby using both passports.

~Jennifer
http://followingmycatracho.blogspot.com

aighmeigh said...

Jennifer, sounds like they're much more understanding in Honduras! Evidently, we are going to have to jump through some hoops to get this taken care of in the eyes of El Salvador! I had no clue that something like naming a child could cause so many issues!!