You Know My Name
After running away from my adoptive family, O’Neal really didn’t have much meaning. Some may say, who cares, a name doesn’t define you but as the years passed I yearned for a sense of connection and wanted most things about me to actually mean something. As I initiated this journey to authenticity, it began with my last name. I struggled with changing my name back to Garnett due to the lack of relationship with my biological mother and maternal family. Although Garnett had meaning and provided a sense of connection to my roots, I struggled with the fact that I really didn’t know any Garnett’s. Sure, ancestry.com exists but finding them wasn’t at the top of my list.
As I updated my LinkedIn profile one evening, I decided to hyphenate my last name to O’Neal-Garnett. I figured at least my name had a little meaning even if I didn’t have a relationship with any O’Neals or Garnetts. Soon after the update, I began getting messages congratulating me on being married. I thought, how in the world would I explain this.
As my relationship with my biological father evolved, I asked if he would mind if I changed my last name to Hargrave. He was thrilled. Sooo, on April 3rd, 2019 I will go before Superior Court, and my name will be legally changed to Monica Aliscena Hargrave. Aliscena is my paternal grandmother’s name. I’m learning so much about my lineage- how bright they are, their strong faith, the entrepreneurs (Hargrave and Sons Cleaners was founded in 1924 and was the only African American owned business in Lackawanna, NY), the educators, their work ethic, and so much more.
My dad and I speak daily, frequently 2 or 3 times and I’m intentional about nurturing our relationship. Women need their fathers. I’m cognizant that many are not as fortunate and have no idea who their father is or have strained to no relationship- even with possessing their last name. While I’m glad to finally have the connection I yearned so long for I don’t dare forget about the ultimate relationship. Yeah, the connection with The One who created me. I recently stumbled on a song by Tasha Cobbs, You Know My Name and listen to it 3-4 times daily. It speaks to my soul. Especially these words: “No fire can burn me, no battle can turn me, no mountain can stop me ‘cause you hold my hand, and I’m walking in your victory ‘cause your power is within me no giant can defeat me ‘cause you hold my hand.”
Whether I changed my name or not, God knows me and understands my journey and yours too. I’m forever grateful.
Cheers to your journey,
While everyone’s story is different, my purpose behind sharing this blog is two fold;
To provide some insight into how the foster care and adoption experience can impact and shape one’s life and perhaps demystify a few things. and 2.
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I am grateful for many things even when they days seem dreary. Grateful for the ability to inhale deeply and breathe in the desires of my heart. Grateful to exhale and let go of tension.
Remember January 1st 2020? Similar to most January’s – people were off living their best life- hitting the gym to cement those New Years resolutions, checking out Dave Ramsey’s content around financial freedom, napping, cooking good luck meals such as black eyed peas and removing the final Holiday decorations from doors, windows and fireplaces.
When I was a little girl I prayed daily that one day I would meet my biological family. It happened. I also prayed for a certain career path, that I would buy/own a home and that I would finish college. It all happened.
My adoptive father didn’t talk much and when he did, it wasn’t conversational. The phrases were typically six words or less: “Let’s go,” “Why is the garage door up,” or “ok.” During family dinners no one spoke. The silence was stifling.
March 31, 2017
Children in foster care: In its last governing act of the night, the Senate voted to send a bill back to committee that would have updated the state’s adoption laws for the first time in a generation.
We are in full swing of the holiday season and I’m looking forward to the decorations, wintry weather and overall holiday cheer.
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