During engagement Kamel and I talked a lot about what we wanted to do with our names. Initially I thought I would turn Dupuis into my middle name and simply be Lauren Perez, but it just didn’t feel right. Actually, both Kamel and I would turn Dupuis into our middle names and Perez into our last, but it just didn’t work for me. So as engagement progressed and we were referring to the wedding as the Dupuis-Perez wedding it became more and more clear that that was how we viewed the creation of our new family. We decided to be Lauren and Kamel Dupuis-Perez.
But! With all of the details of the wedding being out of state (in Seattle vs where we lived at the time in California) and needing to use our passports directly after the wedding AND with Kamel becoming a citizen in November after our July wedding – name changes just didn’t happen.
Then when Kamel started working up here, he had access to legal services. Because we were waaaayyy past the point where I could change my name easily with my marriage certificate we really weren’t sure what we needed to do, so we enlisted a lawyer to advise us on the proper paperwork and process. That turned out to be a giant waste of time. She was super flaky and unhelpful and ended up canceling on us the day before we were going to go to court. By that time we were so frustrated and both working with little free time during the week we decided to wait until after we were done traveling so that we could handle our ID and Passport all in 1 fell swoop.
So on monday, 3 years and 1 kid later – we dropped Gabe off at daycare, went to the county clerk’s office and set up a court date for later that afternoon. We paid a bunch of money, and together stood up in front of a judge, our right hand raised and legally changed both of our names to Dupuis-Perez.
My dad came and tried to take sneaky photos of us, as cameras and cell phones weren’t allowed in the court room. That’s Kamel, and I’m behind the white-haired lady. You can see my head and my red sleeve poking out.
And then it was done and we were officially official. We now have the same name as our kid!
After the hearing we ran over to the Social Security office to change our names there. That took about an hour. Then we walked over to the Department of Licensing to get our IDs updated. That was terrible and crowded and we stood in a line for another hour even before we got our number.
We still need to update all of our bills and banks and insurance and passport and employers – and a million other things, but we are well on our way!
The best part of the process was that it felt like renewing our vows. It felt like this really great affirmation that we are family, that I continually choose Kamel and he continually chooses me and now we are even more intertwined. For better or worse. It was also really fun having my dad along with us, somebody else to witness it, somebody else to people watch with and keep us company while we waited and waited for our number to be called.
I’m just so happy to have this opportunity and to be able to experience something as banal as government errands with my buddy. It just takes a slight shift in outlook to turn anything from boring drudgery to romantic gesture. I am so lucky that even the business of life can be an adventure with Kamel.
That night we came home and celebrated with champagne. To names! To the power to change them! To Kamel taking part of me and me taking part of him! Yippee!