On April 13, 2018, I took my three children and with my marriage license of almost twenty-one years in hand, I went to the local Social Security office to change my name legally, to Angelique LaFonCox.
You may think that has always been my name, but it wasn’t. Legally, until now, I was Angelique LaFon.
What took me so long to do this? Well… it’s kind of a long story.
When I was born, my mother named me Angelique LaFon Sims.
Most of my life, I thought that the name Angelique came from my grandfather’s reading. He loved books by Louis L’Amour who had a daughter named Angelique. It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that I learned my mother actually got my name from the old vampire soap opera series “Dark Shadows”. There was a character that she liked on that show named Angelique. God had a big plan for this to be my first name and so He used a soap opera about a vampire to make sure my mother found it. We all know He works in mysterious ways, and that was one of them.
My middle name, La Fon, was my mother’s maiden name. Though the rest of her family spells it Lafon with a small “f” and no space in between, my mother had done some research on the family history and learned that it could also have the French spelling with a capital “F” and space in-between. So, she chose to set me apart and spelled my name that way– much to the dismay of some of my relatives who still claim that “I am not a true Lafon” because my name is spelled La Fon. Which is fine because I love it that way and I am creating something new.
My last name, Sims, was after my father, who had an interesting tale involving his name. According to his mother, birth, and death certificates, he was legally Robert Sims. For whatever reasons that will remain unknown to us, he told my mother his name was Michael Sims. Sims was put on my birth certificate for my last name–at least he told the truth on that one! Even though my parents divorced when I was a baby, Sims remained my last name.
Skip ahead to age 5. When I began kindergarten, the teacher thought the name Angelique was “too difficult for the other children to say” so she took it upon herself to teach the other students to just call me “Angel”. At the time, I did not like this. I loved my name Angelique and didn’t think it was too hard to say, but I had no power to stop it, and so at school and then later on everywhere else, I became known as “Angel Sims”.
After a while, I got used to this and accepted it. The only time I heard the name Angelique was when I was in trouble, so I learned to appreciate the name Angel.
When I was 9 years old, my mother married a man that I did not like… ever. His last name was hideous and I hated it with a passion. The name was “Crull”. My apologies to anyone out there who is named Crull. I do not mean to offend you, I just associated the name with the man— and the man wasn’t good. From what I was told, it was pronounced (Kr- uhll) but most people, upon seeing it, would pronounce it like the word Cruel.
My mother had a son with this man and I was thrilled for that. My little brother was the joy of my life and his name is Nathan. So because three out of the four family members were Crull, my mother thought I should be adopted and have the same name as the rest of the family. So again, my name was changed for me and I became known as Angel Crull. Bleh. Yuck!!
Having this name was so much fun. (sarcasm) I was constantly asked, “How come you are a cruel angel? Aren’t angels supposed to be good?” Then even better, in 1984 a movie came out called “Angel”. The catchphrase: “High school honor student by day. Hollywood hooker by night.” This one was a big hit for kids with my name. So much fun. Then there was one of my relatives that would tell me “Mexican men are the ones who are named Angel. You have the name of a Mexican man”. At the time, I didn’t understand why that was a bad thing because I am not a racist or prejudiced person, but that was also because I was young and didn’t understand the racism that some of my relatives possess, something I clearly understand and detest now.
It wasn’t until I made it to high-school that I took back the reigns on my name and started going by Angelique which thrilled my mother and confused the rest of the world who knew me as “Angel”. I’ll never forget the story my husband told me about my name. I am six years older than he is and we grew up together in church. He always knew me as “Angel” and one day someone said something about Angelique and he was like, “Who’s Angelique?”. It took some time, but most people finally began to know who Angelique was, though there are still a few out there who call me Angel, and that’s okay. I actually am more used to them calling me Angel than Angelique so it sounds natural when they say it. You have my blessing to carry on. 🙂
Now we skip ahead to when I am twenty-four years old and my mother and her husband get a divorce. I know this sounds horrible, but if you knew the man, you would understand… I was relieved. As I said before, he was not a good man. He was very abusive, especially to my brother, and I was so relieved when he left and was not part of our lives anymore. That is another story in itself, but the bottom line for me? The very week he left, I went down and got the paperwork done to change my name.
I didn’t know what to do for a middle name, so I left it as La Fon, but instead of going back to my father’s name of Sims, I chose La Fon for my last name. I did this because I did not ever know my father. As I said, he and my mother divorced when I was a baby. I saw him once when I was 7 years old for just a few minutes and then he died when I was 22 years old. So the only father that I ever had in my life was that of my grandfather, my “Papa”, Samuel Boone Lafon. So I chose to make his last name my last name… only with a space… and a capital “F”, which didn’t bother him or my grandmother at all. They were thrilled that La Fon was legally my last name… and also my middle name.
At this point, I was legally Angelique La Fon La Fon. A little redundant, but I loved it none the less and vowed that I was never going to change it again, even when I got married, my name would remain. Never say never!
Skip ahead to 1997, one year after I change my name. I am 25 years old and fall head over heels in love with Joshua Bryant Cox; the love of my life, the man of my dreams and future father of my children. When we got married, he was sad that I wasn’t going to take his name. I remember his question verbatim. He said, “How will people know that you are mine?” I then assured him that my love for him would be evident enough that I belonged to him and that his ring would not leave my finger (which it has not). I explained everything to him about all of the name changes and frustration I had with my identity through the years and he understood. There were some who did not understand this and actually thought that I was just against his last name or family. This wasn’t the case at all. I had just had enough of having name changes through the years and didn’t want to go through it all again.
Josh then asked me, “Since you are not taking my last name, can I give you a new middle name?” Since my middle name was a bit repetitive, I happily agreed and was pleasantly surprised to learn he had selected the name Jacqueline for me. He thought that it fit well with the fluidity of my French name and he also knew that I was an admirer of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. I loved it and the next time I had to have my picture taken for my Driver’s License, I put it down. This was interesting because I later learned that I was supposed to have proof of that name on a birth certificate or something. I did not, but they put it on there anyway!
At age 25, I was a very happily married Angelique Jacqueline La Fon. It had a good ring to it. Josh chose well for me and I loved it.
Move forward a couple years ahead and I am now going through infertility treatments so Josh and I can have a baby. I have a sometimes rebellious body that doesn’t always do what it is supposed to do and having babies at that point in time was one of them. After all that I went through to have our first child (which is another story for another time) and almost died twice in the process, I thought, by George, I am going to have my name for this baby’s last name too! I knew some families by this time that were hyphenating their last names, the men too! So our baby girl, Aven, became the first
La Fon-Cox of our family. We were creating something new and beautiful from our two family names and we loved the sound of it.
Aven Salei La Fon-Cox was the first, then MaCaedyn Janei La Fon-Cox came and finally, Samuel Braeden La Fon-Cox. Wherever we go we tell people, Mama is the La Fon and Daddy is the Cox. But what was so surprising to me was that people loved the sound of the two names together. We were told that many times. Once, an Awana instructor even announced to the whole assembly during a graduation that she loved the name La Fon-Cox.
It was right after MaCaedyn was born in 2005 that I started writing books and decided to use La Fon-Cox as my pen name. All of my Huggabear books, Intercessors series, other stories, and musicals all had the name of Angelique La Fon-Cox. Even my Facebook page had Angelique La Fon-Cox on it… but it was not my legal name.
I also had another amazing experience involving my name which I write about in detail in my blog titled “Messenger of Jehovah – How the Intercessor Series Began”. A dear friend, Marilyn Leininger, who was then a complete stranger, came up at church and told me that God told her I needed to know the meaning of my name. She had it all written down for me in Greek and Latin. Angelique means the messenger.
Knowing this changed everything for me and confirmed that I was on the right path with the books I was writing and that God did have plans for me to take His message, through my stories, to His children. It was a happy and powerful moment in my life where my name was concerned (for a change… no pun intended) and I will remember it forever.
During the past few years, God has really been dealing with me and my name… again.
I have been working very hard to build a ministry of books, music, performing arts and our nonprofit organization The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. www.huggabears.org
I have a million dreams of things we can do and build in the near future (Huggabear Farm!) and I have spent countless hours in prayer and fasting for this ministry to expand and for these dreams to come to fruition. I want to do it all with my children, who are legally La Fon-Cox. I also knew that in order to prevent confusion for matters in the future, it would be easier if my pen name matched my surname.
When 2018 came, I had a list of things to accomplish written down and changing my name–again, was one of the items listed. So, I went down on April 13, 2018, and finally had my name changed. Everyone kept wishing me congratulations on my marriage which was kind and made me smile, even though I have been happily married almost 21 years (May 13, 2018).
I had planned to post this blog and give Josh my new driver’s license and social security cards all wrapped up to surprise him for our 21st anniversary to show him that I was now legally La Fon-Cox and people would always know I belonged to him. But… Josh’s curiosities killed that plan. I don’t think he cares that curiosity killed the cat either. 😉
Although I didn’t get to tell him personally as I planned, I at least get to share it with the world now that I have officially and legally changed my name. There is still a lot of legal work to do to complete this process, but that’s okay. It will be the last time I do this!
(Not long after writing this blog I had a great lesson on ‘branding’ and learned that my name would serve me, my children and our ministry work much better if we took out the hyphen… which we have!)
I am not Angelique La Fon. I am not Angelique Cox.
I am Mrs. Angelique Jacqueline LaFonCox…. the first!