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Just curious: Naming/Renaming an older Adopted Child

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I’m sure this varies considerably but are there guidelines when naming an older adopted child? I’m ashamed to admit that it was an episode of Friends that got me thinking about it. The adoptive father was talking about what he was going to name the baby and I got thinking about when an older child gets adopted. Generally, at what age does the child keep the name they have before adoption? Strange question, I know but I was wondering and figured you all would have some input.
post #2 of 9
My cousins were adopted at 6 and 3 and they kept there names including middle names. The younger one hyphenated (he was 4 or 5 when the did the new birth certificates and official adoption documents) his birth ln with his adopted ln but now wants to change it and lose the birth ln (he is 11 now) My aunt and uncle asked the kids what they wanted to do with thier names and then honored their wishes.
post #3 of 9
I would ask the child!
post #4 of 9
adoptive parents can change the name at any age -- however agencies and social workers are realizing that adoptees sometimes struggle with identity issues and encourage parents to keep them...at the very least, maybe drop the middle name, make their current first name the new middle name, and a new first name. I donlt know of a judge that has required keeping the name, or asked the child what they wanted. Perhaps a few do, but the main decision seems to lie with the parents.

Any child toddler ago or older I personally would be loathe to change, and of an older child I'd ask them what they thought. Some want a new name, to go with thier new family. Some kids have foreign names, so they might find americanized names easier to go with their new citizenship. But I would make sure it was at least retained as a middle name. I think this went along with a very widespread practice where people hid that children were adopted, closed adoption records, and tried to wipe out any vestige of their previous indentity. Many adult adoptees have grown up to say this was harmful to them.

I've also been involved with infant adoptions...both babies I fostered had their names changed...but in some cases the bmoms are aware of the new name ahead of time. Sometimes not, so I think it's still nice to keep a little bit of the birthmom's intent in their somewhere, even if you have a kid with 4 names.
post #5 of 9
We kept ds's birthname as his middle name. His birthmother wasn't planning that we would keep any of her names at all, so it was a welcome surprise for her. We gave him a first name that we came up with because we wanted him to have something of us too. If ds has been a girl, we would have probably used his birthmom's first name for the middle name. BTW, he was adopted at birth.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone...I love this place! Who needs Google when there's MDC. :LOL
post #7 of 9
I agree that for older children it ought to be up to them. Often, they will want a new "family" name. I have a nephew who was adopted from the foster care system around age 8, who insisted on taking the same name as his new father, and being "Junior."

Our kids were adopted from China at roughly age one. We kept their Chinese names as middle names, and figure if at some point, probably during their teens, they want to use them, it would be easier since they are already part of their legal names. It is also useful for them to have Chinese names as we do Chinese school on the weekends, and so dh and I have picked Chinese names as well.

However, our kids' Chinese names are very difficult for Westerners to spell and pronounce. Since most of the Chinese people I know use Western names most of the time, and give their kids Western names, I didn't feel too bad about giving our kids Western first names.
post #8 of 9
our daughter was our foster child for over a year when we adopted her at 20 months. we had thought a lot about changing her name. it's a very popular name, and if the doctor's office was any indication, she would be one of several kids her age with the same name. we also thought about naming her after my husband's grandmother. a few weeks before the court date, though, she learned her name & started calling herself that. we thought at that point, it would be really hard for her to switch, so we kept it. we thought about adding in gramma's name, but since we have two last names already, that would give her five, and that would be too many!

for a while, we had a foster son with a very popular name. so, introducing my two kids with fluffy names--it was strange. i'm not much for following trends & such, so people who did not know us well looked at us oddly!
post #9 of 9
My parents adopted a foster son when he was about 5. He kept his original first and middle names. They also adopted a foster daughter at about 2, but knew from getting her at about a month that they would almost certainly be, so changed her name at the very beginning. But they gave her her bio mom's first name as a middle name.

A friend adopted her foster son and he was given the option. He changed, and also chose the spelling.
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