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Changing names?

post #1 of 112
Thread Starter 
What do you think about changing the name of an adopted child? And how old is too old?

We want to adopt a 2yr old and we will have regular contact with her grandparents ( they are friends of ours). We like her name, but would like to tag on a different first name and have her given first name be part of her middle name. The reason is that we've very carefully chosen our children's name and would like for her name to "fit". I doubt the grandparents will like it. I'd really like to hear your thoughts!

Thanks!

Nikki
post #2 of 112
We adopted our dd at 21 months. Her original name is Chinese, and difficult for many Americans to say properly. We gave her a new first name, kept her original name as a middle name, and gave her a new 2nd middle name and our last name.

She did fairly well with the change. It took her a while to get used to it, but she seems to like it.
post #3 of 112
What are the names in question?
post #4 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chug-a-Pug View Post
What are the names in question?
That's what I would ask too.
post #5 of 112
I was just going to start a thread about this as in another forum people are debating it. As for how old is too old, I guess I don't have a definite answer. Is the child old enough to understand or choose for themselves? Do they even go by their first name now or a nickname? There are many things to consider. DH and I had a hard time deciding for ourselves, I think I even started a thread about this years ago. In our case DD was infant and honestly we weren't sure who even named her. Its not always the birth family but sometimes in Guatemala the attorney handling the case names them, our a hogar or hospital worker. We didn't feel particularly attached to her name but did want to keep her middle name as it had significance to her birth family. Also we didn't want her to feel out of place having an unusual hispanic name while ours are quite common. We chose to name her Olivia. When we went down to see her we were pleasnatly suprised that she was being called her middle name and not her first, which sounds just like Olivia. Even though we dropped her first name, which is named after a flower, we do have pics of that certain flower in our house so she will grow up knowing that.

Also wanted to add that friends of ours adopted an older sibling group from Guatemala and immediately decided to have the kids keep their original names since they were 5, 7, and 9. After the children were home for a year or so two of them decided they would like to take on the Americanized closest version of their name while 1 wanted to keep his. So each child may react different.
post #6 of 112


Hello stranger!

Being that I know this little cutie myself, I'm going to say that 2 is fine to change her name. She really doesn't seem to have a full comprehension of it yet anyway.

And, I think if you did [new name] [present 1st name] [present mid name] it still has a nice ring to it, yet fits in with your family "theme" and keeps her present name as an important thing.

Does her present 1st name have a familial meaning, or did g-ma/pa help choose it? If it was just something that b-mom picked out, well, umm... I wouldn't worry about it. But that might just be the in me.
post #7 of 112
I too like the idea of keeping the 'birth name' as a middle name, if at all possible. To me, that is respecting all parts of the child's identity, which I think is important even for babies and young children.

When a child is old enough to communicate what they want, and can understand some of the implications (I would say 4-ish for most kids), I like the idea of them being able to decide, and having some say in what the 'new' name would be (anglicized or whatever).

I think as long as the child and their origins are respected, then there's a great deal of flexibility. Of course, there's always going to be people complaining no matter what you do, but they do that with bio kids' names given at birth too.
post #8 of 112
Thread Starter 
Right now her name is Nevada Marie __________. One challenge is she can't say it, but definitely knows that it is her name. We have chosen Biblical names for our children that aren't picked just becasue they're in the Bible, but becasue of who those people were. We have discussed the name Sarah if we did follow through on a name change. So the new name would potentially be Sarah Nevada Marie ________.

Nikki
post #9 of 112
Interesting.
I can feel both sides pros and cons.
What is customary?
Emilie
post #10 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkilynn View Post
Right now her name is Nevada Marie __________. One challenge is she can't say it, but definitely knows that it is her name. We have chosen Biblical names for our children that aren't picked just becasue they're in the Bible, but becasue of who those people were. We have discussed the name Sarah if we did follow through on a name change. So the new name would potentially be Sarah Nevada Marie ________.

Nikki
Nikki, Im too lazy to rewrite it, but check lower down on this topic to the thread "Confused" I just posted something last night about my now 3 year old whom we got at 13 months old and changed her name right away...now out of nowhere at age 3 she is telling us about her old name and wanting to be called by it. Its....shocking to say the least.
I dont know really what this means for her, is it just something new that she likes? Or is she feeling an identity issue? Im hoping to consult with the Adoption Specialist and see wht they think we need to do to address it, if we need to go by her old name or her new.
Hope that helps a little!
post #11 of 112
I'm in favor of letting her keep her original name, maybe adding Sarah as a new middle name. She has been called one thing all her life; it seems not quite right to take that from her, but instead to give her a gift of an additional name (but not one that she has to be called newly and suddenly).
post #12 of 112
Many kids coming from other countries are having their names changed at toddler ages. I'm not sure if it makes it harder or easier that they're also changing their language at the time--that seems like a complicating issue.

One thing I've read is that, if you do add an Americanized name to a child's given name, a good way to slowly adjust to the new name is to call the child by both names for a while (so you'd talk to her and address her as "Sarah Nevada"). You could also play with combining them ..."Sarahda" or something, just for nicknaming and playing for a while during her adjustment period. I can't remember how long this was supposed to go on....a few months, I think.

I do think some attempts to bridge the change in name could be helpful. Kids, especially around that age, are looking for order in their world. A name seems minor, but you never know if a child will feel that way or not. If she's experienced some losses and some confusion already in her life, taking away the word she uses to identify herself could be tricky.

If you feel strongly about it, you should probably go ahead and do it. You'll be her mama, and you'll know her best. Plus, you ARE keeping her given name in her legal name, so I think that's an important sign of respect--both for her birthparents, and also for her own little self.
post #13 of 112
Unless I really and truly couldn't tolerate the name I would not change it. I suppose if I were adopting a baby at birth, I would pick the name but in my situation, any child I adopt will be through the foster care system and already be named. I should clarify, I am talking about first names. G will have our last name and we are picking a new middle name.
post #14 of 112
Sarah Nevada sounds so much like Sierra Nevada...
post #15 of 112
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I realized that when I was typing it in for the post earlier.

I think right now dh and I are leaning toward calling her Sarah Nevada if this all goes through.

Thanks everyone! Feel free to give more input!

Nikki
post #16 of 112
I think the subject of naming is too individual to have one right way of doing it. This comes up on adoption boards alot, with opinions ranging from "I would *never* change a child's name, its their birthright" to "Its MY right to name my child anything i wish" and everything in between.

I think if i adopted an older child (although i'm betting even babies recognize their names)i would probably keep the name if i liked it well enough and it worked ok with our last name. (Of course, if the child was old enough to truly express an opinion about it, and wanted to keep it, i would do that regardless.) But i have heard about some experiences where the child's name was very hard to pronounce, was not really a "name" so much as a noun for something, was named after a very abusive birthparent, or had the same name as someone else in the family. So there can be "good" reasons for changing a name as well. Some kids really WANT to change their names, as they see it as a new beginning for themselves. Others absolutely do not want to change their names. So i think it just depends.

Katherine
post #17 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkilynn View Post
What do you think about changing the name of an adopted child? And how old is too old?
We adopted a two year old and we kept his Ethiopian name. Our thoughts were

1) He didn't need a name, he already had one

2) It was HIS name, not ours to toy with

3) It was the only thing that he owned when he came to us.

I understand what you are saying about wanting the name to fit, because if you had, for example, children named Asher and Gideon and then you adopted a daughter named, say, Juanita, it would stick out a bit. However, when you adopt an older child, to me one facet of that is accepting that they child already IS someone in a way that infants are not. A two year old already has a fairly well-developed sense of self, and I think it's incumbent on adoptive parents to respect that.

Namaste!

Ps. I responded before reading the whole thread. I'll second the idea that Sarah Nevada sounds too much like Sierra Nevada.
post #18 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
Ps. I responded before reading the whole thread. I'll second the idea that Sarah Nevada sounds too much like Sierra Nevada.
As much as I like the name Sarah, and as great a woman as the Biblical Sarah was, if I came across someone named Sarah Nevada I would, unfortunately, think of this: http://www.sierranevada.com/beers/paleale.html

Have you considered a different Biblical name?

Rachel Nevada
Ruth Nevada
Mary Nevada
Eve/Eva Nevada
Esther Nevada
Martha Nevada
Rebecca Nevada

I understand that maybe you want to call her Sarah because the Biblical Sarah also changed her name But Esther changed her name too, and she's also a true heroine and role model!

Anyway, my ultimate advice to you would be to pray about it. Ask God what He wants her name to be, and then go with that. It could be that He wants her to keep her birth name, or Sarah, or something else you haven't considered.
post #19 of 112
I had full intentions of changing my daughters name. She came to us at 3 days old, and her name was going to be Claudia Waters. When we got to the hospital, her little name sticker on her crib had baby doe crossed out and Amira (Uh-Me-Rah) written in. It turns out that the first doctor who treated our baby girl couldnt stand calling her 'baby doe' and started calling her Amira. It means Princess in Arabic.

We were touched by the gesture, and quite honestly we thought it fit her perfectly. We tried calling Claudia for a while but it just didnt feel right. So Amira it was! We came up with Isabella as a middle name to honor her hispanic heritage.

So I guess the point of my story is that you can have the most well laid plans, but sometimes it just doesnt work out. I wouldnt worry too much, when your child is with you a name will fit or it wont.
post #20 of 112
[QUOTE=sesa70;7569903]I had full intentions of changing my daughters name. She came to us at 3 days old, and her name was going to be Claudia Waters. When we got to the hospital, her little name sticker on her crib had baby doe crossed out and Amira (Uh-Me-Rah) written in. It turns out that the first doctor who treated our baby girl couldnt stand calling her 'baby doe' and started calling her Amira. It means Princess in Arabic.

We were touched by the gesture, and quite honestly we thought it fit her perfectly. We tried calling Claudia for a while but it just didnt feel right. So Amira it was! We came up with Isabella as a middle name to honor her hispanic heritage.

QUOTE]

That's a sweet story. She definitly fits amira!

If the name was given by the birth family, my choice would be to keep it even if I adopted an infant. If the name was given by the orphanage etc, but the child is old enough and responds to the name, my choice again would be to keep it. They would have my last name, which would be enough of a symbolic tie to the family.
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