Naming... To keep or to re-name? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Now I know this is/can be a heated topic. 

I've always been more on the side that you keep birth names if at all possible, with the exception that a birth name could be a detriment later in life (like one that is unpronouncable or has negative images for most of our society.)  

 

But, we find ourselves in a place we never figured we would be in.

 

We have received a referral for a 3 yo beautiful boy! He has a commonly excepted english name and we would consider keeping it, BUT the "black sheep" of my husband's family has this same exact name!  angry.gif

 

Say you had an uncle that was a drunk, beat his kids and cheated on his wife and left her destitute... you'd probably not feel ok naming your child this name, right?  Well that is the situation.

 

When we told my MIL his name she said, "Oh dear. That is too bad." 

Right then and there we thought... "We don't want people's first thoughts about our son to be, oh dear, that is too bad." greensad.gif

 

So we are seriously considering keeping his tribal name (which isn't appropriate for a first name, but is rockin' awesome!) and giving him a name that is a bit more well received, so that he will be well received and have a fair shake.  

 

We've also considered keeping all his names and he'd end up having 4... but that seems a bit extreme...

 

 

Any thoughts?  


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#2 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 12:42 PM
 
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I probably would keep the child's name.  Or move it to his middle name and give him a new first name.

 

I adopted my daughter at three (although she had been with me for three years) and she's very attached to her name.  I don't think my DS would have cared (he was adopted two months before his fourth birthday) but DD definitely would have.

 

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#3 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 06:15 PM
 
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I changed my kids' names at 3 & 4 years (essential for safety reasons). 11 years later, there have never been any problems. YoungSon actively likes the "new" name, and BigGirl plans to change it back when she is grown, mainly because the old one really suits her personality better. I understand the arguments on both sides - but for us it turned out to be a not very big deal. I'd advise following your heart. It sounds like your whole family would always have a problem with the original name. Unless you can come up with a nickname, I'd say change it to something you absolutely love (and keeping the tribal name is great too!)


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#4 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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My ILs gave my BIL the option to change his name when they adopted him. He chose a different first name and moved his original first name to his middle name. He was in kindergarten at the time, and it apparently was never an issue with other kids making the transition.


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#5 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 08:59 PM
 
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For a 3 year old, I would keep the name.


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#6 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 09:07 PM
 
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Does his first name have a short form or variation that could be used?  I would be reluctant to change his name at 3, and I would think the family would get over the negative association... but then again, I'm sure he would get used to the change pretty easily.

 


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#7 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 09:32 PM
 
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i'd keep it. the little guy is his own person and i'm sure that the association with the uncle will fade as the family gets to know him. initial impressions aren't everything and i would imagine that your family is capable of being flexible if it means more continuity for you soon to be ds.


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#8 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 01:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

My ILs gave my BIL the option to change his name when they adopted him. He chose a different first name and moved his original first name to his middle name. He was in kindergarten at the time, and it apparently was never an issue with other kids making the transition.


 

That's a nice idea. Give your son the choice to change or not. Then again, 3 might be a bit young to understand...

 

I also second the nickname idea.


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#9 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 06:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There is no nickname for this name, every variation just sounds silly, so that isn't an option.

 

I kind of like the idea of letting him choose, but I don't know how that would work, don't you have to have it all decided prior for paperwork and stuff like that? 

We won't be seeing him until his court date... plus, he doesn't speak much English... 

Hum. 

 

And I still am not convinced that people will look past the name... in a perfect world they should, but what if they don't? 

One thing we have thought of is just finding a name that starts with the same sound or letter... similar to his ears, but not the same.

Thanks for all thoughts. We do want to maintain his heritage, but also want him to have a successful future... a hard balance.


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#10 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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 I woudl change the first name if it is going to have a negative effect in the extended family and keep his tribal name as his middle name. I shortened DD's first name when we named her and lengthened her middle name to become a family name.


Carly, mama to DS C (5th grade), DD Miss M (07/09, fostered 1/10, adopted 08/10), and Little Miss C (11/10, fostered 01/11, adopted 11/12). Foster Son, Mr. A, age 11 placed 10/13.
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#11 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 12:51 PM
 
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I would keep the name.  Sooner than you'd imagine, the name of your son will be the first association people make, not the name of the uncle.  It's such a short period of time where people have odd reactions, and first names are so important in these situations.  People will get past it quickly.  YOU will get past it quickly.  You'd be amazed.  Before you know it, the only "____" you think about will be your son, and that name will shine with all that is positive and wonderful about your child.  Other people, people who know your son at all, will be the same.

 

Plus really...the sphere of life that includes that uncle's name is so small.  Your son will grow up with a circle of immediate family, a circle of peers, a circle of co-workers...the number of people who will connect his name with the uncle's name is very, very small, and only for a short period of your son's life.

 

And for what it's worth, four names is very common for adopted kids.  Dd has five names that were condensed into four.  I know several kids with four or five names.  No biggie.


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#12 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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If the only reason you want to change his name is because of the extended family on one side, I wouldn't worry too much about it, like ROM said, that is a small circle, and they'll get over it.  If YOU and your husband otherwise like the name, I wouldn't change it.  BUT, if the two of you try it out with your new son for a few weeks and can't get over the negative connotation, I wouldn't worry about changing it, or adding a new first name -- who named him, do you know?  If he was named by family, I'd keep the name, if he was named by orphanage staff, I'd be less protective about keeping it as a first name.  We added new first names for our kids, but kept their entire English-Ugandan name combo, so they have 4 names.   We went over there expecting not to change their names at all, but when things got intense for me and newly adopted ds, I needed to be calling him a name I gave him, a name I loved, that I loved hearing my family yell at him when he was acting up, etc, etc.   I think I'm the only one who calls him Zachary Marvin sometimes, most everyone else calls him Zach, Zachary, or Marvin, all of which are fine, he answers to and identifies with all of it now.   It really wasn't a big deal at all to change his name, but that could just be him, and it could also be something that bugs him later.  I wanted him to be familiar with both names so he could choose when he was older, but I don't think it's a big deal if you transition slowly and still use the name he is used to for a while, or as a middle name that you commonly use.

With our daughter that we brought home at the same time, we still call her Rosie, because it suits her so well (and as a toddler, it almost seems more difficult to change their name -- it's a time when they're just figuring it out) but we will officially name her Naomi Rose -- I call her Naomi Rose kind of in the same way you'd use a child's middle name, sort of like an affectionate name... or maybe for when she's in trouble later? ha ha ha.... (can I just say I need the old emoticon system back?)

as for making it official, you won't need to do that until you are home with the kids, finalizing their adoptions in the US.  gives you lots of time to see what you want to do...

congratulations!!


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#13 of 20 Old 01-25-2011, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tiffani, I thought of you and wondered what you thought... it is sort of similar. 

They are just about the same age. :-)

 

I didn't know we could wait... that is good to know and gives us plenty of time to decide. 

 

His mother did give him his name... they are both so nicely thought out.

But I think the 4 name option is probably what will suite us and him best... a tribal name, his birth name and a name for his future... 

Thanks, I totally value that!

 


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#14 of 20 Old 01-25-2011, 04:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post

I would keep the name.  Sooner than you'd imagine, the name of your son will be the first association people make, not the name of the uncle.  It's such a short period of time where people have odd reactions, and first names are so important in these situations.  People will get past it quickly.  YOU will get past it quickly.  You'd be amazed.  Before you know it, the only "____" you think about will be your son, and that name will shine with all that is positive and wonderful about your child.  Other people, people who know your son at all, will be the same.

 

Plus really...the sphere of life that includes that uncle's name is so small.  Your son will grow up with a circle of immediate family, a circle of peers, a circle of co-workers...the number of people who will connect his name with the uncle's name is very, very small, and only for a short period of your son's life.

 

And for what it's worth, four names is very common for adopted kids.  Dd has five names that were condensed into four.  I know several kids with four or five names.  No biggie.

Wonderful post, ROM.

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#15 of 20 Old 01-25-2011, 10:05 AM
 
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I would change the name if it is something that you don't like.

 

Our first AS's name is a name that we very much do not like. We kept it because at the time we had been calling him that name for two years (expecting RU with Biodad) and didn't think we would remember to call him a different name. I regret that decision. I do not like his name at all and hate that when I think of my own son's name it is not something that makes me happy.

 

Our STBAS has another name that we are not fans of (we live in a rural area and given names tend to be nicknames that reflect a particular style that we are not on board with --think Billy Bob). So instead of having another child with a name that just makes me sad, we have decided to change our newest son's name. He will be just over 2 at the time of his adoption.


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#16 of 20 Old 01-25-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariaz View Post

I would change the name if it is something that you don't like.

 

Our first AS's name is a name that we very much do not like. We kept it because at the time we had been calling him that name for two years (expecting RU with Biodad) and didn't think we would remember to call him a different name. I regret that decision. I do not like his name at all and hate that when I think of my own son's name it is not something that makes me happy.

 

Our STBAS has another name that we are not fans of (we live in a rural area and given names tend to be nicknames that reflect a particular style that we are not on board with --think Billy Bob). So instead of having another child with a name that just makes me sad, we have decided to change our newest son's name. He will be just over 2 at the time of his adoption.


Yeah, that.
 

I changed my dd's name.  I know all the reasons not to change names, and I believe they are valid.  But I also believe that there is not NEARLY enough said about the importance of weighing in your own feelings as a parent.  My daughter came to us as a foster child, with a name I hated and thought sounded 'trashy'.  I also thought it would grow on me, or at least become so synonymous with HER in my mind that it wouldn't matter.  That had happened for me with other foster kids who had names I didn't really care for.  But it didn't happen with my daughter.  So I had a choice.  I could change her name into something that I loved, or I could resign myself to inwardly cringing every time I introduced my daughter.  I didn't want that, for her or for me.  I wanted her to have a name I loved, a name with a story about how I chose it, just like her brothers, my biological children, have.

 

We had a nickname for her, from her birth name, and we chose a new long name for that nickname. So when we tell her the story of her name, it begins with the story of the name her first mom gave her, and then goes on to the nicknames her first foster family gave her, the nicknames we gave her, and how those became her name.

 

Does that make sense?  Like if her name was Shyanne, and her first foster family called her Anne, and we called her Annie, and her new name became Annarose, but she still goes by Annie a lot of the time.

 

I feel like this was the happy medium between keeping her birth name and choosing a whole new one.  If I had chosen a whole new one, it wouldn't be the name she has now, but I do love her name, and it suits her.

 

mariaz, I remember thinking your son's name stood out from the other names in your family.  It makes sense now that you tell the whole story.  Would it make any sense at all to ask him if he'd like to take a new name when you adopt your next child? Explaining that you didn't change his name at his adoption, but if he'd like to have a name chosen by his mom (and dad? sorry, don't remember your family situation) he could have one?

 

 

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#17 of 20 Old 01-26-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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Sugarmoon- We have considered changing his name over and over again. I also worry about his safety because we kept his full birth name and he was a Jr. so he would be very easy to find in our small town. His birth mother continues to make it very clear that she considers herself his "real" mother and I always worry that she will try to pick him up from school one day.

 

Plus since his name is so different from our bio kids names it comes up every time I introduce him to people. I feel like I am pointing out that he is adopted all the time. And if I just say "oh it's a family name" then I'm afraid that he'll feel like I'm ashamed of the fact that he's adopted (such tricky waters!)

 

I would like to just switch his middle and first name but, now that he is 5, I think he is pretty attached to the name that everyone has called him for his entire life.


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#18 of 20 Old 01-26-2011, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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Plus since his name is so different from our bio kids names it comes up every time I introduce him to people. I feel like I am pointing out that he is adopted all the time. And if I just say "oh it's a family name" then I'm afraid that he'll feel like I'm ashamed of the fact that he's adopted (such tricky waters!)

 



That is a good point, his name doesn't "go" with our other children's names well either... it is about 2 generations behind him... like a 1970's name. :-) I don't want it to stick out too much. Though I guess it will be obvious he is adopted because of nationality. I think we are going to go the 4 name route... it respects him and fits us and gives him options. 

Thanks for thinking through this with us. 


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#19 of 20 Old 01-26-2011, 09:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcimama View Post

Tiffani, I thought of you and wondered what you thought... it is sort of similar. 

They are just about the same age. :-)

 

I didn't know we could wait... that is good to know and gives us plenty of time to decide. 

 

His mother did give him his name... they are both so nicely thought out.

But I think the 4 name option is probably what will suite us and him best... a tribal name, his birth name and a name for his future... 

Thanks, I totally value that!

 

marcimama, what home is your little guy from again?  not I***da is it? 

 

sugarmoon, I like the point you make about taking your own feelings into account... 

 

I always felt that the parents' feelings on the naming subject was secondary as well, and it certainly can be in certain circumstances, but when my son was actively, physically going through the work of claiming me as his mama, I felt like I really needed to cherish him fully, (quickly!!) and it surprised me how much his name held me back, especially, for some reason, hearing the big kids call him his first name when he was doing something to antagonize them -- in those moments it felt very much like he was this little "other" person sent to wreak havoc on our family, and I didn't like that feeling at all.  I was glad that we had thought about names that went well with his first name (Zachary was the only name I could think of, really) because my outlook toward him changed dramatically once I put my "stamp" on him and started calling him Zachary Marvin.   I feel shallow saying that, but I asked my husband how he felt about it (he had gone home by the time I started wanting to add a name) since he was adamantly opposed to changing names at all, and he felt, too, like Z would be fine with it.  I started slowly calling him both names in a sing songy way, and we all called him both names, or either name individually for a long time, and we all still use all the variations of both names.  I love his whole name now. :)

 


 


We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#20 of 20 Old 02-01-2011, 07:55 AM
 
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When our son came to us, just days old, we were told he didn't have a name. We were instructed to choose a name. So we did. We picked a name that we love and that fits our family.

 

Then they found the birth certificate and informed us that his birthmother had chosen a name for him. The name was a nice name that some religious people love, but it's not a name I would choose. It was a name that I have a negative reaction to, actually. And since we'd already chosen a name and felt bonded to that name it was very difficult to let go of that name we chose. So we kept it and added the other name as a middle name. But it always feels weird to me when I say it. And so many people mispronounce it that I've started to say it incorrectly, too!

 

That's created a lot of confusion because his legal name is still the name on the birth certificate and it will be that way until he is adopted. It's a very sensitive subject for me because I want to respect my son's birthmother and siblings by keeping his given name, but I also feel extremely attached to the name we chose and I really just don't like the other name. His given name has strong political and religious associations for me... would you name your child the name of a country riddled with violent conflict? I can't think of his name without thinking of war and death!

 

Our son's name: It's just the tip of the iceburg in terms of what's wrong with the fostercare system that they can't even figure out a baby's name!

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