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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really hope this doesn't come out sounding like a
question but how did you decide what to name your adopted child? Did you choose a name that was part of the childs ethnicity, family name, or one you just liked? We are adopting from Guatemala and at first wanted a slightly hispanic name for her, but now when I write or say out loud all the names in our family I can't help but feel whatever name we pick for her will oddly stick out. Our heritage is Norwegian so when you pair it with a spanish style name it doesn't always sound so good. Yet if we name her a traditional norwegian name I don't feel that would be appropriat either. Any suggestions or adivce?
 

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I think this is a great question, especially since internationally adopted kids often have been given names (our daughter was not named at birth, however.) Our daughter is named after our deceased grandmothers, although we do pronouce "Anna" with a Spanish short "a" and we adjusted Helen to "Helena" because we thought it went better with "Anna." We chose family names to honor Jewish naming tradition and probably would have done this with just about any child!

I work with an adult Korean adoptee named "Bridget O'Riley" (not really- I changed her name for this post, but it's similar) and she actually enjoys surprising people. I have met parents who kept or chose a middle name that reflected their kids' birth ethnicity and a first name that was more from the parents heritage.

Many kids from Guatemala are named when you get the referral, but you might want to ask if the name was from the birth mother, or just given by the lawyer or agency (very common) before you assume it has some deep significance. I have met kids adopted from Guatemala with completely Spanish names and Scandanavian surnames and it seems to work fine for those families. I have also met a lot of Aidens and Emilies. I guess all parents struggle a little with the naming issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, my DH is stuck on a name want to know what it is?....Are you sitting down?..Flora. Now not that I'm against the name but first of all even he can't pronounce it correctly. And second
I'm not naming my daughter that. I apologize in advance if anyone who reads this name is Flora. But with our last name its gonna have people scratching their heads. kwim?
 

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I know a Flora. :LOL

This a is topic widely discussed among an adoption forum I frequent. Some wouldn't think of changing baby's name, others keep part of the name, others choose one that represents the culture, and others pick whatever the heck they want. Nobody there (or here for that matter) knows my daughter-to-be's name. I like to keep that kinda stuff to IRL aquaintences for now, KWIM? Even in IRL we didn't tell our families the name we had chosen until we had visited her in Guatemala. We didn't want their opinions.
That said, DH and I like unusual names. The kind in which most people say 'Whats her name, again?'. Our Guatemalan daughter's given name is difficult to pronounce (even for DH and I who have grown up surrounded by Spanish culture and my grandma is from Mexico) and her middle name is sorta cliche to me. So we decided to change it. The first name we have chosen for her is of Dutch origin (of which DH and I are not) and her middle name is of Spanish origin (because we liked it, not because of it representing any culture). We aren't concerned at all about people thinking she doesn't look like her name. Everybody matches their name once you get to know them.
 

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For our DD we did this:

we picked a first name that we both liked...then she got a family name for her middle name (its my middle name, great-grandmothers first name etc) because this is what we would have done for a biological child and we didnt want to treat her differently

then we used her Chinese name (combined her first and middle Chinese names into one name) as her second middle name. She goes by her first name but I also call her her Chinese name (and Chinese nickname) too.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Diane B
I work with an adult Korean adoptee named "Bridget O'Riley" (not really- I changed her name for this post, but it's similar) and she actually enjoys surprising people. I have met parents who kept or chose a middle name that reflected their kids' birth ethnicity and a first name that was more from the parents heritage.
My dh is a korean adoptee and has a ridiculously scottish name, with an incorrect version of his birthname as his middle name. He hates having people assume he's white all the time, and he's actually gotten very negative reactions from people who think he's trying to trick them or something.
 

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Do you have a referral yet? You may be surprised. We did not choose a name ahead of time. With our first referral, her given name was Yesenia Faviola. We learned that she was named after her birth mother by her foster mother. But, the night of her referral, the same name came to both my husband and I in the middle of the night--Lily. So, we were naming her Lily Yesenia Faviola [our last name]. We loved the name Lily but when we lost her, we couldn't use it.

With our daughter, her name at referral was Wendy Marisol. Now, our last name is Irish and Wendy [our last name] sounds so ridiculously anglo. I wasn't in love with the name Wendy, but I learned that her birthmother named her so I wanted to keep it. When we first chose Guatemala back on New Years Even 2003 I dreamt that night of a little girl named Marisol. In hindsight I then realized that for years (decades?) I had dreams of a girl named Mari in our life. I can't explain it. I didn't even realize it consciously until very recently.

In any case, we kept her name as Wendy Marisol but we call her a nickname based on her middle name--Mari. It rhymes with "sari". It fits her perfectly.

Other people in our family already have a tradition of using a nickname based on the middle name as the baby's name so it's not weird for us.

Holli
 

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I love the name Flora!!


I don't know whether my experience will be helpful to you or not, because you said "adopted child," so I don't know whether you mean infant or child.

We adopted a toddler. He was named by the nuns at the orphanage he was brought to after the police found him. It's the Ethiopian version of a Biblical name (we're Buddhist). We kept it, odd spelling and all. We figured he was already going to experience so much change, changing his name would just be adding insult to injury. When my husband and I first taked about the name issue, he was surprised I even brought it up. This was before we even knew who our son was. He said, "Why would we change his name? It's HIS name!" That pretty much clinched it. He feels that way even about infants. I'm not sure with infants. I guess it would depend on the age. I would feel uncomfortable, personally, about changing a baby's name after 6 months. By then most kids know their names. I probably wouldn't even change a newborn's name, but that's just me.

Our adoption agency strongly encourages people to keep their kids' African names. She says that it's all they bring with them from their country. I think she's right.

DH and I decided that the only way we would change our son's name was if it was something completely unpronounceable (Yagrematchew comes to mind: it's an Ethiopian name that's not really pronounced as it looks) or if it sounded like a swear word or something in English (like Asefe, which has the emphasis on the Ass-syllable).

Namaste!
 

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Our oldest daughter was named by the nuns in the orphanage in Guatemala where she was left as a newborn. She was 27 mos old when we brought her home. We kept her name, as it fit with our religious beliefs, she was used to it, and we liked it. No one can pronounce it correctly though. We mostly call her Mari (shortened from her first name). The nannies at the orphange called her that and we picked it up when we visted her. She insists on it now.

Our other two children were adopted domestically at birth. One was named by her birth mother and we kept the name for the same reasons as above and because it was important to her birth mother. The name has taken on some real spiritual significance for us, so I'm so glad we didn't change it. Our youngest, I was given the privalege of being in the delivery room for her birth and we were given the privalege of naming her. We chose based on our religious and ethnic heritage and hers, as well as giving her a family name.
 

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We had 2 possible names for our ds before we got hif referral. Then we saw his picture and he looked nothing like the names we had chosen. The name he was given in Kazakhstan, Artur, didn't really suit him either. So we gave hm a name we love that is found in a multitude of cultures from Wales to Africa....Kai. There are different spellings, but we liked the fact that it was an international name for an international guy. :LOL For one middle name we gave him a family name and for a second, Artur.

For the baby girl we are waiting for, we have a first name picked out, but are willing and able to change it if it doesn't suit her. We hope to call her Rowan, like the tree.

Another thing to consider is how well the name they have been given works with your last name. It may seem trivial, but Artur Taylor looks funny and doesn't flow off the tongue.

Also, don't underestimate the significance of naming your child. We will never have birth children and having at least a hand in naming him was important to us. Had his name been one we loved, we would have kept it and given him his middle name.

Good Luck !
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mommydama
Our oldest daughter was named by the nuns in the orphanage in Guatemala where she was left as a newborn. She was 27 mos old when we brought her home.
Good point. My dh was 3.5 years old when he was adopted and was with his biofamily the entire time. His father, who died, had named him. I think having his name changed at such a late age caused him a lot of stress and emotional pain. He has said that he would prefer to go by his birthname, or part of it, but is afraid to offend his adoptive parents.
 

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Quote:
I work with an adult Korean adoptee named "Bridget O'Riley" (not really- I changed her name for this post, but it's similar) and she actually enjoys surprising people.
I have a friend who was adopted from S.Korea, also with a very Irish-sounding name, who also likes the fact that her name surprises people.

We picked first names we both liked. One was named after my mom (who is dead) and the other was given a girl's name we both loved. We used our daughters' Chinese names for their middle names.

We know some young adults who were adopted internationally, who have gone through a period, sometimes temporary, of wanting to use a name reflective of their ethnicity. We figured this would be easier if it was already part of their names. We did give some thought to picking Chinese names that we liked rather than use the names assigned by the orphanage. The orphanage names are often not considered particularly attractive by Chinese standards--one of my girl's names means "person who will emigrate," and is considered somewhat masculine.

However, like a pp mentioned, it is the one thing the children had from their birth country and we didn't want to take that away.
 

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We kept the first name the birthmother gave our daughter and came up with her middle (and obviously family) name. I consider it special that we honored her birthmother's wishes...

But it is an individual choice and there is not just one right way to do it.

HTH!
 

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We kept ds's birthname as his middle name. We had wanted to honor his birth heritage in some way, either using a family name from his birthmom's family or a name chosen by his birthmom. The name she chose ended up being extremely significant for all of us. For his first name, dh and I chose a name that we liked. We felt like it was important for him to have a name that came just from us as a way of being connected to our family too.
 

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We are currently waiting for a court date to complete our Russian Adoption. We have decided to keep our soon to be son's Russian name as his first name. His birthmom named him and we just thought it was important that he hold onto it. He is 2 years 9 months and his name fits him perfectly.
 

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:
 

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just wanted to add...our DD was 7 mths at referral, 9 mths when we got her....so for us changing her name was easier than if she had been an older child (and as I said, we still call her her Chinese name too so it was an easy transition)

my neighbor adopted 3 sisters from Russia....they were older...like 4, 5 & 7 so she kept/altered their first names but changed their middle names (one went from Yulia to Julia etc)
 

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DH and I have names picked out for a little boy or girl (we plan to keep the child's Korean name as his/her middle name) but we may change our minds once we receive our referral -- it could be that the name we've chosen just doesn't suit the little one! I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The first time we visit our daughter in Guatemala she will be a month old. So I think we are going to keep an open mind about the name situation until we actually see her. Because we will be seeig her when she is so young I am confident changing her name would be easier than an older child. We are going to keep her given name as a second middle name. Plus when we are down there and decide on a name we let the foster mom know she can get her used to it until we can bring her back.
 
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