adopting blog

Inspiration, Resources, Opinions & Advice From Our Adoption Community

Placing Your Child? Think Long & Hard About Choosing A Name

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Our given names are important. They distinguish us from other people and they identify us. Ultimately, our name becomes a part of who we are. Some girls fall in love with a name as a child or teen when they are dreaming of a family. Sometimes names come easily to expectant parents and other times, expectant parents pour over baby name books and websites for days and weeks finding the perfect name for their baby. I think naming a child is a huge responsibility and not something to be taken lightly.

It becomes trickier to name a child when adoption is involved. Birthmothers often wonder if they should name their baby knowing that the name can be changed by the adoptive parents. Adoptive parents often wonder if they should keep part of the name that a birthmother has chosen if she chooses to name her baby.

Personally speaking, I did not choose a name for my placed son. I had thought any boys I had would have Biblical first names and family middle names as I did with my first son, but I knew those names would mean a lot to me. I also knew that it was the adoptive parents' right to name this baby once he was placed with them, and I didn't want to interfere with that. I was worried that if I chose a name for him and then the adoptive parents changed it, I might have resentment towards them. For me, letting the adoptive parents choose a name and putting that on his original birth certificate was the best solution. I let them know I would not be naming my baby and would put whatever name they chose on his birth certificate. I listened as they tossed around names for a couple of weeks and ultimately settled on a name; that was the first and middle name on his original birth certificate with my last name.

However, fifteen years later, one of the few regrets I have regarding the adoption is not naming him. I'm not quite sure why that is a regret for me at this point, but it is. A couple of years after my son was born, his Mom told me she would have given him a name I chose if that was important to me. So I guess I regret not speaking up a little more, but I was so scared to rock the boat so to speak.

Expectant mothers considering adoption, I encourage you to think long and hard about naming your child. Don't not choose a name for them because you are afraid the adoptive parents might change it. If a name is super important to you, discuss it with the adoptive parents and explain why. Some adoptive parents are more than willing to keep part of a name their child's birthmom has chosen. Speak up and make your wishes known so you do not regret it later.

Adoptive parents, if your child's birthmother gives your child a name, consider keeping part of it. Even if you have to give your child more than one middle name, which is becoming more common nowadays. I think it's an amazing gesture and would be extremely meaningful to your child's birthmother.

I have heard of several circumstances where the birthmother and adoptive parents were even considering similar names before meeting, which I think is interesting and sometimes a sign of what was meant to be.

One trend I've noticed in the past few years with open adoptions is that some expectant mothers considering adoption and the adoptive parents they are matched with are discussing names and choosing a name for their child together. I think that's an amazing story to tell a child later in life – that all the parents chose his or her name together!