A rose by any other name, would smell so sweet!

(119 Posts)

Please, if you feel willing and able, come and share your thoughts on names.

Please, please be aware this will be a sensitive and emotive topic so please:

Only share what you feel comfortable and no real names or nick names at all, please.

We were told we should not change a child's name. But I know some people do, have done, will do. I know that it used to be common practice.

Does anyone use nicknames or pet names or change things round?

Have any people adopted as children experienced name change either by their choice or adopted parent choice and how does it feel.

How do birth and adoptive parents feel?

Sorry, I know it will be emotive so let's all be nice to each other! after all this my thread will probably be empty!

MrsRuffdiamond Wed 29-Jan-14 16:29:51

Sorry, this is off-topic, but I was interested to read the made-up names Angelwings mentioned, as I had no idea this was a 'thing' until a friend of mine recently said that he had come across such a name at work (nothing to do with adoption) - K-A (pronounced Kadasha).

I thought he was joking at first! (I actually quite like it!)

Hels20 Wed 29-Jan-14 16:36:03

What an interesting thread! DH and I would like to change DS's name - not because we intensely dislike it but because it is so rare (you can check how rare a name is v easily on ONS website) and we don't live a million miles from BP.

We have been concerned from the word go about DS's name - and would like to change it - at least legally - by putting his current first name as his middle name and putting a very ordinary name (but a name that means something to us) as his first name. But we are meeting pressure from SWs. And as we haven't put in formal adoption application - unsure exactly how to handle this (although, as soon as we adopt, we can change name anyway!)

Interestingly, I have a friend who fosters whose foster children who were adopted had their names changed. Too much playground teasing - and at 6 or 7 the children changed their names.

Hayleyh34 Wed 29-Jan-14 16:39:51

I think my worry would be that the children would think that nothing in this world is permanent and solid including who they are.

My DD still worries about being told that she's getting a new mummy and daddy and it is a massive source of worry to her. The one thing that has always stayed the same for her is her name.

Hels20 Wed 29-Jan-14 17:16:27

Appreciate your views Hayley but for me it is all about traceability. I do have serious concerns about BP tracking him down when he is 12 or 13 and going through that difficult teenage phase.

Lots of excellent advice here, for me, and so helpful thank you.

What I found hard at the prep group was that we were not told to take into consideration the needs of the child etc or the security issues or anything else, we were told don't change the name!

This discussion is very grown up and mature in that it takes into consideration that not all situations will be the same and not all needs will be the same.

I also feel that facebook is a major game changer. If our adopted child (not yet matched) wants to go on facebook as a teenager he/she will need to be aware of name things, so whatever choices we make at every stage will be in their best interest and not in ours. As I said before naming a child does not (in my humble opinion) work out quite so easily in real life!

I do like the idea of adding a middle name. I had not really thought of that.

Lilka wise as ever. Thanks to all.

Please keep your perspectives coming, please, and real life examples of how things have worked out.

KristinaM Wed 29-Jan-14 18:42:06

I am an adoptee. My name was changed and it doesn't bother me. Both versions were equally ordinary, it wasn't a security issue.

I don't really see how a name I had for a year or so is somehow more ME or my REAL name than the one I've had for more than 40 years. I find it rather bizarre when people ask me what is my " real name " ( obviously I'm fake ) .

Likewise, I don't understand people saying " it's the only thing my birth parents gave me " . Really??? I don't know about you, but I got my entire DNA, my hair colour, eyes, eyesight, skin colour and every single part of my body from my birth parents. My medical conditions, family history, Many of my mannerisms, my likes and dislikes, my love of sport, gardening etc etc.

So I'm unsure where all these other adopters got their bodies and minds from ! A few letters on one birth certificate rather than another seems very insignificant to me compared with all that .

In addition, I know lots of adoptees who have got plenty other things from their birth parents - addictions, brain injuries , abuse and lifelong psychological damage . I bet they wish that a name was " the only thing their birth parents gave them. "

If only adoption was that straightforward -that our children arrived as little blank slates with a luggage label attached to their name, printed with their name , the only legacy from their birth parents hmm

namechangesforthehardstuff Wed 29-Jan-14 18:45:19

Yes, thanks for starting this Italian as it's been on my mind too as we go into stage 2. I think it's coming down to pros and cons on both sides and looking at your own unique child, their history and past present and future identity.

And I suppose it's a continuum innit? From a ten month old baby named 'Shithead' (that was a famous one in the States I think - it's allegedly pronounced 'Shu-teed') after his abusive parent, to a 9 year old named Jane after her grandmother, and all things in between....

golemmings Wed 29-Jan-14 19:54:12

Interesting points Kristina. I'm adopted too. I was adopted from birth and my adoptive parents changed my name from that which my birth mother gave to me.

other than a vest and a baby grow I do feel it was one of the key things she chose for me. I wasn't planned but she chose to give me life and to give me a better life than that which she could have provided.

for that I am grateful and I added my original birth name back in as a confirmation name.

is my birth name part of my identity? No. Is its inclusion a mark of respect to a young, scared sigle woman who put me up for adoption? Yes.

I am awae though that my situation probably occurs very rarely these days though.

Bananaketchup Wed 29-Jan-14 20:11:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

allthingswillpass Wed 29-Jan-14 20:23:09

All cases are unique in adoption.
Our LO came home 6 months ago and we felt his name didn't need changing. It's not what we would have chosen but it's grown on us over time and is pretty common.
We felt that as soon as we heard about him then met FF & FC, he just fitted his name and by the time we met him, we couldn't imagine calling him anything else so AO is in and we didn't change his name or add anything.
I know adopters that have been advised to change names for security reasons and others that have added a first or middle name.
You have to do what feels right IMHO.

Angelwings11 Wed 29-Jan-14 20:28:47

Hels20 have you applied for the AD order yet? If you live close to the BP's and he has an identifiable name I would seriously be pushing to alter it slightly or change it. The SW should know that FB is a major problem with BF/AC initiating contact without going through the appropriate channels....just read the many adoption forums. Many of my adopter friends had the birth name as a middle name.

Moomoomie Wed 29-Jan-14 20:40:29

We kept all three girls names.
Dd1 has a very unusual name with an unusual spelling. I think she rather likes the individuality of her name.
Dd2 has a unisex name, which to me was the most difficult to come to terms with, it is not particularly unusual, she now goes by an abbreviation of this name and does not like us to use her full name. We also use a nick name for her.
Dd3 has a very pretty name, also popular, it has been in the top ten for the last few years. It was hyphenated but we dropped the second part. We changed her middle name as she had birth mums name as her middle name. She also is known at times by a nick name.

Moomoomie Wed 29-Jan-14 20:43:15

Ironically we were told we could change dd3 name, as BM and bd were living in the same town as us, we decided not to as it was not unusual, if it had have been, we would have thought about changing it.
I think while you are waiting for a child, you imagine the worst names possible.

TeenAndTween Wed 29-Jan-14 20:44:52

One thing I've not seen mentioned yet is relating to siblings and traceability.

Two siblings might have individually not massively unusual names, say Kascey, and Alfie. But pairing them up as Kascey-and-Alfie makes them more findable and noticable.
On google - Kascey 7000 hits, Alfie 3.8 million, both together only 172 hits.

I don't think a first name should be changed without good reason, but in adoption I think there can quite often be good reasons.

CloserThanYesterday Wed 29-Jan-14 20:49:51

My post wasn't a direct response to you hayley ... I can completely see your reasoning. Those are just some of the thoughts I've been having on the subject - I just wondered if a change of name would be so very bad for every child.

I guess each individual situation is different and adopters have to be careful they are thinking of their child, and not just themselves.

crazeekitty Wed 29-Jan-14 20:57:04

Oh how I wish I could change dd's name. A. For security and B. Because it has a double meaning which some people with a particular lifestyle will pick up on. She is too naive to know but when I told one friend dd's name (before placement) she actually said "what?! You can call a child THAT?"

Her name shows so little respect to my poor lo and it really hurts that she is actually proud of it because it is 'unusual'.

So yes, I use a nickname which I hope will stick. A stick-name.

BettyBotter Wed 29-Jan-14 21:02:07

What do people think about double-barreling the original name with a new name in order to keep the former but use the latter? Is this a sensitive compromise or the worst of all worlds?
e.g. People I know well adopted a dd about 3 with an extremely unusual name - along the lines of KD'Scha pronounced Kadesha. They double-barrelled it with a name they chose to make KD'Scha-Rose (obviously not that) and then gradually in family situations dropped the first bit and used just the Rose bit. Her official name on passports etc remained the double-barrelled version but friends and nursery etc began to use Rose too.

I realise this wouldn't work in lots of situations but it seemed a fairly good way of respecting her name and origins while adapting it in a way that fitted her family. I don't know what I think

SorrelForbes Wed 29-Jan-14 21:03:36

My DFC's name always gets negative comments. I honestly don't think she'll ever be proud of it. It honestly is on the same level as being called 'Hoover' or 'Magimix' or 'Raleigh Chopper'

excitedmamma Wed 29-Jan-14 21:05:24

My AD has an unusual name.

We have previously fostered other children and one in particular had a name that I really did not like. I am incredibly ashamed to admit that it did affect me and I found it incredibly difficult to bond blush blush

Whilst I understand on name changing for 'stupid names' and security issues.. I do think that if YOU don't like the name - then you should not be considering this child.

My opinion is that it is fundamental to who they are - their identity, a 'tangible' link to their birth family and it should not be considered as something that can be changed just because YOU don't like it.

Yeah, sure, you inherit DNA and genes from your birth parents too, but a name is more 'meaninful', 'thoughtful' and very often has a link to wider family. (Which like it or not.. they do have!!)

Putting your 'stamp' on the child (for want of a much better phrase) to me, is not important... the 'stamp' is your parenting skills, nurture... its not about 'ownership'.

I can understand the addition of a middle name - I have no problem with that - although we are not adding anything to our AD's... she is getting our surname and to me that is the most important one!! smile

We are fortunate to love our dd's unusual name - it is WHO she is - it is a name that will take her far in life (we believe).

I don't always agree with SW's.. but I'm with them on this...

MyFeetAreCold Wed 29-Jan-14 21:37:45

We've changed DD's name for security.

Absolutely nothing to do with putting our stamp on her or claiming ownership or not liking her original name and everything to do with it putting her and her brother at risk.

We also were told at prep not to change names, but in the same sentence they also told us some BM's deliberately give their children odd names to make them traceable. This was the case here.

We have done this with the support of SS.

Whatutalkinboutwillis Wed 29-Jan-14 22:13:29

We have kept our ds first name but removed his many middle names and given him a new middle name of our choice. Luckily his first name is a popular normal name that we had considered for ds1!

TulipsfromAmsterdam Wed 29-Jan-14 22:14:15

We received lots of conflicting advice during prep course. We were given leaflets which were both for and against changing first names though the SW's were very against it.
Then we were asked by lo's guardian if we were going to change name for security as the Judge had asked. The SW's were still against it and advised us not to for all the reasons previously mentioned regarding identity.
Our new SW came to visit and during discussions said often families will use the new middle name as known by name for schools etc so things got more confusing.
Lo has been with us since discharge from hospital so almost 2 years and we are all very used to his quite unusual name. I know I was a bit surprised when fostering SW called and first mentioned it but it suits and would be very difficult to change now smile

Devora Wed 29-Jan-14 22:26:42

dd came to us with an unusual name with a unique spelling. We were first linked with her when she was 6 months old, which is a good time to change a name if you're going to do it, but we were very good and accepted as gospel that we shouldn't. we did, however, ask matching panel if we could spell her name the correct, received way, because it really would have made her stand out like a sore thumb at school, and she would spend her life correcting people's spelling.

When she was 18 months old her social worker disclosed to us that the security threat was much, much worse than we had originally been led to believe. We were very shaken, and raised this at a review meeting. The 3 social workers in the room suggested we change her name. I said, "I thought we weren't allowed to", and they shrugged and said that most adopters do.

Words can't describe how annoyed with them I was. We could have discussed this sensibly a full year before - now, it felt like a much bigger deal to change her name. In the end, our solution was to shorten her name to a version that is very, very similar but much more popular (and so less traceable). Though we have always called her by the nickname she acquired in foster care, so she won't have noticed any difference.

I do respect the rationale for, generally, not changing children's names. In our case, the security concerns were serious enough that I would have changed the name if we'd known in time, but I think I would have used her birth mother's middle names, which are very pretty and I think would have honoured the intention.

Thanks so much for so many great bits of information.

And thank you especially to Kristina and golemmings for giving the perspective of someone who has been through adoption from the child's perspective.

Hels20 you said you can check how rare a name is v easily on ONS website, what's the ONS website?

Thanks

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