Name issues

(40 Posts)
Lilka Tue 20-May-14 23:21:08

Two children with name issues at the same time! Can I ask what you make of it?

DS has been wanting to drop his second middle name for months and months, and lately he's asked several times. He's quite adamant about it now. I've been waiting these past months to see whether this was a temporary or likely to be a sustained want, because I don't want to be changing names back and forth. But I'm think I've reached the conclusion that I'm going to let him change it and drop it. I've not found this an easy conclusion to come to - it's his birth name and I know this has been caused by all the birth family issues we've been having. I'm sad by the complete rejection of everything associated with his birth family, even contact with his other adopted birth siblings. The name is the next step. Nor am I happy with forcing him to have a name he doesn't want and doesn't like, especially since I let the DD's have choice over their names when they were about his age.

So overall I've decided that I'll let him drop it. Which raised another issue - just have the one middle name, he doesn't want to do this because nearly everyone in the family has 2 middle names, including both his sisters and DGD1 (DGD2 only has one, but it sounds like two names). having one would make him 'different' from the rest of the family.

So today I asked "What do you want to pick as your new name?" and he's saying "you pick one". Clearly he's desperate to be as much like a birth child of mine as possible (as in, parents pick the names) which I'm also sad about because none of my children are less or more mine because I picked or didn't pick their names.

So we're both standing here saying "you pick the name" and I need a compromise. He needs to really like his new middle name and feel comfortable with it, I need to know that he does, so I refuse to just select a name and say 'this is it'. He's determined to have a name that cements him in this family. Compromise suggestions?

Also, I can't say this to him but I can have a minute to be sad about all this. I'm sure many of you will understand sad

Lilka Tue 20-May-14 23:34:28

And the second issue is the opposite!!! DD2 is talking about double barreling surnames. She changed to mine when she was adopted, and didn't express a desire then to retain her last name (I would have double barreled then if she had been clear that she wanted that)

I'm sure you can all guess why she suddenly wants this when she didn't before, without me telling you angry Therein lies the issue - if she came up with the idea on her own because she really wanted to, it would be fine, though painful for me, being completely honest. But this isn't her idea, and I'm once again angry and fed up of the interference in her life. She's the on who never had options, she didn't ask to be taken into care or adopted. She's an adult, and she deserves to not be influenced and told what to do. I can tell she's not really sure she wants to do it by what she's saying and the way she's talking about it.

Now she's an adult, and so unlike DS I don't have to give permission or sign off on it.

I'm not sure what to do, apart from reiterating again and again that it's her name and she shouldn't do anything she isn't totally comfortable with doing. I could suggest she place the surname as a third middle name (it works as a given name as well as a surname), but that's no good if she's also not 100% comfortable with that. I could phone a certain someone and get angry and demand she stop it, but that's not likely to help the situation any. I could try and simply say to DD 'I don't want you to do it' which would give her a way to say 'it's not going to happen' except that it's a well known fact that over 18's don't need permission

Fuck this crap, but any suggestions?

Also, DS is going to take it really well if his sisters name is suddenly his birth surname, given what he's thinking. Really well indeed sad

Lilka my darling you can be sad about it, of course. I have to say I am totally with your son on this one and don't feel it is a situation that requires you to feel so sad (but you are welcome to). I have said before names do not mean so much to me and I feel he has every right to want to drop a name and to have a new one and for you to choose it. And, if I can be so bold, I think you can enjoy embracing this if you possibly can. It is your son making a choice for himself, all the other stuff, whether he was adopted, who he was adopted by, that was not chosen by him! Here he is making a choice for himself and - hey presto - his choice is he wants you, the most special person in his life, to actually make the choice! BUT it is still his choice!

Sorry if I am over simplifying. It is just how I feel.

If I were you I would embrace it with a warm dose of 'you don't need to change for me but you are welcome to change for you' and another splodge of 'lets make if special and you can help me to choose'. Either get him to narrow down the field to 10 or 12 (or 2 or 3) names he likes and you make the final choice or he starts you off with a few ideas and you narrow down and he makes final selection with you. You can gauge as you go how he feels.

We all are so much more than our names, more than our genes, more than the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I would go so far as to say we are a big chunk of how we respond to our genes, and all they bring, and to the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

Sorry if I am over simplifying. I just think he has every right and if you can enjoy it, it may be liberating, you have done so much for your children, it is so clear you love them so much, and if he changes his mind in 5 years you can always change it again.

A rose by another other name would smell as sweet! (Sorry if I am wrong! I am new to adoption!). smile

TheSarcasticFringehead Tue 20-May-14 23:38:15

Could you make a list of a lot of names and suggest he picks one out of the list- even better if it's long and you have an idea of the sort of names he likes?

I know I bugged my mum about what would she have called me (I am adopted), could I change my name to what she would have called me (if I was a birth child) and so on, although didn't do it officially- I wanted to as a teen and part of me regrets not adding a middle name even now.

MerryInthechelseahotel Tue 20-May-14 23:39:26

he's determined to have a name that cements him in this family
He deserves this, doesn't he. Can you pick a family surname to use? My children all have this as a third name before the surname. It's so sad for all the hurt and disappointment our children have to go through sad

Maryz Tue 20-May-14 23:43:03

I have two very simple answers for you.

Issue 1: let ds call himself anything he likes. If he wants a middle name to make him part of your family, do out a family tree with first, middle and surnames for every family member you can remember going back as far as possible, and see will he pick one of them (that's how loads of people get middle names).

Issue 2: Be devious. Count up how many letters there are, talk about how infuriating it is to have to type/write it every time, make a list of all the things that would have to be changed (school, certs, bank accounts, passport) and the zillions of forms that would have to be filled. Sigh a lot. Hopefully it will be far too much work.

Ironically ds2 wants to change his surname from dh's to mine; I'm taking the "write long lists and sigh a lot" approach, and I think he's giving up the idea out of pure laziness.

steppemum Tue 20-May-14 23:45:04

He wants a name that cements him in the family.

How about your dh's name/middle name, or grandparents name? Are there any family names/surnames you could use?

I am guessing that the significance of the name is more important than the name itself.

PS My reply was in relation to your son, I didn't see your daughter's dilemma until after I posted.

I guess if she is an adult she can do what she wants. If you strongly suspect she is being influenced why not see if she can give you three or four good reasons to change it and then when/if she can't just say something like, why not wait a few months and see how you feel. If I were you I would actually ask her how she wants you to respond, if she is able to say she actually wants you to object so she has a reason to say that then you may wish to do that. A bit like the kid whose friends all want him to go out late to a party and he doesn't so asks mum or dad to 'object' so he can not go and not lose face. This may muddy waters between you and birth mum but you may feel it is worth it. Or your dd may not feel able to articulate herself sufficiently to work out what she really wants in this equation. You could point out the major hassle of changing bank and other legal documents (which may not be the case for your son as I expect he has not yet got a bank card/travel card/credit card etc. Your dd may not either but she may have something - nail bar membership card/guides membership card/ leisure centre or youth hostel card etc )!!

At the end of the day, please do not allow this /unfortunate aspect to come between you and dd2. Could you also employ DD1 in the name game and get her as big sister to advise, or an impartial aunt or friend, or uncle etc who could point out what a waste of time and energy it is or how it is manipulative frm BM without your being the bad person in anyone's eyes?

Good luck.

Cross posted with Mary, yes sigh a lot, lot of membership cards to change, is there a fee to change passport etc, all such a hassle if you do not really want to......

ancientbuchanan Tue 20-May-14 23:58:37

How lovely he wants to have s name you chose. I'd be open with him about why it makes you sad, and that you don't want him.to do something he would regret later.

I'd do the short list thing and then see if there are day that make him.go yuk. Once those are gone, put the rest in z hat and with his hand in yours, draw one out. Then try it for size for the next week or so.

Do they have god parents or sponsors? Because you could have a celebration of his name party, with them and grandparentsn if not, it's never too late to get them....

On your daughter, I'd also be open, and say that you are a little worried and want to know that she isn't being pressured, but her various bits of family go to make her up, , nature and nurture, and she is an adult. And give her some options. Usage but no change, middle name not surname, legal change with hyphen or without, no change at all. And she is still your daughter come hell or high water.

Lilka Wed 21-May-14 01:18:34

Thank you so much everyone

I really like the idea of making a list of names for him to have a look at, with my family names - luckily I have a large extended family and lots of ancestors to borrow from, many of the names I love. And asking him what he thinks of them - and I'll tell him it's okay if he doesn't particularly like those because I can come up with plenty others.

I'm not going to tell him that I'm sad buchanan because I don't want to be putting my feelings on him or making him feel bad. I've got to let him do what he wants to do and he shouldn't feel guilty about it. I have to deal with my feelings privately

Italian you know you don't need to be sticking disclaimers in your posts now grin And you can't be 'wrong' about something like this, which is all about personal opinion. Thank you for your perspective, since this is now happening, I am going to try and think very positively about what he is gaining from this, and he is gaining as well smile And chelsea as well, yes, that's a good way to look at it, that he deserves to feel as rooted in his family as possible.

I didn't think of pointing out to DD what a hassle it is to spell a long surname (she doesn't like writing things!) and fill in forms, good idea!

prumarth Wed 21-May-14 07:05:25

Hi Lilka, wow, 2 name challenges!
I agree that using family names for your son could be a lovely way of affirming his place in your family. You could between you research the meanings of the names too to add to the process - so the name choice has a meaning that appeals to you both.
I'm so sorry that your daughter is again being manipulated. How frustrating for you and unfair to her. Maybe between you, you could come up with a list of pros and cons of name changing to help her formulate her thoughts then leave the final decision to her.
Good luck!

LastingLight Wed 21-May-14 08:18:41

I have nothing to add to the good ideas already given. We are probably going to face the same situation with dd as you now have with dd2. She has on more than one occasion expressed the desire to have the bio family's surname (which I must admit I find very hurtful). Last year she came home with her report in an envelope on which she had written her name and their surname. Dh, fil and I all took her on about it, in retrospect we should just have ignored.

Kewcumber Wed 21-May-14 11:11:17

How odd Lilka - DS has just said (last week) he doesn't want his middle name (his birth name) anymore - I wonder if its an age thing. He says he doesn't like writing it down in school. I haven't really tackled it yet because so far he's just made a passing comment and I've said that of course he can drop it if he wants to.

I suspect its because his name is quite unusual but like you I would be more than a bit sad about it. I called him by that name for about a month before I decided it really wasn't suitable for the UK and chose his new name but it remiinds me of that scared little scrap who wouldn't look at me. Its a part of our past. But ultimately its not up to me - he is more than his name, I just wouldn't want him to make a decision now that he would later regret.

I'm going to have a longer talk with him over the holidays because I have a suspicion that it may be as simple as asking the school to drop it. They've had assessments recently and I think it was a surprise for him to see it printed on cover sheets.

I think being practical with DD2 may be a start ie how long and complicated it is to write and perhaps also say that there's no rush to make up her mind, she has her whole life to decide. Her name isn;t going anywhere without her.

Legally surnames are trickier to change than firstnames I wonder if the forms might put her off (that sounds bad doesn;t it -!) I'm not suggesting she must be "put off" just that it might test her commitment, to have to get the change of name forms and fill them all in...

Kewcumber Wed 21-May-14 11:13:28

If he is insistent that he needs a new middle name then I would choose one yourself. In fact I would choose several perhaps look up the meanings and pick one that you think reflects his character. Give him say three names, explain why you chose each of them and ask him to choose the one he likes best.

Kewcumber Wed 21-May-14 11:16:15

Just a thought - did DD1 change her name when she married? If so you and DD2 would plan to change surname on marriage then you could point out that the hassle over the change would become irrelevant if she plans to change her name again in future.

Or what if she and a partner decided to double barrel - what on earth would her surname end up as!!

Maryz Wed 21-May-14 13:44:08

ds just stopped using his middle name - he doesn't have it on anything, school, forms, passport anything.

We didn't do anything active about it, he just quietly dropped it. I did feel a bit bad at the time as it is the only thing he came with (even his clothes were one awful ragged set from the foster family, nothing at all from his bm sad).

But he didn't like it, so he didn't use it.

MerryInthechelseahotel Wed 21-May-14 13:50:23

Maryz that's terrible about the ragged clothes sad it makes me want to cry hearing that so I don't know how you must have felt!

Maryz Wed 21-May-14 13:59:26

They were awful Merry sad

He was only a baby, but it was a vest that was grey and had only one working popper between the legs and a green babygro (one of those towelling ones) that was so faded it was hard to tell what colour it had been.

He had one bottle and one dummy. Not even a blanket or comforter or teddy.

Maryz Wed 21-May-14 13:59:38

Oh, and letter with instructions hmm

MerryInthechelseahotel Wed 21-May-14 19:28:32

So awful. I bet it's a different story now if we could see inside his drawers (so to speak!)

What were the instructions? Buy more clothes?

Devora Wed 21-May-14 19:53:18

Wowzer, Lilka, your family don't half do things in multiple grin

OK, I think you should, actually, choose your ds a name. Abandon the stand-off; sit him down with a family tree, talk through them all with him, describe the qualities of the named people, then say: "I would like to call you x because you are loyal/artistic/really good at jokes/whatever." You will by then have picked up his responses to each name, I hope. And of course, if he grimaces you can quickly come up with, "Or maybe...."

With your dd - ouch, poor you. I wouldn't set it up as a big battle; tell her that she is of course perfectly entitled to use whatever name she wants. In fact, you don't even have to do it by deed poll - Uk law recognises are your name whatever names you are using. DON'T tell her that this will, in practice, cause her no end of hassle: just let her find out for herself. And then hopefully she'll abandon the idea. And if she doesn't, you know she's really determined.

I really feel for you on that one, though. How hard for your ds, in particular sad

namechangesforthehardstuff Wed 21-May-14 20:26:26

Hi Lilka - re your DD something a pp said had resonance for me. I left home at 17 and went to live somewhere entirely unsuitable basically because I was expecting my parents to forbid me to and they only went and bloody didn't grin .

Is it possible that she needs you to forbid it? I know you can't actually force her not to but does she need you to say no so she can say she doesn't want to fight with you about it?

Lilka Wed 21-May-14 22:09:08

I've been perusing my family tree today! Good thing for me I've done a bit of family history so I have a few generations back. Lots of lovely names here, ones with a lot of meaning and connections as well, ones which get repeated again and again.

I still feel a bit sad but doing this searching has also made me feel positive - it will be nice for him to have a meaningful family name. I'll show him what I've come up with tomorrow. A list of, I think there's going to be 7 or 8 names when I've finished narrowing down, and I'll tell him how much I love all these family names and maybe he'd like to help narrow it down further?

Maryz that's awful sad Your poor ds, he deserved so much better

Kewcumber Wed 21-May-14 22:10:38

Is it possible that she needs you to forbid it?

I wondered that too name changes. Maybe she wants you to say - "i don;t want you to change your surname, I like that all our family have the same name it means a lot to me. If I'm allowed an opinion I would say no"

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