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Name changing?

(19 Posts)
oinker Tue 23-Nov-10 08:43:03

Our little boy has a beautiful name but it's an unusuall name. Birth family live relatively closeby and we are quite nervous about him being located. Battles were fought to keep him by the birth family. He has quite an extended family/siblings which are all in a 5 mile radius to us.
We really want to abbreviate his name legally are we wrong in wanting to do this? He answers to his abbreviated name as this was something his foster carers called him. I am not sure how social services will react?
Has anyone changed there little one's name?

hifi Tue 23-Nov-10 08:58:30

we changed both our dds, social services did battle us on the first but not on the second. dd1 name was awful and i would have been embarrassed saying it. you however have a very good reason for changing the name as its so identifiable and you live so close by.
we kept both dd birth names as middle names.

Kewcumber Tue 23-Nov-10 10:24:21

I kept DS's first name as a second and gave him a new first name but it was a bit easier decision for me as birth parents didn't name him and was young enough not to be that aware of it anyway.

In your case with brth family so close (isn't it unusual to place contested child within 5 miles?) and if his name is very unusual then I would either shorten (is it going to be sufficiently different?) or move to a second name. You might also be able to chose a first name which shortens to somehting very similar to what he currently answers to.

I think in the situation SS should be understanding - and if they're not do what you want anyway, any social worker who causes a problem over this is bonkers given your reasons.

Birth parens "rights" to name the child don't trump the childs right to privacy, at least until they are competent to make a decision about it for themselves.

oinker Tue 23-Nov-10 12:42:15

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to push for a change.
We did point out birth fathers close proximty to our home as I feared panel would suss it out. SS were not too bothered by it.

We will push for it.

thefirstMrsDeVere Tue 23-Nov-10 13:00:49

Theorically I am opposed to changing birth names BUT its easy to be theoretical isnt it smile. My views have softened over the years, the more I get to know about adoption and adoptive families.

If its a matter of safety of course you should change his name and I have heard of this reason being given several times.
I also know a few famlies who just couldnt keep the birth name. It was almost like the child had been named out of spite. Really unpleasant and embarrassing names.

I kept DS's name. I did think of changing the spelling as B.mum clearly didnt know how to spell it so just made it up. It also has the distinction of being one of the most hated names on Mumsnet grin. But we kept it in the end.
We gave him some more names from 'us' and he now has a reaaaaaallly long name. Our DD gave him one and thats really important now she isnt with us anymore.

I knew a sw who lectured us on not changing names and then went on to adopt. Guess what? She thought her Ds's name was a bit common so she changed it hmm

Short answer - do what is right for your DS.

EarthMotherImNot Tue 23-Nov-10 15:58:35

I often think a childs name is often all they have that belongs fully to them, in saying that we have fostered lo's with truly awful names so I wouldn't rule it out completely.

Where safety is an issue I think you are perfectly within reason to change your lo's name.

I do know of adopters who found their lo's name common so changed it only to have the child totally ignore every effort they made to get him used to it! They ended up going back to the original name.

oinker Tue 23-Nov-10 19:19:51

Earthmother, you are right about the link to birth family. that's something I do worry about. fortunately our LO does answer to his abbreviated name as this is something he has been called whilst in foster care. We have taken to using it to.
I realise it's one thing calling him the abbreviated name and another thing changing this on his birth/adoption certificate.
I will have to discuss it with social worker but our minds are made up. I just hope they see sense and to not kick up a fuss.
I have a fear they will get annoyed and take him from us biscuit Am I being irrational?

Kewcumber Tue 23-Nov-10 20:37:33

I am neither pro not anti changing brith names, I think it very much depends on the age and situation of the child. I do not think personally that a name given by adoptive parents when you are too young to remember when they will be your parents forever is less "yours" than a birth parent who may have had minimal (in DS's case virtually none) contact and may even have treated the child quite poorly in that time.

A bit like MrsDV I used to feel quite stringly about it but feel less so now as I have seen so many situations where it seems perfectly sensible to do so. I changed DS's given name (even though I liked it) because it would barely be recognisable as a name in this country and shortens to a swear word. the child in this equation should always come first not the wishes of the birth parents (or even the adoptive parents) - you are his parents now, you need to act in his best interests, in my experience in most cases it really isn't complicated to work out what is in a childs best interests.

hester Tue 23-Nov-10 21:23:51

I'm in a similar position, oinker, and tbh not quite sure myself about what to do yet. I also am not mad keen on changing children's names. But, bottom line, you are uncomfortably close to the bf and your family's security takes priority. Legally changing to the abbreviated name sounds like an ideal solution to me.

maryz Tue 23-Nov-10 21:40:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lilka Tue 23-Nov-10 23:23:22

I changed DS first name, kept his middle name and added his original first name onto the end as a second middle name. Works well, the main reason was because at the time having adopted his much older sister I was writing long letters to theor bmom and when she found that I would also adopt DS she wrote in her next letter things about him - and she admitted that she didn't even think she liked his first name any more She loved his middle name. So I didn't feel guilty about changing it, and she likes his new first name better I think. And I didn't like his original first name at all.

The DD's both had input into his new first name as well which was lovely for them as well! As much as you need to keep connections to family, the BP's do give a lot more to the child than just their names - there seems to be the thought that names are the only thing they give to the child, when they give so much more - inherent persoality traits, talents, likes and dislikes, memories both good and bad etc etc.

DD2 names didn't change at all ,but DD1 changed her middle names completely at nearly 12 when we finalized. They were very odd names which she didn't identify with at all, and she changed the middle name to 'Anna Shirley' after her favourite book haracter of all time! She slept with those books (one in particular) under her bed for years

So yes, security is a must, you don't need to be looking over your shoulders all the time.

Italiangreyhound Wed 24-Nov-10 01:27:40

If I can offer an opinion as a person who has not yet adopted (and was not adopted myself) I would go for safety and security all the time.

I would also agree with Kew that it is the child's best interests that count.

I would also agree with Lilka that birth parents give the child many things anyway.

Names do have quite a significance in some cultures but I don't know that that is very much the case in the UK (if that is where you are?).

Also, names can have an affect on people, I think giving children a very weird name that they need to spell or explain every time can be a pain for them and I would avoid that type of thing. So how much more important to avoid a name that could compromise their privacy. Especially with facebook etc which is a relatively new phenomenon and which social workers may not be able to predict all the implications of (for example now facebook is used more by adults but in the future younger kids may use something similar and a distinct name could be a distinct disadvantage.

All the best and congratulations on your little boy.

walesblackbird Wed 24-Nov-10 12:27:03

And now you have to think ahead and be aware of social networking sites. A child with an unusual or distinctive name will be easier for bps to trace - when the time comes. It's all very for sws to resist name changes but you're the ones who have to live with any security issues, not them. The world is changing, getting smaller and that needs to be taken into account now.

I changed all three of mine! My eldest had been given his bf's name which would have made him easily identifiable - social services requested we change it. My second child came with huge security issues and his name had to be changed - although we kept it as a middle name. My youngest had a beautiful name - which we've kept - but we use her middle name as her first name clashes horribly with our surname.

They all know their original names though and understand why they were changed.

bran Wed 24-Nov-10 12:40:10

We shortened DS's name when we adopted him. His given name was quite girly, most people would hear the name and assume he was female. What decided it for us was that he got a passport before he was adopted and it stated he was female on it. We reckoned that if we kept his name officially then he would have a lifetime of annoying little incidents like that. SS were absolutely fine about it as we could show that it was in his best interests to change (and it was only a minor change).

I think when you tell SS it's worth pointing out to them that as time passes it's going to get increasingly easier to find out all sorts of things about people online. If he has an unusual first name (say "Johnson") then he is more likely to pop up in a casual Google of that name than if his name is shortened to "John", because there are so many more Johns.

thefirstMrsDeVere Wed 24-Nov-10 16:40:58

The reasons for name changing and the way it is done have changed.

Years ago names were changed because the child was supposed to arrive as a blank slate. No baggage, brand new life, new family. This was very wrong in my personal opinion and I know that some adoptees were devastated by this.

The reasons given on this thread are not selfish. They all seem to be for the very best reasons AND the children have been informed or have even been involved.

I tried to talk to various Adoption orgs about the dangers of social networking sites a while ago. It hit us first because we are kinship adopters. Therefore the b.mum knows all our details and can find us in seconds on the internet. I have to say I was met with a fair bit of lethargy. I didnt try and start a campaign but I was trying to share my experience in order to get people thinking.

Its huge issue for adopted and fostered children - Massive and I really think it should be looked at in detail and some sort of training and policy developed. This may have been done, I am pretty much out of the loop TBH.

B.mum regularly stirs things up on the internet and its pretty hard to work out what to do. I usually start a thread on here because it always catches me on the back foot!

My son is now 7 so isnt on the internet. He has SN so it will probably be a while before he is. She WILL approach him, she WILL say and do innapropriate things. It IS going to happen.

Bit of topic, sorry but the world has moved on so much and it really affects adoptive families.

Kewcumber Wed 24-Nov-10 16:53:32

"Years ago names were changed because the child was supposed to arrive as a blank slate. No baggage, brand new life, new family. This was very wrong in my personal opinion and I know that some adoptees were devastated by this." Fair point MrsDV - I know if DS had a rasonable name even though not given by birth parents I would have left it (and even given his slightly unusual name I agonised about changing it) as it was something that was his before me. I was slightly hmm by the predominantly american adopters with me renamed their child for no apparent reason and on one circumstance gave the child a name that the locals could neither pronounce nor write in Russian. I did feel there was something, I don;t know how to explain, almost disrespectful to their birth culture.

Re socail networking - not a big problme for us but yes I think you are right and there has been alot of chat about this topic in adoption circles recently.

maryz Wed 24-Nov-10 17:15:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lilka Wed 24-Nov-10 19:03:43

DD1 and i are very careful on facebook/networking we have huge security issue. It would be in DD1's best interests to never hear from BP's ever again! They honestly treated her so bsdly I can't put some things on any forum, I post some things to illustrate that are dreadful and people say that I coukld use less bad examples - sorry what less bad examples?? I have much worse ones! Shw as nothing more than their property and they cetainly regard her as a subhuman who can do their bidding an d nothing else angry

I helped her set up her facebook account a couple of years ago using a joint email we both share, so i knew what was going on, even though she is an adult she is vulnerable abnd needs this. Her privacy settings are so high she can't be searched in the facebook people finder - you can do that by the way, people don't realise you can make yourself unfindable in facebook search. She has very few friends and is tagged by a nickname only, not her real first name.

KristinaM Wed 24-Nov-10 21:51:04

oinker - i agree with everyone else, you must do the best for your child

please don't feel that you need to persuade SS about this. when the time comes, YOU or YOUR solicitor ( who you are paying) will submit YOUR adoption petition to court. This will state the names for your child.The court will grant YOU the adoption, not SS

If ss wish to continue to be in charge of Dss life, they should keep him in foster care and not place him for adoption. The decision they got to make was placing him with you. YOU get to make all the other decisions about his parenting

if SS ask you about it, i would listen carefully to their opinion and say that you have not decided yet. remember their opinion is just that. they have no evidence that they are right and you are wrong

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