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Advise please

(201 Posts)
Catvsworld Mon 11-Apr-16 21:13:50

Hi We are with a agncey

We would like to change our child's name less than 100 children have been born in the U.K. With the name

Also sw admitted that BM had been Facebook stalking siblings

Our sw has told us that though the LA may kick up a stink they can't actually stop us putting the new name on the AO

Is this correct we want to put the old name as the middle name and the new name first

tldr Mon 11-Apr-16 22:09:34

That's right, they can't.

You complete AO and send it direct to court so they needn't even be aware til that point. Then Adoption Cert (which replaces birth cert) is issued in new name.

Placing SWs could decide placement is wrong/adoption by you is not in child's best interests so they could disrupt placement (prior to AO) as they could if they thought something else was wrong, or if it got to court they could say they thought is wasn't in child's best interests, and then it'd be up to the judge to decide. (I think, am not lawyer.)

But, if child is already placed and is young I hope to God they wouldn't do this. I do think it's a small risk but I guess it's possible.

Could your SW test the water a bit with LO's SW? Would you trust her to do that? Obviously it'd just be nicer/easier all round with everyone on board.

If you broach it with placing LA you can couch it in terms of security/normalcy online in the future, rather than because you don't want kid with weird name.

flightywoman Mon 11-Apr-16 22:31:30

It's a tricky one really, a lot of authorities really don't like a name change for various reasons, some entirely sensible, some not.

You'd have thought if you have a name that fewer than 100 other children have then you might be able to build a good case for a name change or modification on the basis of security and identification, particularly if the child is within your region already. However, looking at the girl's names data for 2005 as an example, names that number 100 - 105 children that year include 100 kids called Tanya, Frances and Arabella counting 101 each, Fiona at 102, Helen at 104 and 105 girls who were named Leanne. None of these are 'out there' names of the kind that would make them massively identifiable. So I wouldn't necessarily bank on the number of instances of your name being a huge help.

I think you have a much better argument in the facebook stalking. If BM has already tried to find siblings then there is a good argument to say that she might try it with your child too. And from a safety point of view it is the path I would try to pursue.

And I thnk your case is helped by retaining it but as the middle name rather than just getting rid of it altogether. That should demonstrate it's about safety, rather than anything else.

Poppystellarcat Tue 12-Apr-16 00:04:10

Agree with previous posters. It's at the point where you fill in the paperwork for AO that you change name. I would think that you have a strong case for changing name due to potential FB stalking based on BM's previous behaviour, and if you are keeping the original name as part of the new name then you are showing you are in no way trying to erase the child's identity. If you have a good relationship with good sensible social workers (both yours and childs) then definitely speak to them about it explaining your thought process and reasoning. I would expect them to understand and be supportive if they have their heads screwed on.

I had to modify my Dd's first names because they were spelt incorrectly (by BP) but kept both of them (spelt correctly) as part of her 'new' name. Her 'new' name is an abbreviation of her birth name and was the name she was known by whilst with her foster carers. As she was nearly 3 when she came to me and recognised her name I couldn't have changed it fully but think this is perfectly possible to do with a younger child, and certainly perfectly reasonable in this case. For what it's worth, no one at court or during any part of the AO application process raised an eyebrow about my DD's change of names (poor kid has three now in total!)

Italiangreyhound Tue 12-Apr-16 00:24:49

Agree with pps, * Catvsworld* there should be good grounds for name change.

If you test the water and it is not looking like they are sympathetic I would not push it, personally. You can still file to change it without there consent at adoption order. You could also change it by deed poll, as far as i am aware, after the adoption, if you feel that is 'safer'. Just check that out, confidentially if you wish to, don't take my word for it as we have not done it!

We kept our son's name, first and middle. I wanted to drop the middle name and came under pressure from social workers not to lose that name as it was 'important to birth parents'. We added a name too.

For me I am happy we kept his names BUT our son was walking, talking and spelling his own name by the time he came to us. I was also aware (I can't say how but I was) that there was very low risk. Had he not been able to spell his own name or had there been a risk, I wonder if we may have had the confidence to change it.

I feel more strongly now than ever that if it is right to change the name for safety reasons there are no reasons in my mind that outweigh that.

Social media will be an issue for us. I may well start using a nickname for our ds as he gets older so when he gets to social media age he has the choice to use that if he wants to.

Just as an aside, remember, once your child is adopted you will not need to worry about social workers.... and if anyone tells you that crap about the name being all the birth parents have given their child... just remember (I am not saying to say it but just remember) the birth parents dictated hair, eye and skin colour, blood type, all the pre-birth experiences and many of the early post birth experiences..

Good luck.

Kr1stina Tue 12-Apr-16 20:30:05

Don't test the waters with anyone . Don't mention it to anyone and just put it on the adoption petition.

It's not about what SW want, it's about what is in your child's best interest.

And BTW make sure no one in your family posts anything about your child on FB. You will have to tell everyone not to, believe it or not they can't work it out on their own .

Also tell NO ONE any background details about your child . I mean no one . So many people tell granny and discover she has told half the town. Or tell a other family member who they then fall out with and they dish the dirt to everyone .

And when your child is older, the need to use a made up name / nickname on FB, not their real full name .

Italiangreyhound Tue 12-Apr-16 22:56:30

Actually I agree with Kr1stina I would not test the waters, personally, but I did say

" If you test the water and it is not looking like they are sympathetic..." But I think Kr1stina is right because I wonder if social workers are all inclined to present the same sort of 'view'!

We certainly were not encouraged at all to drop our son's middle name and I feel the reason was primarily a concern about what the birth parents might think.

MintyLizzy9 Tue 12-Apr-16 23:37:16

I've just done this!

It was actually SS that suggested a name change so I filled out my application a few weeks ago with new name (no mention of birth names as very unusual hence why I had to change) fast forward to LAC review last week and I had the head almost eaten off me when the independent bod asked what the new names would be (DS has been called by his new name form day one f being with me). My SW whom I had shared the full new name with PRIOR to panel, during panel and post panel went off on one as I hadn't included any of names she told me I had to change confused SW said that panel would not be happy (the same panel who said the new names I had chosen were lovely!).

So rather than tell her to fuck off I agreed to include his birth surname as a middle name as this was much less identifying and had to contact the court to made the amendment to my application. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel, they are writing the suitability report for the AO hearing so it wasn't a battle worth fighting IYSWIM.

So long as you're keeping one if the names as a middle not sure what they can argue about (so long as DC is too young to know the difference of having name changed).

can't wait to say fuck off as I skip out of court

Italiangreyhound Wed 13-Apr-16 00:38:04

Crazy isn't it! The birth parents cannot care for the child but they are able to choose a name and that should stick for life even if not in best interests of the child!

I was actually quite pro-name change until we actually found our little boy! The social workers do seem to be quite unthinking about the whole Facebook or whatever age!

Poppystellarcat Wed 13-Apr-16 12:53:10

Italian and Krist1na both speak a lot of sense (lots of their posts have been v helpful to me). I was lucky to have a superb experienced SW who 'got it' and who I could be very honest and open with about things (like names) and vice versa but this is not always the case. I went through the whole process a good few years ago now and initially I was very much of the opinion it wasn't right to change a name and wanted to do 'the right thing'. With hindsight and experience I know now that the right thing is different in each case. Trust your gut instincts.

Thanks Krist1na for the top tips about FB. I'm not on FB (probably the only person in the world who isn't) but social media is and will be a concern for me as LO grows up so its good to have some ideas as to how to handle it.

Best of luck OP

bostonkremekrazy Wed 13-Apr-16 13:04:58

we have changed our LO name the day she moved in....we told sw of our plan, talked about best interest of the child etc etc and no probs. we had to do it that way so her siblings would not know her birth name, thus protecting our safety.

with our older 2 we used their names, then changed dc2 only at AO to his more used nickname. we didnt ask but told the sw after the event. no biggie.

sw cannot prevent this as its a question on the adoption application, but they can be a bit funny about it, no idea why given you are trusted to adopt the child and make every other decision for them.......the mind boggles!

slkk Wed 13-Apr-16 22:03:52

We changed ds's name. His new first name is now the nickname he gave himself in the first few weeks after he arrived. We did keep his birth name as a middle name but he still refuses to say it. We didn't discuss with social worker, just wrote it on the form. They didn't notice and we had to tell post adoption worker about the name change.

JDL13 Fri 13-May-16 21:03:15

We were always under the impression that we couldn't change our daughters name ,had I known I have to admit I really would have wanted to change it. However my husband was always adamant that we really should keep her name as she had already lost so much. Her name is unusual/modern and not one I'd have chosen - I'm a classic name sort of person. She was just one so we could have changed it without it causing her distress/confusion.

At the end of the day though it is only a name , I'm glad we kept it now as I feel that it's part of her identity. I find it hard to admit this even to myself but I think one of the reasons I would have liked to change it was name snobbery! Also I'd always had a name in mind too. Our little girl is simply amazing though and that is all that matters.

The only reason for a name change is for security or if the name is so ridiculous that it would open them up to ridicule.
Your child is just that whatever they are called. There is enough stress in the process.

I'm sure you'll make the right decision for your family - Good luck :-)

marmalade999 Sun 15-May-16 20:37:58

We changed our lo's name. It was agreed by sw and head of service. There was a birth child with the same name so it was ridiculous to have both in the same house with the same name.
We wanted to he open and honest.
How ever panel deferred us for this reasin despite EVERYONE agreeing it was the right thing. They asked us to reconsider our decision .
I wish we had lied and not told them.
Do what you feel is best. Honesty is not always the best policy, sadly


marmalade999 Sun 15-May-16 20:50:23

By the way on the adoption application for court it asks for new name. Social services don't get to know. Our lo sw told us this. Then asked us recently what we had decided.... I know there is a lot in a name but at the end of the day you have to protect lo
Kr1stina & mintylinzy totally agree with you. Nobody knows our lo's story. Its absolutely the right thing xx

Kr1stina Mon 16-May-16 07:35:47

There have been sereral threads on other boards on MN where posters are thinking of changing their child's name . Typically the child is about 12- 18 months old and the posters say they have never liked the name they chose or they have changed their mind about it .

The whole discussion always revolves around where or not the child knows their name and if they would find it confusing .

NO ONE on any of these threads has ever said

" you can't possibly change it, it's the child's identity "

NO ONE ever says " well you had the right to call her Jamie a year ago but you don't have the right to change it to Janey now " .

So it does make we wonder why people feel adoptive parents have fewer rights than biological parents ? Or why, for some children, identity is all about a name but for others it isn't ?

jellyfishschool Mon 16-May-16 11:33:42

Kristina, I totally disagree although I can only speak for myself obviously. For me having my surname changed when adopted, and a new birth certificate issued, affected me because it was to do with changing my identity. As a child it made me feel like a non person who was being transferred as chattel, as though I wasn't real, I was just an object being controlled by people around me, and although as an adult in the greater scheme of things I can let it go, if I was able to change back to my birth details through the courts easily and without evidence or hassle then I would.

I can only speak for myself, as I say, but having said that, I have read a post on here where an adoptee was saying that they wanted to annul the adoption and change their birth certificate back.

It is partly to do with how successful the adoption relationship is, but not entirely. I don't have much angst about my childhood, but would still feel as above.

If my first name had been changed I would feel a sense of outrage. It is not be about the fact that my bio mother had given a name, or about her rights, more about the fact that I had been given a name already and it had been changed without discussion with me, and as a child I would not have been able to join in the discussion with full understanding because I was a child, and as an adult I could choose to change my own name.

The exception to the above is if there are very good reasons, to do with security or other, and a court and other professionals had endorsed the decision. Not simply because my adoptive parents wanted to do it.

I think it is important for the children that you follow due process, and comply with the rules of the SWs and the system and the court which entrusted you with a child, because that is the right thing to do. To ignore due process is arguably an abuse of your position. Sorry.

To me the comment by italian about birth mothers not being able to care for the child and therefore why should they get to choose the name completely misses the point, and to me isn't very appropriate on a forum for the whole triangle.

If memory serves one of the adopters changed the name of a 2.5 year old and I find that a bit worrying as at that age my dc were most definitely cognisant of their names (!) but I might have misunderstood that or it may have been for good reasons.

MintyLizzy9 Mon 16-May-16 12:52:22

I agree Kr1stina, it's possibly the same people who refer to biological parents as the 'real' ones.

I do (and plan to do even more as he grows and understands) promote my sons mixed heritage. My own heritage almost mirrors that of his bio mum so that's in the bag, bio dads heritage however is much different, had my son not been removed he wouldn't have known much about any heritage other than his mothers despite his very unusual names coming from bio dads side and I'm not saying that isn't right (or wrong as each to their own). Heritage and identity to me are such a big picture and yes a name is part of this picture but is by no means the biggest element.

I would never have changed his name for my own reasons such as not liking it as at 23 months he was just starting to respond to it and life was complicated enough for him but I had not one seconds hesitation in doing so for his own safety.

We all have different situations and reasons for having to make decisions about what is best for our kids but for me (and my son may grow up to disagree with this) learning about his background, his heritage, his family (both bio and adopted) are what will make up his identity, not just having a name from a culture he knows nothing about from a father he could never see.

From a selfish view I'm enjoying learning about his mixed heritage and we're having lots of fun exploring it!

jellyfishschool Mon 16-May-16 13:12:28

There was someone who posted a while ago who had worked with adoptees, and they said that issues with identity were typical. kristina you asked why some adoptees thought names were important and others didn't, I would be interested to know the answer to that too.

In relation to the conversations you referred to about whether the child knows their name, isn't that the same thing, to do with identity?

But in relation to rights, it is not to do with the adoptive parents having fewer rights, because in terms of legal rights it is to do with the child's rights not any parents' rights as far as I know. Presumably once the AO goes through you would be in the same position as the other parents you refer to.

Mintylizzy I am sorry if you thought what i wrote was a dig at you - it wasn't as you have clearly have had the backing of the other people involved so far, even if you haven't liked it. If the reference to "real" ones is a dig for me I was brought up (as an adopted child) referring to my bio parents as the "real" ones. It was the language used by everyone I knew at that time. In fact, people would ask if I was their real child and they would say no, and tell (complete strangers) my full "real" family history.

Kr1stina Mon 16-May-16 13:27:35

Jellyfish, I'm sorry to hear about your sad experinces . I'm not saying that names have nothing to do with identity for anyone ever in all circumstances . And I know you are not saying that either .

I'm just saying that identity is not ALL about name for everyone . I understand that it was very distressing and affecting for you. Equally there are hundreds, Probably thousands of Mners who have changed their names as adult and are very happy with it.

It's a very personal thing.

Many parents change their children's names before the child is born and in the first few weeks . One of my bio children had three names in his first few weeks before we decided . Others change it after months or years , like your parents .

My SIL changed her child's name at 13 months .

I'm just saying it's not black and white. There's no magic moment when a name suddenly becomes a " child's identity " . If we called out child Alexander for the whole pregnancy and James for his first two weeks, did we take away his identity by changing it to Edward when he was 6 weeks old ? How should we have consulted him ?

Which one was his " real " name? We called him Alexander for 9 months and then another name - did we treat him as a chattel ?

You say that children should be consulted about names . How did you discuss and agree the names you gave to your own children with these children ? I expect you didn't , you just thought it was your right to make that choice for them . Yet you did that without consultation .

Regarding your comments about due process - I can assure you that all jurisdictions in the UK regard choosing a child's name as a parental right. It is not in any way the right of any social worker and I'm sure no honest social worker would imply that they have that right. They may have a personal opinion , as may the biological parent, but that's not the same thing.

Indeed, for a SW to imply that right would be, to use your words, an abuse of power .

Please understand - I am not trying to minimise your own feelings about your own adoption in any way . But I'm not sure that you can extrapolate from your own experience - my parents changed my surname at age XX and I feel badly about it so

1. Names should only be changed for security reason ( why, if it makes a child feel bad and it's " their identity , surely it should never be done )

2. Names become " real " at some point and thereafter should be fixed and unchangable ( really , when and how ? )

3. All children should be consulted before a name is chosen for them ( how ? )

Kr1stina Mon 16-May-16 13:41:35

Jellyfish - I think that issues of identity are common in adolescence for all young people and HUGE for many adoptees. But IMO it's much bigger and more complicated than simply about names .

Because most adoptees DONT have their first name changed ( like you I think ) and they still have issues surrounding their past.

And many many people change their name and have no issues at all .

So to summarise, there may be a positive correlation but that doesn't prove a causal relationship .

There's no evidence that changing a name causes problems .

There's lots of evidence that neglecting and abusing children , who then end up in the care system , causes problems.

Children who have been in care are more likely to have their name changed . Children who have their names changed through adoption are more likely to have beem in care , but one doesn't cause the other . They are both caused by abuse and neglect and chaotic lifestyles and addiction and DV.

tldr Mon 16-May-16 13:43:56

Can I add a question too?

Why is it expected unequivocally that you'll change surname but not that you'll change first name? Is surname less of an identity?

MintyLizzy9 Mon 16-May-16 13:48:29

Sorry all when I started to type my post no on else had posted, had to stop mid type to deal with DS so when I posted all the others popped up as well so apologies if it looks like I was aiming anything at anyone else.

Kr1stina Mon 16-May-16 13:50:15

I also think that people have very naive views about the lives that many children lead in the care system . One of my children had 27 placements, going back and forward between care and the birth family .

I don't know how many addresses or main carers they had .

They had three different surnames over their lifetime in care and they didn't even know the most recent one . The legal paperwork said John Brown or Smith aka Jones .

They had two different spellings of a very simple first name . They didn't even know their middle names .

The idea that they had a fixed " identity " that was changing by a court order is so very very far from the reality .

MintyLizzy9 Mon 16-May-16 14:11:31

My god I can't even begin to comprehend 27 placements as an adult. sad

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