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Name change??

(77 Posts)
Mollybird1 Sat 08-Apr-17 08:23:14

Hi. Just after some advice really. After a long wait we are thrilled at becoming matched with a 6 month old baby boy. We have an 8 year old birth child who is as equally excited.. One thing tho, I really dislike his name. My husband doesn't get it and can't believe after all the heart ache and wait to get here, I'm bothered about this. I can see where he is coming from and obviously been told how we should keep his name, it's his birth identity etc. But, also on the other hand I want him to feel he fits in with us too, my daughter and all my nieces and nephews have quite traditional names, his name just doesn't fit in with them at all. Thinking about maybe calling him by his middle name but keeping his birth name on his legal documents. I hope I'm not sounding selfish, and obviously if he was older and knew his name I wouldn't be thinking about it.. Would love to hear from anyone who's been in my position and what your thoughts are. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
TimerousBeastie Sat 08-Apr-17 09:39:00


Fortunately for us our lo had a lovely name, and quite common so we didn't have your problem but two of our friends had lo's where they changed their names, both very young when placed, the first had a European name and friends thought it would be very recognisable if spoken in public, so with support of SW changed first but moved original to middle name, i think when child grows it will be happy about this as i would have expected teasing at school if kept original. Second friend had three birth children with traditional names, AC had a very different name and would have stood out as being different from BC and they didn't want this, so they had to argue the point that quite firmly with sws, there was a lot of opposition to a name change.

We were told by our SW, that in the end it was us that submitted the application paperwork and if we wanted to call our lo by a different name then it was up to us.

Hard decision for you, but hope you find a happy solution for everyone .

JustHappy3 Sat 08-Apr-17 09:52:36

I'd challenge you on the traditional name and him feeling like he doesn't fit in. The kids won't have a clue tbh. They really don't know if their names are traditional, trendy, popular or unique.
So this is about you not your son. I would also challenge yourself on some of the things it could be throwing up for you. Are there other aspects of his life and personality that won't fit in so you'll be wanting to change?
I sound harsh but i know where you are coming from. I wasn't fond of adopted dd's name at first either (tho because it's very popular and traditional). But i thought a lot about how she'd feel later on - knowing i'd rejected that part of her instantly. And now she just is that name - couldn't imagine calling her anything else.

bostoncremecrazy Sat 08-Apr-17 10:00:03

We changed 3 out of 4 of our childrens names. We started calling the name from intro and our children dont know the legal names.
Its your baby, your choice.
There is a place on the adoption order paperwork that asks what will you call the child.....
I'd say start as you mean to go on, choose a name and go with it. Tell sw (dont ask!) and call baby that from day 1.
I would advise not telling people his 'old' public doesnt need to know it.

tldr Sat 08-Apr-17 10:12:01

Has baby been placed yet? If not, go cautiously. SWs have been known to be irrational about this before. As he's only 6 months though, you have time.

boston I've pmed you. Hope you don't mind.

comehomemax Sat 08-Apr-17 13:15:55

We changed our sons name at the request of the matching panel who felt it would be risky to our privacy. We were glad as we didn't love his name however I also know it added to his emotional distress on placement - not only was everything different for him but we were using a different name and I could see the confusion this caused (he was at a similar age to your LO).
Is there an abbreviation you can use?
Just to add to tldr' s point - it may create a risk to the placement. It's happened here before. Tread carefully.

Mightywease Sat 08-Apr-17 13:54:24

Whatever you choose to do I would urge you not to call him by his middle name but keep his first name for legal documents. If you want to do that then swap the names around.

I am called by my middle name (think Mighty Wease but I'm called Wease not Mighty) and it can be a real pain. I have always been known as 'Wease', always called it, then suddenly when faced with doctors, dentists, passports, banks, Credit Cards etc.. I am known as Mighty and believe me no amount of "Actually it's Wease" or underlining my middle name gets through.

Now I do not have issues with my identity but, as a teenager in particular, it has really pissed me off at times and I can imagine that for a child with identity issues, such as one who is adopted, then it would add an extra layer of worry, anxiety and anger.

Also SW's are often not keen on name changing except for very strong reasons i.e security, safety, so as said before do tread carefully.

Personally I wouldn't change his name, it is a link to his identity that he may appreciate when he is older.

donquixotedelamancha Sat 08-Apr-17 14:04:00

We change DD2's because her name was chavvy. I was determined to keep it, until I saw (very supportive) people's adverse reactions. I think name changing is to be avoided if at all possible with older children, but acceptable at the age you describe. Think honestly whether it is just that you dislike the name- if so, put up with it.

I'm adopted, and discovering a single letter change at age 35 was quite jarring. If you do change it, please keep the original as a middle name to give some continuity.

We were reprimanded by LA that there would have been no chance of a match (despite being DD1s biological sister) if we had told them about the change. In fairness we did tell them as soon as they asked, but we were in intros before we actually sat with her SW and had a proper chat.

Once the child is placed, you have an absolute legal right to change the name on the AO application. I would tell the LA at this point. Explain your reasons to the SW (only the ones about the child's best interest) and get them on board. Don't say it's for safety, if that was valid it would come up at panel.

Bingybongboo Sat 08-Apr-17 20:32:38

Do not tell sw if u plan to change. We were deferred despite sw in agreement of name change. We went to matching panel and they refused to support us and said we had to keep it despite their being major security reasons etc.
This is in an authority who have many children waiting to be placed.

Tred carefully.....

Claramarion Sat 08-Apr-17 22:37:53

This baby will have been called this name all of the six months he has been born he's then come
To you in j familiar surrounding and you are going to change his name his identity for months I struggle to accept this will not be negative for the child. Even at six months babies have started to make noises And seem to recognise their own names ?

Mollybird1 Sun 09-Apr-17 08:41:44

Thank you for all your replies. Seems like I shouldn't change it going by the majority. Without sounding snobby its a very chavy name and cannot be shortened but if it's in the best interest of the child I should just swallow it and get used to it. I know the most important thing is giving him a happy loving home , well his certainly going to get that whether I like his name or not😀

OP’s posts: |
bostoncremecrazy Sun 09-Apr-17 09:15:01

Identity is so much more than a name...its such a silly argument people make about babies.
I know few adopters who kept their babies names...its different for older ones 2ys on, but lots of children answer to their name plus a nickname at school plus a nick name from nanny etc...its not unusual for a child to be called different things in different places - my bc was never called by their name at home but a nick name but the say they started state nursery the legal name was used no problem.
Anyway, OP, here on mumsnet lots of people say no, on another forum most seem to change the name, it depends where you ask. If you are nervous could you start hy using a nickname you all love and when SW come around refer to child by both legal name and nickname. If it feels right by the time you submit adoption order you can then use the nickname or the correct version of the nickname.
Lots of adopters keep the birth middle name so they have kept something from birth parents. We did that. Its a nice compromise i feel.

crispandcheesesandwichplease Sun 09-Apr-17 15:02:21

It's up to you. If he does get placed with you and settles him are social services really going to remove him when you make the adoption application and put a different name on the application?

His identity needs are twofold, yes he will have a birth family identity but if you are to adopt and raise him that will be his more significant identity so it's important that you choose his name imo.

If you were planning on not telling him his history later on I'd be worried but that's not what you are saying.

OlennasWimple Sun 09-Apr-17 15:23:09

Depends on the name, the options for shortening / NNs, how unusual it is (is there a potential security risk?) etc etc

I completely hear you about how it fits with your wider family. We have a birth child too, and I love that both in looks and names it is not obvious to a casual observer that DD is adopted. (We were lucky that her name is something we might well have chosen ourselves). If we were at the park and called out for "George and Chardonnay, time to go home now", it would be rather obvious that we hadn't chosen the second name - which in turn starts to breach privacy and the right and ability to choose who to tell about being adopted

conserveisposhforjam Sun 09-Apr-17 15:55:21

It's up to you. If he does get placed with you and settles him are social services really going to remove him when you make the adoption application and put a different name on the application?

I've heard of people being threatened with exactly that and I know of a family whose arranged match was withdrawn because they raised the possibility with sws. And people wonder why we might think sws are sometimes fuckwits

So yes, possibly.

bostoncremecrazy Sun 09-Apr-17 16:09:16

Once a child is placed with adopters under a placement order they can only be removed for safeguarding reasons. Changing the name is not a reason...and there is space and option on the adoption order paperwork to change the childs name.
To say anything else is scaremongering.
Planning a name change before matching panel is however a grey area i agree ( although we did and were approved 2 times with siblings)

donquixotedelamancha Sun 09-Apr-17 17:04:44

"Do SWs have a knack of turning a positive into a negative or making their minds up without discussing their interpretation to ensure they haven't misinterpreted?"

Its more than a grey area, some LAs and individual SWs are lunatic about it, as if that it trumps all other criteria. In our case it was the ADM, who apparently would only pass a name change match in cases of extreme safety issues. Even the (majority of?) SWs who have a balanced approach are wary of the prevailing culture.

There are good reasons to discourage a name change once a child is old enough to understand, and ideally to keep it the same in all cases; but given the law clearly supports adopter's right to make the choice, it's daft when some SWs won't countenance a discussion.

donquixotedelamancha Sun 09-Apr-17 17:06:29

Sorry, that bit in quotes should be:
"Planning a name change before matching panel is however a grey area i agree ( although we did and were approved 2 times with siblings)"

Cntrl button is sticky from 'orid children's finders.

Kr1stina Sun 09-Apr-17 17:09:14

There is zero evidence that keeping the name of a 6mo baby is in his best interest. None at all. It's an ideology that about not upsetting the feeling of the birth family and keeping up the power of SW.

That's not to say that any one adoptee might well say that they didn't like the change. But they plural of anecdote isn't data.

There's zero evidence that identity is all about name. You might as well say " well his birth family are all alcoholics so that's part of his identity we should keep ". If they have all been problem drinkers for generations, isn't that more important that a word on a six month old legal document that baby has never seen and soon will be superseded?

If changing names is so damaging why do so many women chose to do it as adults ? And don't say " oh that's last names so it doesn't count". And every adoptee has their last name changed and no one even questions this ( because it's in the law) .

Many adults and children choose the form of their name " I was born Catherine but I always use Kate now " and none of them seem to be traumatised.

If the baby is called Jedi -Warrior and you change it to John , why would one name ( which no ones know or calls him ) be " his identity " and the other not ? On the contrary, it's a burden to have a name that doesn't fit in with others in your group. You are Always marked out as different and an outsider.

I'm sure it would be the same if John was in a family / class / workplace with Darth, 8D8, Wedge and Yoda.

I'd say nothing to SW. Call baby by pet names such as sweetie, precious etc, whatever you called your first child.

Submit the adoption petition with the name " John Jedi - Warrior Smith" .

Then he can be John Smith, John J smith or J Jedi-Warrior Smith etc as he chooses.

As a PP said, if you call him by his middle names then Schools and doctors etc will get confused. Give the name you choose first.

Rosieandtim Sun 09-Apr-17 18:53:51

Do you legally have to change the surname? That's interesting, given you can give a birth child any surname you like, it doesn't have to be either parent's.

Obviously, you'd probably want to, as part of joining the family. Legally, does it have to be a particular parent's surname? What if the parents have different surnames? Is it in adoption legislation that you have change it? What if you had the same name as birth family?

I assumed people changed the surname because it was a sign of being a family, I'm interested it's a legal requirement.

I changed LO's names, at 18 months, for various reasons. I didn't mention it until the adoption order paperwork, and LO's SW denies it's happened, and continued to use the old name. They never got his birth names correct on paperwork, anyway, which showed a disregard for identity issues, IMO.

OlennasWimple Sun 09-Apr-17 19:41:56

I don't think it's a legal requirement to change the surname, is it? Just that in 99% of cases it is the obvious and right thing to do. (Maybe in kinship adoption there may be reasons to keep the original surname, or indeed it might be the same as the adoptive parent(s) already)

comehomemax Sun 09-Apr-17 20:12:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

donquixotedelamancha Sun 09-Apr-17 20:19:25

"I didn't mention it until the adoption order paperwork, and LO's SW denies it's happened, and continued to use the old name."

I would genuinely go crazy at someone who did that. If they purposefully deadnamed my child as if they had more right to decide than her parents I would bring that person to tears.

Sometimes being on here reminds me how lucky I was through two adoption.

Mollybird1 Sun 09-Apr-17 20:28:20

Lots of angles to take in and think about in this one, thanks for all your feedback. So IF we were to change the name, you think it's best to say nothing to sw until after placement? I really feel like I would need to tell them, I'm such an honest person and would feel so deceitful if I hadn't. Plus my sw lives in my town, so bound to bump to her at some point or another in the future.

OP’s posts: |
bostoncremecrazy Sun 09-Apr-17 20:41:32

wait until after babe moves in and say you simply couldn't take to the name, and started calling him a pet name and it became you've made the decision to change his name to X...
(but will keep his middle name or keep his old name as his middle name so he has something from his birth parents if you feel happy to do so of course - obviously you know he has a life before you blah blah blah)
we never planned on changing our first children's names - this is really how it happened. I was nervous telling the sw but they were fine with it. (the ones that came later were planned from the word go smile )

we have not regretted it for a moment....identity is so much more than a first name smile

good luck with your new baby!

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