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Changing baby's name

(57 Posts)
RoomForMore Sun 11-Aug-19 20:02:57

Hi all, just hoping for some external views on this. We're heading to matching panel next month to (hopefully) be matched with a baby. She is a few months old.

I'm not massively keen on her name... It's nice enough but not what we would have chosen if she'd been a BC. Her middle name is quite identifying and definitely doesnt match our BC names so probably wouldn't swap them round. SW is adamant we can't change her name. Is this true?

Did you change your AC name? How did you go about it if you felt SW wouldn't agree? And if you were an adopted child, were you given a new name and how did you feel about this when you were older?

I'm aware that it's the only link she has to her mum, so I don't want to upset anyone.

All points of view are welcome!

OP’s posts: |
Jaguarana Sun 11-Aug-19 20:08:32

I have no personal experience so I'm not qualified to offer an opinion, but i lurk on the Adoption board occasionally & there was a long & very interesting thread on this subject a while back. I can't link I'm afraid, but if you do a search it'll come up and it's well worth a read.

ifchocolatewerecelery Sun 11-Aug-19 20:40:51

We changed ours for because we were advised to in order to keep our LO safe. At the time I didn't think anything of it but all letter box contact, including any with the service itself rather than birth family, is done using her original first name and this bugs me as it creates 2 distinct and jarring sides to her life.

Also a name change is just something else you have to add to the list of things you have to explain at some point. I have been on a therapeutic life journey work cause and name changes are a massive issue for adopted children with a significant proportion choosing to revert to their original name in adulthood which adoptive parents can find extremely difficult and almost a rejection of their love.

Blablacar Sun 11-Aug-19 20:43:26

Yes when you fill in the adoption order paperwork there is a section asking what the name will be ie “childA middle name ” or change by deed poll (legally you are the parents at this point and no-one has a day)

You may find that it is frowned upon a lot and be told it’s only done in special circumstances but I’ve found this has been done a lot. As long as you are comfortable explaining why the change to x child when older this is your choice.

An option might be to move first name to a middle name so Deidre Matilda Flower Power May be come Jane Louise Deidre RoomForMore etc etc.

Cantthinkofanythingrightnow Sun 11-Aug-19 20:45:03

How to put this.... It's best to agree with social services during the adoption process.

But after you have parental responsibility, whether you choose to change her name is legally up to you.

My personal opinion is if you believe the given name will hold her back in later life (if she is called Prosecco for example) then do the best thing for her and change it now, and be prepared to explain yourself later. However if you just wouldn't have chosen the name yourself for a BC then leave it and accept that she is who she is, name included.

RoomForMore Sun 11-Aug-19 21:02:13

Hmm some food for thought. Thanks for the responses so far, I really appreciate your views.

At the moment we're thinking to just give her a nickname and she will be known as that but have her original name on birth certificate. You can get lots of nicknames from her name, think one like Elizabeth with Eliza, Liz, Lizzy, Beth etc. But the only nickname I like is a bit less obvious confused

OP’s posts: |
Italiangreyhound Sun 11-Aug-19 21:11:15

Lots of threads on here about this. At the end of the day the only person a parent who changes a child's name needs to explain themselves to, is their child.

The name is not the only thing the child get a from birth parents but it can be significant. Plus don-t discuss it with social services. It's not their place and they won't there when you are parenting.

So big decision, your decision, do what is best for child.

We kept ds name but with social media (and a relatively unusual name) I'll never know if it was the right choice. DS was 3 and knew the soelling of his name so for us it did feel 'right' to keep it.

Good luck.

Italiangreyhound Sun 11-Aug-19 21:12:12

Irony of misspelling spelling!!!

Mumtolittlesausage Sun 11-Aug-19 21:20:42

Social workers don't recommend changing a child's name as it is removing their identity, unless it is for their own protection. That being said there is no legal standing that stops you changing their name and as another response says when you complete the application to adopt said child it asks what their name is/will be so you can choose what you want at this point if you are going to change it. We were very lucky that little sausage already had the name me and Mr sausage loved but we changed his middle name. All the best for your match.

Italiangreyhound Sun 11-Aug-19 21:50:33

We did add a family name to our little one. We even kept his middle name, which he hated and didn't believe was his middle name!

ifchocolatewerecelery Sun 11-Aug-19 22:04:28

At the moment we're thinking to just give her a nickname and she will be known as that but have her original name on birth certificate. You can get lots of nicknames from her name, think one like Elizabeth with Eliza, Liz, Lizzy, Beth etc. But the only nickname I like is a bit less obvious

Another option would be to keep the original name but change the middle name and use that instead. Hubby's family have a history of doing this, apparently he only found out his eldest brother's first name when he got married as he's always been known by his middle one!

undertheoldoaktree Sun 11-Aug-19 22:06:03

My adoptive parents changed my name. I was too young to personally remember my previous name but I have still never truly forgiven them, it has shown me a side of their personalities that I really don't like. In my case, it was because they wanted me to feel more like "theirs".
I am a person, not a tradable commodity. The child you adopt will have had their entire life and family taken from them. Do not also take their name.
Honestly, your reasoning that you wouldn't have picked it yourself and it doesn't go with your other children's names sounds very selfish to me, even though I can tell this isn't your intention. The fact you wish to ignore the advice of the SW (and I know they can be flawed and by no means think they're the fount of all knowledge) for shallow reasons doesn't sit comfortably with me at all.

I know several other adoptees, none I know who's name has been changed has been happy about it at all. In fact, all have been actively aggrieved.

undertheoldoaktree Sun 11-Aug-19 22:17:56

And as a PP suggested, yes, I changed it back as an adult. First thing I did on the day I could legally do so.

Erasure of adopted children's pasts is just awful. By rejecting her name, you are rejecting her identity. Adopted children often feel "not good enough" and will often have severe and debilitating lifelong reactions to rejection. Think of the message that her name not being good enough and thus having also been rejected would send to such a child.

Obviously in some extreme cases there is a need for a change for the child's protection. This is different, and even then it should be an absolute last resort.

TwoPupsandaHamster Sun 11-Aug-19 22:48:39

One of my adopted children asked the Judge if she could change her first name - on adoption day. She was 10 years old. The Judge readily agreed.

Italiangreyhound Sun 11-Aug-19 22:55:07

Whenever we have debated this topic here before (and it crops up a lot there has been a lot of different opinion from people who themselves have been adopted.

If the name is very identifying I think that it can be an issue.

Social workers may or may not know if there is an issue (with keeping an unusual name) and they may or may not tell you even if they know of an issue. For our son I was pretty confident there was not an issue keeping his name.

ifchocolatewerecelery Sun 11-Aug-19 23:18:30

Obviously in some extreme cases there is a need for a change for the child's protection. This is different, and even then it should be an absolute last resort.

In our case, we loved our LO's first name but it is just so distinctive and instantly recognisable that the only people to ever use it are birth family sad because of everything that had gone on within the family it wasn't considered safe for her foster carers to use it either so for all practical purposes our LO effectively had no name when we first met.

As I said in my previous post, I genuinely didn't understand the full consequences of changing it until it was too late.

Truthfully, I thought one of the good things about adopting a child is that they would already have a name so we wouldn't have to choose one. The name we finally choose, ironically, is a lovely enough name but not one I would have given a birth child. We choose it because it is quite a common name and fitted in with the quite strict criteria about how best to choose an alternative name we decided upon.

RoomForMore Mon 12-Aug-19 08:20:33

Thanks all, really good to hear more opinions. We are happy to keep her name. When I said it doesn't go with my BC names I mean that its a bit more elaborate than their very common names. That is all I meant by that, certainly didn't mean to offend.

I was told, quite assertively by friends / acquaintances the other day that we should change her name as she will be our child, so we can do what we want. I got quite defensive on the issue and said it's the one link to her mum, so we probably wouldn't change it. We really do want to do what's best for her, even if that didn't come across in my OP.

OP’s posts: |
Ted27 Mon 12-Aug-19 08:48:12

Just as a general point, you might find that you will have to be quite tough with your friends. Parenting an adopted child will bring different challenges to birth children. You have knowledge and training that they don't. You don't have to be defensive about it. Good luck

MrsMatty Mon 12-Aug-19 10:02:44

What Ted said, absolutely. When my daughter adopted, everyone weighed in about changing the name, the same as your friends. Lots of people said they didn't like the name, it was this, it was that...! Daughter and SIL kept LOs name then everyone had to pipe down. Adoption really is so different to having birth children and other people, although they mean well, often have no idea. Good luck, hope all goes well for you xx

howmanyusernames Mon 12-Aug-19 12:49:05

We were told in training it was frowned upon to change the name, and when we got the information for our LO he was X.
When met our LO at intros HIS SW said 'What are you going to call him?' and we were 'Erm, X, as that's his name?'.

In the end we kept his first name, one of his middle names is the same as my OH's middle name so we have kept that, and his other middle name we have replaced with one we have chosen, so he is now 'original first name' 'our chosen middle name' 'original middle name' 'our surname'.

iban Mon 12-Aug-19 13:00:49

I was told, quite assertively by friends / acquaintances the other day that we should change her name as she will be our child, so we can do what we want I am surprised about this as most people I know who have not had experience of adoption find the idea of changing a child's name quite appalling.

It is a good idea to read previous threads, as a pp has said. You really must liaise with SWs and panel and all other relevant people - the advice that you shouldn't is really poor advice. You are likely to have difficult discussions with professionals throughout your child's life - anyone who thinks it is ok to circumvent a difficult conversation by withholding information or dishonesty is not suitable to adopt a child.
The fact that it is "your" child is irrelevant - whether adoptive parent or biological parent, liaising with professionals is necessary now and in the future.

I personally think that it is too easy to change a child's name at AO stage and the law should be changed - not to prohibit as in limited circumstances it might be necessary, but to require more input from the child's SW and guardian ad litem.

Mynamenotaccepted Mon 12-Aug-19 14:20:37

As usual I agree with Italian the only thing the birth parent(s) is their name which I think is important
We have adopted 8, what a collection of names, however we did change AD 1 name as she replicated one of our homegrowns name but she was only 7 weeks old.
Oddly enough yesterday I was talking to my cousins AD who is 14 and wants to change her name as she wants to cut all emotional contact with her mother so who knows what's right!

RoomForMore Mon 12-Aug-19 14:43:56

That's interesting @Mynamenotaccepted , I was thinking this morning, that we can leave her name and she might hate it when she's older or give her a new name and she might hate that too! 🤷‍♀️ we're never going to get it right all the time!

OP’s posts: |
TwoPupsandaHamster Mon 12-Aug-19 16:20:12

In my DD's case she was given a ridiculous, made up name by her birth mother, who then gave her up for adoption. She hated that name all through her life. After being shunted around the Care system for years, together with 2 failed adoptions we adopted her at age 10. She, herself asked her GAL if she could change her name and GAL suggested she ask the Judge, which she did.

Judge had no problem with her changing her name but specified she should keep her surname (for ties with her birth family) and hyphenate it with ours. That's what she did.

The other two we adopted had no problem with the names they were given. Their names are lovely. They kept their first names but changed their surnames to ours.

darkriver19886 Mon 12-Aug-19 16:21:12

Hi @RoomForMore I am a birthparent and dont typically comment on threads about names as I get a lot of complex feelings about it. However, I have a direct and indirect experience.
My sister was adopted before I was born out of the family. Her name was changed and she still keeps that name now. I have kind of accepted it even though I grew up with her birth name being mentioned.

Also, when I was seven my surname was changed to my stepfathers. I wasn't consulted and despised it. As soon as I was 18 I changed it. Obviously a completely different experience but thought I would share.

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