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Middle name quandary - If your kids were walking talking when you adopted them, how much say did they have in names, please?

22 replies

Italiangreyhound · 03/07/2014 12:10

Dear all

I know there have been lots of threads about names etc and I have a slightly different question. I have a middle name quandary!

My ds has a first and middle name but he does not know he has a middle name! When I have asked him about it he said just the first and surname. When I told him his middle name he just said no that was not his name!

It is not a particularly great name, it's not odd or offensive but it is not great either, just a bit bland and not special to us. I know it may be special to birth family and I would love to know about that but just not sure whether to keep it or not. I would quite like ds to have a middle name as all of us in the family do. I am tempted to give him a special family name but when I have mentioned that, he also says just first and surname.

Anyone had any experience of this?

I cannot see any identification issues or anything.

It is just a matter of what is best for him, adding a name and keeping the existing one would put him up to four names. Not having a second name would mean he just had two. All of our extended family have three names - first, middle and surname. Everyone bar about one person who doesn't have a middle name.

I feel if I made a special effort to find out from birth family what the significance of the middle name was then did not keep it that would feel 'wrong' - but to drop it without knowing its significance seems wrong too!

When do you need to decide, when you put in your form to legally adopt your child or at the end of the process when you have been legally approved to adopt?

If your kids were walking talking when you adopted them, how much say did they have in names, please?

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Italiangreyhound · 03/07/2014 12:16

I guess the significance is that with a nice middle name he would have the option to use it if he wished or to have a nickname based around initials. EG Alexander John could be Alexander or Alex, or John or AJ even!

But Alexander John Raymond Greyhound is maybe a mouthful and too many names is a pain when form filling.

Maybe I am over thinking as usual!

I know this seems very trivial compared to all the other stuff on adoption threads at the moment but hope no one minds sharing their views without sharing any confidential information! Grin Wink

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dibly · 03/07/2014 12:20

Interested in this. I think the whole name issue is likely to change massively due to the digital age. A LO that we're looking at has a very unusual name that worries me from a safeguarding POV, but I struggle with changing it due to affecting the LO's sense of identity. Tricky, but I'm leaning more towards the need to keep the LO safe in this scenario.

Italiangreyhound · 03/07/2014 12:52

dibly for us the middle name issue is not really about safeguarding but if you want to read up there have been several threads on this site about this.

Here is a thread I started earlier this year about this topic.

Personally, ultimately, I think security has to be the main issue for any child.

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mrsgiggles1982 · 03/07/2014 13:06

We have chosen to keep the first and middle name as we personally felt it was the childs choice as to whether they wish to drop it in the future when they are old enough to understand and have reasoning behind it. We have added a significant middle name of our own though that runs in the family. Just personal choice though

Doris75 · 03/07/2014 13:21

Like mrs.giggles we chose to keep the two middle names (and first name) given by bm of DS as we felt that it would be hard to explain to him at a later date why we would have taken that away from him. We felt it really wasn't our place to do that. However he also has 2 middle names given by us too, so he will be cursing us I'm sure filling out forms etc in later life! As to when you confirm actual name this is when you fill out the form for courts, then you get a final chance to confirm just before final hearing.

Italiangreyhound · 03/07/2014 13:29

Thanks. I felt the way you guys did Doris and Mrsggiggles until ds vehemently denied having a middle name, then I wondered how significant it was for him! i will need to think!

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kmarie100 · 03/07/2014 13:42

We did the same as Mrsgiddles too. We put our chosen name in the middle of her first and previous second name. So ours has become the second one, we tend not to say the now third one and when you ask her she'll only say the two. It will be there on the certificate but doubt we will use it much.
We did ask her views of a middle name but she's too young to understand. She wanted her middle name to be Horsey or Twinkle!

Lilka · 03/07/2014 14:07

I know names are a very personal taste, but my 3 all have two middle names each and it's never felt like too much of a mouthful or been too long. So I see no reason why it would be too much for you to give your DS a new middle name as well as his current one. But obviously as I said naming tastes are very personal, I just happen to like 2 middle names! My experiences with naming my DS have made me feel that it is actually quite special giving your child a name
although it doesn't matter at all if you don't

I don't think middle names are often that significant for younger children - DS certainly didn't care about his until a little over a year ago. So we just have to do what feels like the right thing to do. I feel like as long as we keep our child and their needs and interests at the very forefront of the decision making process, that's all we can do. We don't have a crystal ball to know what our kids will think in the future. Again, a very personal opinion, but I don't think your DS being unconcerned about middle names now should mean you drop them altogether - he may well appreciate having either one or two (or more!) in the future

My girls were old enough that it was entirely up to them what they did, DD1 changed both her middle names to new ones of her choosing and DD2 kept everything the same. Now DS is 9, he's also chosen for himself and I had a whole thread about that! Clearly I didn't do what he would have chosen when he was young, but actually I don't feel at all guilty about that, because I know I did what I thought was best

UnderTheNameOfSanders · 03/07/2014 14:40

DD1 (very much walking and talking - aged 8 when placed) didn't have a middle name, but her sister DD2 did.

We dropped DD2's old middle name (which wasn't anything special), and gave each of them our own choice of middle name.
I would have actually given the middle names the other way around, but DD1 wanted the other one which I still feel ridiculously upset about

Now they have first name from birth family, middle name from us, and our surname. If they get married and change their surname they will have that from their DH's family.

mrsballack · 03/07/2014 17:11

Only one of ours had a middle name and it was significant to the birth family.
We have given them both a middle name which is significant to us and kept the previous middle name but it has been relegated to third place. This does mean that one has an 'extra' name compRed to the rest of the family but we wanted to create a link to our family as well as keeping the link to the birth family

Moomoomie · 03/07/2014 20:23

Dd1 has first name and one middle name. We kept them both.
Dd2 had first name and two middle names. We kept all three.
Dd3 had a hyphenated first name, we dropped the hyphen bit. She also had BM name as a middle name which we dropped and gave her a new middle name which sounded good with her first name. We actually sometimes call her by a shortened version of her middle name as a pet name. Which she loves.
I remember asking dd1 if she wanted another name, at the time, aged 2 she didn't.

KristinaM · 03/07/2014 21:26

We had the same situation -child didn't know their middle name. They weren't even sure of their surname as it had been changed so many times ( by birth family )

So we let child choose a new middle name , with some negotiation ( not Barbie or tinky winky ) . They chose one with a family connection .

The former middle name did have a meaning for the birth family, but it wasn't about them, it was about the child's needs and wishes. The name had no meaning to the child.

None of the names were unusual, nor were there any security issues


dibly · 03/07/2014 22:07

Thanks for that thread IGH, definitely leaning more towards changing the name now, it's off the scale for unusual and far too traceable. Will keep her middle name though.

Italiangreyhound · 04/07/2014 01:59

Thanks Kristina, it's a minefield at times. I just wish someone would lean over with the 'right' answer!

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Italiangreyhound · 04/07/2014 02:00

Thanks one and all. i was very surprised little one did not know his middle name.

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1099 · 04/07/2014 06:01

We had the same thing, DS didn't know or acknowledge his middle name, so we agreed with him that we would move his birth surname to middle name and then add our surname at the end, he is happy because it certainly helps with retaining his identity and we are happy because it deals with a rest of his life issue early on.

KristinaM · 04/07/2014 06:58

Your identity isn't something you are born with , like your eye colour. It's something that forms over your lifetime.

I know lots of women who have changed their last names as adults and it doesn't seem to have affected their identity at all. I also know men and women who have dropped a middle name, or changed their first name , either completely or just the form. Or even used a nickname as a formal name.

I think we often over think this as adoptive parents. We can be persuaded by SW that keeping some names is a sort of consolation prize to the birth family, so we don't " hurt their feelings" .its about assuaging the guilt of the individual SW.

Well it's not about the SW or the birth family, it's about the child.

If their siblings are called john and Mary, they will spend the rest of their lives explaining why they are called Precious Heaven-Lee. Well they won't actually, because as soon as they are old enough they will change it to Jane or James. Most kids just want to fit in, adopted kids even more so IME.

I write this as someone whose first , middle and last names were changed as a child.

Italiangreyhound · 04/07/2014 10:25

Thanks Kristina for our little one this middle name really does feel like it is superfluous to requirements. I am tempted to try and find out why they picked it but to be honest I am not sure it will influence us in our decision, as you say we need to do what is right for him.

When discussing it with one friend (a non-adopter) and saying how he did not want a middle name, she said kids did not normally get to choose their names! But for our adopted kids I sort of feel some of these 'rules' should not apply! Normally kids don't get removed from families and don't live in foster care and don't end up having to link up with a whole new family! So if little one wants some small degree of control over his life, maybe I should let him have it.

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64x32x24 · 04/07/2014 13:40

Just a note on the side, whilst your DS does at the moment not know and definitely not identify with his middle name, he might at some point in the future ask why you changed it, and might then, in the future, be unhappy about the change.(Or not, of course - I can't predict the future! It's just a possibility).
Not saying that this is a reason for not changing it - just saying that you need to be prepared to explain the change to a future, older version of your child, not just to the current one.

Italiangreyhound · 04/07/2014 14:40

Yes 64 good point. It is so hard to know. Luckily, it is not at all offensive or weird, just pretty uninteresting! He is so beautiful he deserves a beautiful name!

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64x32x24 · 04/07/2014 16:36

Absolutely he should have a suitably beautiful name! :)

After posting above, I sort of re-thought... because, whereas it is good and right to think ahead, you can't address every possible future concern. At the end of the day, you need to deal with the here and now. And cross that other bridge when you come to it!

I think if you try to think of every eventuality and find the overall very best solution, you are setting the bar impossibly high, and setting yourself up to fail. Go easy on yourself. You don't need to find the perfect solution, just a 'good enough' solution. :)

Italiangreyhound · 04/07/2014 17:43

He is adamant he does not want a middle name and if that changed he could always add one.

You can legally add one at confirmation (we are Christians and soon to go to a C of E church) and you can always change name by deed pole. I wanted to add Valentine to my name when confirmed but sadly did not have the courage to do it! Wink (I was only 18, if I were doing it now I might just add it!)

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