I don't think it matters who gave the child the name, whether it was randomly assigned by an orphanage or given by birth parents who abandoned the child. What matters is if the child knows himself by that name. By the age of five months, most babies do recognize and respond to their names. One of the reasons that changing names is controversial is that it takes that one piece of stability away from a child. Many other things are changing at the same time- caretakers, home, food, possibly language, culture- it's one thing that can stay same and it is easy to provide that.
Now, I will say that with older children, they may choose to have their names changed or even ask to have them changed. And naming works differently in different cultures- I know a lady who adopted two teenagers from Liberia and they asked to be renamed. They said that when their lives changed significantly, it was part of their culture to be given a new name to reflect that. It is also a part of many Asian cultures to go by an English name when dealing w. English speakers. It is more of a nickname. So maybe little Mei- Ling will want to go by Melanie at school once she starts, that kind of thing.
I do think that recent naming in America is certainly diverse enough to accommodate just about any name, from any country, in most classrooms.
My husband and I adopted our son domestically and his birth mother asked us to name him, so we did. He was a newborn, so he did not have a name before that.
I just want to add here that we waited only three months to be placed with our son, not years and years as a previous commenter mentioned. It is true that some couples do wait years and years, and I cannot answer for everyone waiting that long, but the tendency is that the less restrictive you are in who you will adopt (race, gender, etc) the more quickly you will be placed. It is also true that there are ethical concerns, but I feel this is true of every sort of adoption- it is very important to be extremely careful in any kind of adoption. We felt better able to ensure the that everything was above board given that we were able to meet with our son's first mother, easily communicate with her, and remain in continual contact with her.
I disagree. While there is a lot of change while living in an orphanage, coming into a loving stable family is a good change. It is a new start, and a time to reconnect and bond. The memories of a child, being called a name at 3 months old by random strangers, is likely to be soon forgotten, when a loving mother is holding the child skin to skin, and lovingly whispering the child's name. Obviously I think each family should do what is best in their individual situation.
Also, in our situation we were fortunate enough to be living in Nairobi at the time, so my boys were not taken out of their culture right away.....again, everyone should do what is best for their child.
@joyfulmomto8- just to be clear, I am not criticizing your decision to rename your children. I am sure that you did what was best for them.
My point was only that while it seemed that most commenters felt that who gave the name and why was most important, I feel that the most important question was whether the child was attached to the name, knew the name, and connected the name with his identity. The level of care provided in orphanages and foster homes varies greatly, so this answer would also vary greatly. I am also not criticizing anyone for moving a child from an orphanage to a loving family. This is a good change, but even good changes can be very stressful.
I realize that I never responded to the original question about selecting eye color, etc. We never attempted to adopt from any European country, so I have never seen this option. I am kind of amazed that any agency invites potential adoptive parents to select that. But we did not specify race or sex or any number of other things, so I can't imagine caring what color eyes our child had.
@tarynkay - Thank you for your clarification. I absolutely see, now what you are saying, and I agree. I did not read all the posts, and must have missed the question about choosing eye color and so on. I too have never heard of such. It would have never crossed my mind. I am Caucasian, my husband is Hispanic, our adopted boys are African.... I have never tried to make them feel we are all the same, rather I encourage them to celebrate their differences. My 5 yo will proudly tell you he is from Kenya :)
I was adopted when I was 3. I have distinctive memories.
My mom wanted to change my name after her grandmothers. My dad said No since I was 3 and already had adjustments to make. They decided to add my biological surname as a 2nd middle name.
Ive always felt detached to my given first name. I knew my mom.didnt love it and I didnt fit with the rest of the family.
I wouldve rather they changed it and went with a name my mom loved. It wouldve helped me deal with the adoption better.
I have a Huge.heart for adoption. Absolutely I will change their name so they know where they belong. But i will keep their given names as middles so they know where they came from <3
This is great insight. Thank you for sharing :)
Originally Posted by wrenmaple
I don't think changing a child's name will necessarily rob them of their heritage. It's up to the parents to keep their adopted child connected to their heritage. Heritage is more than just a name. I have a Dutch last name but my family is more Cherokee than Dutch. For me it would largely depend on the child's age and what name they were given. A child might be born to a different culture or country but they'd be growing up in the United States/Britain/Wherever else, and they will absorb and become part of that culture too. If a name is difficult to spell or pronounce in English or if it was similar to a bad word in English I'd change it.
In High School I was friends with a Vietnamese girl. Her real name was Nhu but she was so frustrated with it being mispronounced that she adopted 'Elena' as a nickname. She's not ashamed of her culture, she's just sick of having to tell people how to spell and pronounce her birth name.
I don't see any problem with changing a child's name. It's not mean, selfish, nor does it take away from their heritage. In many cases where the child's name is changed, it makes them feel like they belong in their new family. If I were to adopt, depending on their age, I'd most likely change their name, and make their birth name as their middle name. If they were old enough to make the decision, I'd ask them. The only time I disagree with a name change is if the child was old enough to say no, that they didn't want to change their name, and the parents changed it anyways (some exceptions would apply, like a completely unpronounceable name for example).
I agree with that completely. DH has an Uzbekistani friend called Tilla. I know his birth name sounds like Rock-mah-tilla but as to what it actually is I have no idea. His cousin who goes to school with my brother did the same thing. He goes by Beck.
Originally Posted by staplerwithteeth