Naming Your Adopted Child: A Few Things to Consider

Oh, baby! The hottest baby names for 2017 are…” Some of us at the office thought this would make a nice little article to share on our social media channels. But then we got to thinking… Naming your adopted child isn’t always something as simple as sifting through a baby name book and choosing the “hottest” most “trendy” names. This rings especially true for adoptive parents whose children have an entire biological history even before they came into the picture. At Adoption STAR, we encourage our prospective adoptive parents to consider the wishes of birth families when naming their child. While trending baby names are cute, there’s something incredibly touching about naming your child something that honors their history and the people who gave them life. Here are a few ways to bring meaning to naming your adopted child.

Consider keeping your child’s given name

Oftentimes, expectant parents will be the first people to name your child. As adoptive parents, consider honoring that choice by keeping the baby’s birth name, at least in some capacity. What a special way to keep your child’s birth family close and honor their wishes.

Co-name your child

Middle Name In some cases, you may be matched with a family well before the delivery date. If you have an open adoption, consider bringing up the topic of naming your child before he or she is born. Ask your child’s birth parents if they would like to be apart of the naming process. You could select the first name, and they could select the middle name. Initials Perhaps your child’s birth family isn’t interested in picking out a middle name, but maybe they’d be interested in choosing the baby’s initials (besides the last initial for your last name, of course). They could choose A.B., for instance, and you would come up with a first and middle name to meet those initials – Adam Benjamin… you get the point!

Name your child after their birth family

Even if you don’t have an open adoption and can’t discuss naming your child with his or her birth parents, there are still ways to honor them through your child’s name. You could name your child after their birth parents, or at least use the same initials. For instance, you could name your child Joseph after his birth mother whose name is Jackie.

Ask your child to weigh in

If you adopted an older child, there’s a chance they may want to weigh in on the naming process. Often older children may look forward to shedding a name given by their birth family due to bad memories and hurt feelings. Be careful to not try to erase this but rather focus on healing by keeping some of the birth name, especially a child’s first name. If you add a middle name and they prefer to be called by that or a nickname, then at least they have their original birth name. When they grow into adulthood they may choose to make a change but by keeping their birth name as a child, you are respecting who they were, who they are, and who they will become. What do you think? Do you have any opinions about how to name your adopted child?]]>