Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Names

Over the weekend I had a freakout about naming our child. That first MAPP class stirred up some old issues for me, especially in the naming/claiming department. See, one of my biggest fears with adoption is that we'll be matched with a child whose name I hate. It's a stupid fear--I should be worried about mental illness and whatnot, but I'm not. (Not right now, anyway. That'll probably resurface next week.) Right now I'm worried about names.

I feel guilty about this, too. The "good" adoptive parents keep their children's birth names, honoring their connections to their birth families each time they call the kids in for dinner. The "bad" adoptive families rename their kids completely, erasing those same ties. Many adoptive families fall somewhere in the middle, keeping birth names as middle names and using new first names. It's a real conundrum, though; Petunia and I have a short-list of relatives' names that we'd like to pass on to our child, and we'd love to honor our child and our other relatives in this way. But we also feel strongly that we want to emphasize our child's connection to her/his birth family. What to do? It's a tough call, and it'll be a controversial one at that.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Jenny PP said...

Oh man. That's a tough one, huh? It's not like it's a kitty you can rename. Max/Reuben. ;)

4:30 PM  
Blogger M. said...

This is a hard one. I think a lot of it depends on the age of the child.

We're planning a newborn adoption, so it will look a little different from your path. But we've chosen two names - picked to honor each of our grandmothers. If the birth parents choose a name, we'll keep that name as the legal first name but go by the first name we chose. If they don't choose a name, we'll use their last name as a middle name. It's a lot of names either way but it did feel meaningful.

I do believe that it's important to honor the first family that way, AND I think there's something really poignant about giving an adopted child a family name - it's a very clear statement that the child is part of your family regardless of blood heritage.

Good luck figuring this all out!

4:31 PM  
Blogger Canada said...

I think you're justified in a change if the child is an "Orangejello" or "Lemonjello", but by keeping their given name and adding a name that you and Petunia choose, you're validating everyone.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

Babe, you guys are gonna be mamas, you gotta let go of that "good" and "bad" thing. Someone is always, always going to be judging your parenting decisions. What's right for you guys will be right for HW. And you guys are so kind and smart, you'll know what to do when you get there!

11:35 AM  

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