A common question I hear among families that are adopting an older child is; should they change their child’s name? I believe there is a degree of claiming that happens upon naming your child, therefore there are some benefits. Some children who have been adopted feel like their entire original identity has been removed from them when their name is changed. So it’s important to consider the big picture when making such a decision.
Our first son came to us at 13 mo. For his safety, his name needed to be changed. We slowly changed his name, first by calling him by his birth name, then using his new name as if it were a middle name. Eventually we dropped the birth name altogether. I often suggest to people keeping the birth name as a middle name if they can. We did not do this because our son’s birth name was the same as his birth father’s. We thought if he was going to have a father’s name as a middle name, it should be the father that raises him.
Our second son had a nice name but an odd spelling. He was placed with us at 5 months old as a foster child. At about one year old when we found out we would likely get to adopt him, our whole family was used to his name so we decided to leave it. We gave him a new middle name and changed the spelling of his first name to a more traditional spelling.
Ultimately it’s your right as a parent to change your child’s name. If you should do so, please do so carefully. The names we chose for our kids, we did with great care. Both my boys’ names have significant meanings that pertain to them specifically. I hope as they grow up they will consider this and understand why we made the decision we did to rename them.
(Melissa is a Families.com Christian Blogger. Read her blogs at: http://members.families.com/mj7/blog )