name changes

Jennifer - posted on 03/04/2009 ( 42 moms have responded )

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Has anyone changed a foster/adopt childs birth name at adoption? At what ages??? We had our first son from birth & it wasn't an issue. I know another family who changed the name and they had her from 7 months old. Another family changed the middle name of thier adoptive child who was 5y developmentally. We are debating as we are about to be placed with 8m & 18m olds.

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Tonya - posted on 01/29/2010

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I am a foster/adoptive mother. We did not change the name of our oldest daughter who was 7 when we adopted her besides her last name because she was so much older I felt it would be too hard on her and everyone else. I regret that now because she hates the reminder of who she was and I can not tell people why she has her name so if I could go back I definitely would. We are in process of adopting a sibling group of 4 we are leaving the boys names the same at this point, but changing the oldest girls middle name and the baby9we have had since birth an knew adoptin was a VERY likely thing. We have always called her by a nickname when around the birth family--she responds to her nickname and one day official name but also responds to her "legal" name as she thinks it is a nick name:)

Cheryl - posted on 06/20/2009

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What great answers! All I can add is be sure to change their social security numbers. Birth parents have been known to use them and it is the adoptive family that gets hurt.
God Bless, Mema

J M - posted on 02/12/2013

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As a very young baby may be alright, but not as a young or older child as they would of had some years been called what they had been and is part of there identity.

Our Child we kept first name middle name, and simply added a name in the middle , so we never took anything away that as already given, they would have been no real advantage, as should be about " restoring" whats rightfully theirs, and unless it had a awful emotional effect on them an d it came 100% from that child, , then really no need to change a name.
As one mother said here, " she felt guilty she changed her child's name as was like take their identity , well she is right , you are taken that identity" and to deny this fact is not the child's problem, its others.

I think you have to ask , would you like your own names changed that your Bio parents gave you do you think thats important? and how may it effect you later.

When any baby or child goes such changes, its like a grief and loss to some.

So really as someone else said, they feel their is a cut of time that"may not" not have as much effect thats well under 2 yrs, and really if its a name you¨simply don't like, thats not good reason.

Hague agreement or not, its about identity, and would not undermine that fact.

A lot of adoptions here may be from with in their own countries, than say International adoptions.

But no matter where you adopt form, Identity should " always be consider"

I new start does by a change of name alone not guarantee a happy life, just because you can wipe a child's name off because you feel its not right for them, or a new start, rally it should be about " dealing with griefs an any loss they may go through later on", as this is life" and taking away names of a child may find hard later on in life, just may make them feel worse as well.

Keep whats theirs now then when they are of age, really then up to them.

We know of someones daughter that changed her name when older, because she was teased at school for having a" very nice name" name that just when was spelt backwards, it happened to sound rude, really she still had to deal with the pain of life.

You can only shield children from so much, then you need to deal with things still later. New names you decided to change may also inadvertently bring a unnecessary sense of shame to a baby later on as " pretending as if they never had a original first name", and trying to keep old names a secret is not wise at all.

Unless for "safety reasons" Most of the time its about the New parents like, as how can a baby decide what they like or how they feel about others taking things away form them?

Bridget - posted on 08/08/2010

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I am both a Foster Mom to 2 that we hope to adopt and have already adopted 3 children that were foster children.
Our 3 1/2 yr old son, we did not change his name. We really liked his first name and his middle name was after his uncle who had passed away. We decided to only give him our last name and leave his first and middle name the same. We also adopted a brother and sister. They were 5 and 7 at the time of adoption. We actually asked both of them and our daughter did not want her name changed and we agreed as we liked both her first and middle name and only changed her last name. On the other hand, our son who was 7 at the time, was having a hard time giving up his last name and we wanted to change his middle name. So we made a compromise with him. We kept his first name the same, we moved his last name to his middle name and gave him our last name.
However on the children we are currently Fostering to adopt, if we adopt them, they are young enough that we will be changing their entire names. They will be close, but different.

[deleted account]

Hi there, We had a foster son named Jadin and we changed it a little to Jadeon so it wouldn't be that big of a change.  He was 2 when we did that.  Also we just got their siblings who's names were both changed by their foster mom who was planning on adopting them.  They were 3 and 4 when she changed their names.  She just started calling them by the names she had picked out for them even though the courts and social workers identified them by their birth names.  I totally supported her in doing this so she could give them a special name that she had picked out for them.  They both loved the change.  If you're going to change their names start calling them by the new names at home before they get too used to the old names.  I am a foster mom who just started the process of adopting a sibling set of 4. 

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Abrenda - posted on 11/26/2013

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MY FRIST NAME IS THE SAME BUT MY MIDDLE NAMES IS DIFFERENTIN LAST NAME I'M TRYIN TO FIND MY PARENTS THEIR NAME IS VISON BUT I DONT KNOW THEIR FRIST NAME PLEASE HELP ME SEARCH FOR INFORTMATION

Michelle - posted on 12/20/2012

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My husband and I adopted our daughters at age 5 & 7. They both changed their first, middle, and last names. We did not push this on them, it was their decision. I approached them because I wanted to see if they wouldn't mind if we changed their middle name so that they could have something that my husband and I gave them. My older daughter said she didn't like her first name and asked if she could change that too. We told her if she really wanted to we could, but it was her decision. Of course the little one wanted to change her name as well. We said ok, and we allowed them to pick their new names, but we all had to agree on what they chose. We started calling them by their names and they told everyone to start calling them by their new names. It was awkward at first, but it worked out and when the adoption went through their names were legally changed. I honestly was happy because I did not like their given names. It'sa year later now, and they have no regrets. I think at that age it wouldn't be a problem to change their names. Although now I realize this post was from several years ago!

Jaime - posted on 11/24/2012

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We have had our son since he was 3 months. We loved his name, both first and middle but we did change the spelling of the first name from Tristin to Tristan. I do not think changing the first names of babies this young would be too much of a problem, my kids have nicknames along with their first names and they understand - kids are smarter than we think.

Mari - posted on 11/20/2012

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Then why not allow him to keep both his fore- and surname, which undoubtedly do not cause uncontrollable laughter in his language or culture?

Mari - posted on 11/20/2012

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I was adopted internationally at the age of 18 months, and my adoptive parents gave my natural mother and my brother (by adoption, not birth) the dignity and respect to allow us to keep our original names. And that is how it should be. Why do we try to eradicate a child's history and identity in our efforts to make him "ours"? Moreover, according to the UN Rights of the Child and Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, it is the child's right to know and maintain his or her identity. I would hope that for any of you adopting from countries in which bilateral agreements are in place (with regard to Hague), you are adhering to these important laws.

Jamie - posted on 12/11/2011

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Our son was adopted from Ethiopia. Has given first named rhymed with our last name, in a way that made us uncontrollably laugh every time we said it. We couldn't do that to him!

It is so important to have the child feel control in such an uncontrollable situation for them. He came home at 4 years old. We asked him if he wanted to keep his name or choose a new name to go with it. He chose a new name. We had a name we wanted to name him and luckily that was the one he also selected. We kept his original first and last name as middle names and we will sometimes call him by his original name.

Our adoption specialist said contrary to what people may think- that this can actually be therapeutic for older children that have been adopted!

Lindsay - posted on 11/13/2011

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I changed both boys last names at adoption, and one of my boys' middle names (it sounded awful with our family last name - he would have been teased). I think by 8 and 18 months, it'd be challenging to change their first name, as they've already learned it, and coming into foster care, they are losing enough of their identity already. But that young does not, to me, seem to young to adjust a middle or last name - but only if adoption is definite. I wouldn't call them that prior to then, because of what confusion and identity damage it could cause if the adoption doesn't happen. ...Wow. Just realized this was from '09. Oops. lol Well, that's my two cents anyways. Good luck on whatever you chose.

Cherie - posted on 11/13/2011

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This is evidently an older posting but we are foster adoptive parents and I was adopted myself from the foster care system. I was given the opportunity (at age 9) to change my name but loved my given name and kept it. We are in the process of adopting our 4 year old (who we have had for 20 months) and while choosing names for our new baby girl, we were debating different names. My little girl was in the room and suddenly, without anyone saying anything, just said "I want my name be Faith" (not a name we were considering for baby girl). Since that moment, she has completely identified with that name. She asks people to call her by Faith, she tells people her name is Faith and even told her teacher at preschool her new name. We have respected her right to choose for herself and move forward in a more positive way. Our other two that are likely to go to adoption are 3 and 4 months old and we got them at birth. When we got them, we simply chose a name for them as any parent would for their child. If they stay, that will be their name. If they don't, all of their official paperwork still has their birth name. Like another poster, our little baby girl only has a name because bio mom was forced to put something. Most of the paperwork I have for her just says "baby girl". Our 3 month old boy, we will most likely keep his first name as some part of his name (a second middle name)

Traci - posted on 07/13/2011

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I did change the spelling of my daughter's name from Madisin to Madison...I just told the Bio-Grandma that for the first time yesterday....she seemed to be upset with it and I thought she might be which is why I had hesitated on telling her....she had said that she was going to get her something with her name on it for her birthday so I thought I had to tell her....I still haven't officially told the bio-mom yet however when I text her I spell it my way and she hasn't said anything.

Daphne - posted on 04/27/2011

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We adopted our son when he was 2 1/2 and his name was Noonan Quade. Some people called him Noonan but most called him Quade so we just made Quade his first name and gave him a new middle name.

Carrie - posted on 02/02/2011

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We did not change our 3 year olds name when her adoption became final. We'd had her since she was 17 months old, but since she had no negative memories (or at least that she shared with us), of her birth parents we felt it would be more disruptive to change it at that point. She thinks it's really cool to share the same middle name with her 23 year old sister :)

Traci - posted on 07/20/2010

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Good tip on the social security thing....I hadn't thought of that.



When I started this I wanted to name a child I adopted and then I got my foster kids.....how did their mother know what to name them???? I always liked the name Madison but didn't want to use it because my sister lived in Madison....now I have a Madison. I also wanted to rearrange my middle name and use it as a middle name for a daughter. My middle name is Leanne, her second daughter she gave the middle name of Lenae, works for me.....last but not least her little boy. I was worried about what she was going to name him. I was right to worry, he got his drug dealing fathers name....however it ended up working well for me, she named him Jesse Allen, that just happens to be exactly my great grandma's name and spelled exactly the same. How can I change them even though I wanted to.

Micaela - posted on 05/17/2010

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I changed my son's name. He came to me at 2 1/2 and we started the change process when he was a little over 3. I moved his original name to his middle name and called him by both names for a bit and then dropped using his middle name so that he now goes only by his new first name. He was always really excited about it and hasn't seemed to have any problems. It's been a little harder on other kids who knew him by his middle name only, but he corrects them or I correct them. He doesn't seem to care and I think he'll be fine. I figured keeping his orignial first name as his middle name was respectful to his past, but also added a secondary middle name because I was adding a secondary middle name to his sister that I was also adopting. Whatever you do, don't feel guilty or pressured. They're your kids ultimately and you need to do what feels right for your family. Good luck.

Lindsay - posted on 05/17/2010

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My boys are 3 and 5. The five year old will be getting his middle name changed, but I'm leaving both boys' first names alone. They will also be taking my last name. They already identify with it. The boys have been with me since they were 1 and 3 though. The only reason I'm changing my older ones middle name though is because it's got a very bad association from his traumatic beginning of life. And I let him help me pick his new middle name. He loves it, identifies with it, and is proud of it.

Jennifer - posted on 01/21/2010

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I think it is okay to change a childs name. We changed our children's middle names and 1 we changed completely when she was 4. I gave her a choice of names we liked and she picked one. She loves it and when others would call her by her old name she would either not reply or tell them her new name. Some think it takes away from their identity but I don't you are giving them a new life and a chance to start again. We are adoptive parents of a 7, 6 and 5 year old.

Agnes - posted on 01/16/2010

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We changed our child's name (legally) when we got her passport. We had already officially adopted her at 9m in China but had not completed the American portion of the adoption. When we got her passport, the name was the American name we requested, then we got her Social Security Card in her American name. We later completed the adoption here and got her certificate of foreign birth.

Donna - posted on 01/07/2010

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Its truly a matter of whatever works. I am adoptive/former foster mom and I let my daughter pick her new name but nixed the idea of a 'whole' new name. I had her put her first name as her middle name because folks at school etc. would call her by what they knew so it might as well be part of her name. LOL! My son has been with me since he was 5 days old. I liked his first name and so I kept it and changed his middle name.
I know other children not adopted until they were both over 12 and they chose to change their names... even I have trouble remembering to call them by their 'new' names but its what they wanted.
I know foster parents who always change names of children in their care regardless of adoption or not because they want to keep their privacy as much as possible.
It's whatever works as long as they KNOW they are loved!!!!

Rosemarie - posted on 01/03/2010

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we adopted two children that are actually part of our family but were in our care as foster children, when it came time to adopt them they asked us if they could change their names so we let them pick the names they wanted. we cared for their mother and she always wanted to change her name and we couldnt do it for her. so when they wanted to we let them, and they were 6 yrs and 8 yrs all of their friends seemed to just change with no problem. they are much happier with their new names.

Marilyn - posted on 12/29/2009

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I'm on the other end of the spectrum. All 5 of our children were adopted from foster care. The first two were 8 & 10 years old. They were eager to change their middle and last names. They are both married now with kids of their own.

Our next 3 were 11, 6, & 5. Again all agreed to middle and last name changes. In all, we felt they needed to keep their first names in tact. They are now 24, 19, & 18.

Sheila - posted on 09/12/2009

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We changed our daughters name when we adopted her. We felt she deserved a fresh start. Her birth name was mandy jo. we didn't feel that she was given a full name. We felt like she was only half named. as weird as that sounds. We named her Rebecca Joann. It was important for us to fully be her parents and give her a great name. Rebecca means to bind together, and Joann was in honor of my Brother who passed away the yr she was born and their b-days were only 5 days apart. He was also the only one who supoted us in foster adopt. I wouldn't miss the opertunity to have her full complet our family. Name and All. God Bless you. Sorry for the long post.;)

[deleted account]

I'm a foster mom that just finalized adoption of my son in July. He came to us at 14 months and is three now. We moved his first name to his middle name, changed the spelling and gave him a new first name. He's had little trouble with it. He still self-identifies as the nickname we gave him when he was initial placed in our home as a foster child, but if asked his name will give the full name we selected for him at adoption. He knows who he is. :)

Tracie - posted on 07/06/2009

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I am an adoptive and foster mom we have adopted 2 of our foster children and are almost done with the adoption process of our 3 child. The first two that we adopted we changed their names just slightly. We changed the spelling of the middle name of our daughter and dropped a second middle name of our son. They were both just infants and know no different. We do plan on telling them when the time is right. As for the third child we are adopting she is older (13), we got her from a pre-adoptive placement that was disrupted. She came from a horrible back ground as she was taken into foster care at the age of 8. She remembers lots and totally hated her birth name as it made her very angry. So with lots of help with her therapist she will be changing her entire name at the time of adoption. We do call her by her new name for respect of her and she is coping just fine.

Laura - posted on 06/19/2009

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We changed the name of our son when we adopted. He was 2 1/2. We placed his birth name as his middle name and gave him a new first name. We still call him by the nickname we gave him when he came to us but now introduce him by his new name and after 6 months he now introduces himself by his new name. We are foster parents.

Pam - posted on 06/01/2009

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Hi, I am an adoptive Mom. My son was 15 months when he came home. We kept his birth name for his middle name and choose his first name. We used both together for the first few weeks.

Kelly - posted on 05/31/2009

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I received placement of my children vey early on. For my daughter (now almost 3) I kept the birth name as her middle name and changed the first name. For my son (16 months) he did not have a name other than"Baby Boy" when I found out I was going to get placement. I named him right away. His birth mom was forced to name him for birth ciertificate and such, but he was never known by that name except on legal paperwork.

Jennifer - posted on 05/23/2009

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We did. Our son was 6 - he kept his first name but we chose a new middle name (with him). Our daughter was 12 - she chose to change her entire name (new first name, middle name was from her birth family). I think it really depends on the child and how confusing it might be for him/her.

Victoria - posted on 05/20/2009

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hi there, we adopted a ten month old baby girl, we did change her name straight away, but legally it took it changed after 8-9 moths, but we kept her first name as her middle name. good luck x

Jill - posted on 04/14/2009

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We went thru the same thing when we adopted our daughter when she was 16/17 months old.  I am an adoption social worker (and adoptee) and was able to talk to several people in the field.  This is a hot topic and you will see that people feel very strongly on both sides of the issue.  Our daughter was also severly neglected and didn't respond or associale with her birth name.  In the end we changed her name.  We started by combining the 2 for about 6 weeks and then dropped the bith part.  I felt very strongly that she was starting over.  I learned that her age was about as old as you can go and still make the change w/out harm.  I also had a religious reason for changing her name.  She is now 10 and knows of her birthname from her lifebook and has no issues with the change.  The biggest question I had at the time was this, if at the age of 18 she hated what we did, would I be ok if she took it back.  In the end, I was ok with it and that i could explain why we made the choice. 



Hope this helps!



 

[deleted account]

Hello. I adopted my son at age 15 months (had him since birth), and we kept his first name and just changed the middle name. My daughter we adopted at age 2 (had her since birth), and we changed her first name, and made her birth name her middle name. I was foster mom first for both of them.

Angie - posted on 04/06/2009

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I'm a foster mom, about to adopt my three daughters and we are going to have their names changed. My youngest wants her name to be princess but were going to do Unique. She likes that name as well. They have been with us since 06 of September.

Kathy - posted on 03/24/2009

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I changed the middle name of my daughter that we got at age 3 and plan to do the same with our next adoption actually we are changing her first name to the shortened version of her birth name but that is what we have called her since birth..I think you should be happy with the name and 8 &18m is still very young.

I also had a friend that changed her three childrens names for safety.. the birth parents lived near by and she had no idea what they looked like but thought that in any store if she called the children by the birth names it would make them to easy to identify there was no problem they adjusted very easily they were older and had terrible memories so it was a great new start to a new life.

Alexandra - posted on 03/11/2009

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We adopted internationally and my son came home at 8 months.  We kept his birth name as his middle name. and changed his first name. His birth mother knows too which is nice. 

Jennifer - posted on 03/09/2009

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I have adopted 3 boys after first being their foster mother. My oldest was placed with me at 2 1/2 years old and his adoption was finalized when he was 4. I gave him choices for his new name and he picked Isaiah and then I made his birth name his middle name. He was very eager at nearly 4 years to use his new name and made everyone at preschool call him by his new name and absolutely refused to answer to his birth name. He is 10 years old now and is totally fine. The problem was with me. I felt extremely guilty for changing his name. I felt like I stole his identity from him somehow.  Needless to say, I did not change the names of my other two sons. One was adopted when he was 4 years and the other at 2 years old. I just gave them my last name. I really think it is fine either way, whichever works best for your family.

Jess - posted on 03/07/2009

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We adopted our son at age 4 we gave him a choice of names to pick from. He's going to be 8 and he's well adjusted to his name. I know other foster parents that adopted looked down on this but we wanted him to have a name we picked. His birth name seemed girlish to us.

Chrisa - posted on 03/06/2009

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My daughter was 3 1/2 when we adopted her - her birth name was so long and hard to pronounce, that everyone called her "Di". So we took the letters from her first name and changed her name to Dianna. She doesn't even know that she had another name. We kept her birth middle name.

Karen - posted on 03/05/2009

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We have 3 kids that the plan was to be adoption (not perm fostre care) but the oldest wanted to change his name right away that was in kindergarten, he dindt like birth name as it reminded him of bad past,so hes called by his middle name now, his choice. The middle made the choice to keep her name but a shortened version and wants to keep her middle name, the youngest was just to young and we were going to change middle name. Oldest chose a new middle name for himself.

If you do change their names and they are used to their old name try using the old anme and new name together like if changing from Thomas to Billy call him Thomas Billy then start to drop the Thomas and just use Billy.

I tihnk its appropriate as they are in new home with new family a new name is great.

Susan - posted on 03/05/2009

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please also post whether you are foster/adoptive, or both. I am a foster mom, in the process of adopting

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