Name Game

 March 2, 2012

A reader asked a good question and I thought I would share it here.

"Congratulations on your new little girl. I recently discovered and have been enjoying your blog. I am an adoptive parent myself (domestic via foster care). Our daughter came home with us straight from the hospital. We are lucky people. I know that almost never happens. Anyway, her birth mother named her Emma. We would never have chosen that name, but kept if for her for multiple reasons. I was wondering why you have chosen to give your daughters new names? Can you tell me how you chose their names and how they reacted to being given new ones? Thanks"

Dear Reader;

My daughter from Kazakhstan retained the name given by her birth mother, her middle name is from her adoptive family meant both to honor a person in our family and link our daughter to her adoptive family.

My daughters from China have "American sounding" first names that frankly we though went nicely with their sister's first name and sort of "tied them together in a way many bio sibs would be named". Also because of a suspected problem with expressive language we puposely chose a name for the Butterfly we hoped would be easier to pronounce.

They each have two middle names; again an adoptive family name and their given Chinese name. I wanted to incorporate their Chinese names to honor their heritage however those names were given by the orphanage and sadly had little sentimental meaning (eg: one daughter's Chinese name literally means "orphan").

My daughter who was almost 4 when she was adopted was in foster care and her foster mother told her about her new American name and started using it right away.  By the time of the adoption our daughter had been using her American name for 8 months so it was already "hers".  Today she embraces all of her names and loves to call herself "Dr LiPing" (smile). My nickname for her is Ping Ping-the same nickname her foster mother used.

I'm interested to hear how other adoptive parents handle this delicate issue....please did you approach the adoption name game?

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