And then there's a comment from a birth mother at this post: "My daughter's adoptive mother told her that she changed her name because she didn't want her to get teased about it at school." What a way to diss a child's birth mother.
I've posted before about the importance of keeping a child's pre-adoption name as a part of his or her identity (see here and here and here), and about naming as claiming. But I hadn't really thought much about how to choose a new name for an adopted child (beyond thinking that Charity is not a good choice!), and whether that's any different from how biological parents choose a name for a child.
But then there were some dueling blog posts I ran across -- I'm not going to link the blogs, because who it is is beside the point. I do have to tell you this much, though -- a prospective adoptive parent posted on her blog that she would be naming her future Ethiopian child "Ireland," the name that she had picked for her first child regardless of origin. An adult adoptee suggested on her blog that that name might not be suitable for an Ethiopian child. Bad feelings flowed both ways. I submitted a comment at the PAP's blog, but she chose not to publish it (her blog, her right). I've decided to explore the issue here instead.
Here's what I submitted about naming:
I hope you can look at your name choice in the context of adoption parenting, transracial adoption parenting, international adoption parenting, not simply as a parent who wants to gift her child with her favorite name.So what do you think -- is naming different in adoption? If yes, how? What additional factors should adoptive parents consider in naming their children?
Some of the issues in naming in adoption include the disconnect between name and appearance, the potential for racial and adoption teasing (Annie might lead to "Little Orphan Annie" teasing, for example), whether the name represents negative images of adoption (ex. the name Charity is lovely, but perhaps not for an adopted child who is likely to be viewed as a charity case by many), whether the name might suggest a rejection of birth culture or race (rejecting a given name as "too ethnic"), whether the name furthers stereotypes about race and culture (ex. naming a child from China "Jade"), whether the name is respectful of the birth parents' wishes, if known, whether the child adopted at an older age agrees, etc.
Best of luck with your adoption journey -- it isn't just a travel journey, but a journey of understanding that the focus has to be on what our children need, not on what we want.