Parent-to-Parent: What's In a Name?

How did you choose your child's name? Did you have input from his birth family? Or did you keep her original name? Parents answer.

An adoptive parent choosing a child's name


“Our son was with us since his birth. When we were able to adopt him, we named him after my father. We wanted him to have a family name. We later learned that he shares a name with his biological grandfather and great-grandfather” —TAMMY

“Our daughter’s birth mom said it was important to her that we name our daughter; she did not want to do it. She did like the first name we chose, and we all feel it fits her well.” —ANGELA

“We adopted both of our children and gave them names. We wanted to choose.” —JOSEPH

“We unfortunately had to change our boys’ names for safety reasons. We gave them names that had special meanings to each of them, and they both love them!” —JANICE


“Our daughter was 15 months old when we adopted her internationally. I loved her name and never had any intention of changing it. She didn’t have a middle name, however, so we gave her one.” —KRISTA

“We adopted our daughter at age four, so she not only knew her name, but could write it. So we kept it, including the unusual spelling.” —DANIT

“I kept all four of my kids’ birth names. I tell them their names were gifts from their birth moms.” —TONI


“Our six-year-old daughter is called by her middle name, so we’re going to make that her first name and give her a new middle name when we legalize.” —SKYA

“We kept their first names because they were old enough to know them, although we choose a more conventional spelling for one of them. We gave them middle names of members of our extended family.” —CATHY

“When I told my child’s foster mother that I wanted to change her name when I adopted her, she asked, ‘Why would you take from a child what might be the only positive thing her birth parent gave her?’ That made sense to me, so I kept my daughter’s first name. Her middle name is my maiden name and her last name is our family’s last name.” —KARLA


“We heard a name we loved two weeks before our meeting with our daughter’s birth family. During the meeting, her birth mom asked if we had been thinking of names, and whether she could share one she liked. It was the same name! We also agreed on a perfect middle name.” —JULIA

“Our daughter’s birth mom told us ahead of time she wanted to give her a name, and was OK with our renaming her. We had a first name, but had not settled on a middle name. When we learned the names the birth mother chose, we decided to use them both as a middle name, connected with a hyphen. The birth mother loved our plan, as well as our choice for a first name, so that’s what she put on the original birth certificate!” —TODD


“Our daughter’s first mom wanted us to name our child. We asked her if she liked the first name that we chose, then asked if our daughter could take her middle name. She agreed, and I love that our daughter forever carries a piece of her first mom with her.” —KIRSETN

“Our daughter’s birth mother did not name her in the hospital, and did not want ongoing contact, so we chose a name that we had in mind for a girl. We used the birth mother’s name for her middle name.” —CURT


“Our children were two, four, and five when we adopted them, after having been with us in foster care for two years. We changed their first names, but chose names that allowed us to keep the nicknames they had had their entire lives. They each chose their own middle name. Well, sort of. We rejected my son’s first choice, ‘Crazy Pants.'” —BETH

“My daughter was four when we adopted her. We visited a friend of hers from before they were adopted, and my daughter asked why they called her Gina instead of Sonnee. We told her she could pick an American name, too, if she wanted. Her name was Mee Hyang, and when she heard the name Mia, she said ‘That’s like my name. I am Mia.’ That’s the end of the story.” —MATTHEW


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