Ask AF: Talking About Name Changes

Our expert discusses name changes in adopted children, both for those adopted as infants and older adoptees.

Q: We are adopting a four-month-old boy from the foster care system and plan to change his birth name. Should we disclose the change when he’s older?

 

A: For a very young child, a name change will not be a major interruption. Consider keeping his first name as a middle name — it is a validation that you know and fully accept him for who he is.

There’s no need to wait until he’s “older” to tell him; he can learn about his name change as he learns his adoption story. The fact that his name changed at four months can be just a natural part of his story.

 


 

Q: I’m adopting three children from foster care. The 16-year-old wants to keep his first name as a middle name; the middle child doesn’t want any name change; and the 10-year-old wants to change all of her name. I have encouraged them to keep their first names, but would like us to all have the same last name as a way of connecting us as a new family.

 

A: Encouraging older children to keep their first names is the right choice. Changing a name doesn’t erase the past — that healing comes in other forms.

Our son, adopted at 16, chose to take our last name as a ritual of passage for attaching to our family. He is 39 now, and I believe his choice, made so many years ago, solidified our lifelong connection to him through uncertain and difficult times.




FREE WEEKLY DIGEST
Get the latest news, information, and essays from Adoptive Families magazine.


Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
Please provide a valid email address.
Thank you for subscribing to the Adoptive Families newsletter. You will receive your first email within the next week.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Please fill in the required fields.

Adoption Agencies

Bethany Christian Services
Grand Rapids, MI
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Spence-Chapin Services to Children & Families
New York, NY
U.S. Newborn, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Children’s Connections, Inc.
Lubbock, TX
U.S. Newborn
TX
Family Law Company “Magistr”
Kolomyia, NY
International
AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Gladney Center for Adoption
Fort Worth, TX
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Abrazo Adoption Associates
San Antonio, TX
U.S. Newborn, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Building Blocks Adoption Service
Medina, OH
U.S. Newborn, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Family Life Services Adoption Agency
Lynchburg, VA
U.S. Newborn
ALL STATES
ALL STATES
Adoption by Shepherd Care
Hollywood, FL
U.S. Newborn, International
Bal Jagat- Children’s World Inc.
Long Beach, CA
International
Children’s Home Society & Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
Saint Paul, MN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Family & Children’s Agency, Inc.
Norwalk, CT
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Family & Children’s Agency, Inc.
Harrison, NY
U.S. Newborn, International
Cradle of Hope Adoption Center
Silver Spring, MD
U.S. Newborn, International
The Barker Adoption Foundation
Bethesda, MD
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Page 1 of 3123

See all adoption agencies >

Authors


Copyright © 1999-2019 Adoptive Families Magazine®. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

More articles like this

Newsletter

Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
Please provide a valid email address.
Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Please fill in the required fields.
Top