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Adopting Toddler? Changing Name?

We are hoping to adopt a toddler or preschooler, possibly out of foster care, for those that have, do you change their names? Is it hard to do?


Asked by Christian-Mom79 at 6:54 PM on May. 20, 2009 in Adoption

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Answers (16)
  • I changed my childs name when she was adopted, I actually added to the name she was given by her birth mother. I know a lot of adopted children that have had their names changed many make that choice. My daughter was called by her nick name most of the time she was in custody but I am sure I didn't want to change her name to "Ladybug". I look at it this way, I am her Mommy and I know her best so it's my job to pick out a name that will suit her. Kids really adjust fast and if they feel like it's a good thing they will welcome it. I think back to when my Mom married my step dad we called him Bob until the day they were married (31 years ago tomorrow) then my brother and I called him Dad and never made a mistake by calling him Bob again even though we had for over 2 years. There are some not so nice people that would have plenty to share with my dd if she kept her given name and that would not be fair to her !

    Answer by Angie173 at 7:02 AM on May. 26, 2009

  • It's not hard to change their names, you can do it at the time of getting a new birth certificate. I would not recommend, at this age, changing their first name, but middle and last I think are fair game.

    Answer by kemclaughlin at 6:56 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • You can but I agree with not changing their first name.


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:00 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • My son came home at 15 months with the name of Austin Chase G***... we have named all our children after someone in the family and wanted his name to also fit... - we changed it to Richard Austin C***. He still goes by Austin, though.

    Sometimes it's successful to change their names - if you do opt to make this choice, it's recommended to use both names for a while, then drop off the old name over time.

    I would exercise caution and be more careful the older the child is with this just because your name is part of your sense of identity AND there is loss in adoption - to be adopted is to sever the relationship with the biological family and taking away the name can just be another loss.

    I would say make the choice that works for you but be aware of all sides of it before making a decision. :)

    Best of luck to you!!

    Answer by AAAMama at 8:19 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • Thanks AAAMama!!! That helps a lot!!!

    Answer by Christian-Mom79 at 9:01 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • I too agree that a toddlers birth name ....the first name should not be changed.
    That is their identity.
    My daughter was adopted as a newborn...she was born Faith Marie..
    I named her Danielle Faith Marie.

    Answer by Dannee at 9:22 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • I know of many who incorporate the first by moving it to the middle, that way they don't lose their sense of identity. There is a "newness" of the new first name, and a "history" of the middle name that used to be the first name. But it depends on the situation. Sometimes when the history of the child has been painful, many of the older ones will want a "fresh start" and a new name. I think that as long as you are open-minded and listen to the needs of the child, you will figure it out. Don't make the decision on your own without involving the child's input to the extent you can. I'm not sure of what state you are in but in Texas the child will live with you for at least 6 months before you can adopt. There is plenty of time to decide.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 9:53 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • I agree with what AAAMama said. I'm not sure I would change the name of a toddler myself, but that will be up to you. Our DS came home at 4 weeks. We moved his first name to his middle name (which we still use as a nickname), and made his first name the one we chose. They are both two syllables and have the same beginning sound. We used both names for several months. His birthmother was fine with it when we discussed it the day we met her. She seemed honored that we were going to keep the name she chose somewhere in there.

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 10:19 PM on May. 20, 2009

  • I think it can be sort of a "right of passage" and make kids feel more connected to their new family. After all, naming a child is a parent's right and privilege. I would think that at toddler age, it probably won't have a detrimental impact. We changed our daughter's name when she came to us from another country at age four. Since her name would not have been pronounceable for 95% of Americans, it was really a necessity, and she loves her new name.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:31 AM on May. 21, 2009

  • Once they know their first name, to change it would be borderline emotional abuse.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:54 PM on May. 21, 2009