Adoption: Name Change for Older Child?Posted by Cynthia Dermody
Photo by Nicole080984
A member of the CafeMom community tells of a friend, in the process of adopting four boys ages 2, 4, 5, and 7, who plans to change the names of the adopted children once she is the legal guardian.
"I guess I would feel differently about it if they were babies, but I don't think I would change names at that age," the mom says. "I guess they decided to change all of the names because they really didn't like the name of the 5 year old, but she didn't want to single him out. All the kids are okay with it except the 5 year old, who says he would rather be called 'hey you' than any of the names they had picked out."
I'm currently going through a nickname/name issue with my daughter "Carolyn," who likes her name but is frustrated because everyone mispronounces it "Caroline."
I do know of several people who adopted infants or very young toddlers, particularly from Asia or and other countries, who did change their childrens' names, and that didn't seem to be a big deal.
But changing a 7 year old's name? Moms in the Newcomer's Club said that's just sending a message that you don't accept the kids for who they are. They suggested letting the kids pick their own name, or giving them a nickname that everyone likes. This is actually not that unusual. Another mom in Newcomer's says her adopted 12 year old daughter wants to change her name and is taking suggestions.
Even letting a school age kid pick their own name sounds risky. I know my 7 year old would come up with Maxus Dragonoid or Flamethrower or even one of the names on the cruelest names list.
If I had been adopted as a school age child and given the choice to pick a new name for myself, I would be "Judy" today. As in "Judy" the character on Lost in Space. I wanted to be her so badly. I even started writing the name "Judy" on a lot of my papers at school. The teacher had to send home a note ...
Should parents be allowed to change the name of older children they adopt? Do you have any personal experience with this?