6 Things to Consider When Naming Your Adopted Baby

Choosing a name for your child is a difficult thing to do. However, there are a few other things to consider when you are naming your adopted baby.

Shelley Skuster April 04, 2018

It pops up in online adoption forums all the time: What do you do when it comes to naming your child?

Some adoptive parents have had baby names picked out for years and have a hard time wrapping their heads around a different name for their child. Other adoptive parents decide to choose a name with input from their child’s biological family. Whatever the case may be, naming your child isn’t always an easy decision.

Here are six things to consider when it comes to naming your adopted child:

Have the biological parents already named their child?
1. Have the biological parents already named their child?

If the expectant parents or birth parents have already named their child, you have a decision to make: Keep the name they chose or change it?

If you don’t like the name that’s been chosen for your child, consider asking questions to find out if there is special meaning behind the name.

Is there a compromise you can reach with the biological family where you can respect their wishes and include your own?

 Does the name reflect your child’s heritage?
2. Does the name reflect your child’s heritage?

Is your child Latino? Was your son born in Africa?

Consider honoring your child’s heritage when choosing his or her name.

Does your child’s name honor your child’s birth family?
3. Does your child’s name honor your child’s birth family?

If you have the opportunity, it may be worthwhile to find out if your child’s birth family has any names that are meaningful to them.

You might even consider incorporating your child’s birth mother or father’s name with their first or middle name. Using a name that’s special to his birth family is a great way to honor them.

Should you rename your child for safety issues?
4. Should you rename your child for safety issues?

Do you have concerns about your child’s birth family or their biological relatives putting your child in danger?

Sometimes changing the name of your child offers a sense of safety and security your child needs.

How old is your child?
5. How old is your child?

Is your child old enough to know what her name is? Will this impact how she identifies and responds to others?

When you consider the implications of changing your child’s given name, it is important to compare the pros and cons from her age and perspective.

What is your motivation for naming your child?
6. What is your motivation for naming your child?

What is your motivation for naming (or changing the name) of your adopted child? Are you prepared to explain this to your child as she gets older?

When contemplating whether to keep your child’s birth name or change it, ask yourself the following: Which decision am I less likely to regret down the road?

author image

Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes, and she can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.


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