We're still just paperchasing, but DH and I are trying to decide on our daughter's name. I've heard that when adopting a child you shouldn't break any family naming traditions. Also I've heard that many adopted adults like having some portion of their given Chinese name incorporated into their new name.
For us that means giving her a first name all her own, a middle name after someone in the family, and then a second middle name from her Chinese name. I really don't like the idea of giving her 2 middle names but I can't really imagine not using either. What did you do and/or what do you think?
Very true about chinese words meaning lots of different things depending on the tones and characters. In the adoption circles, in addition to the meaning beautiful, you will also commonly hear mei refer to the meaning little sister (mei mei) :)
I am not sure if I would put it on her birth certificate but my husband is Chinese so we will probably have his father give her a Chinese name instead of keeping the name that was likely given by a caregiver. Chinese culture has the oldest male on the father's side name a child. My husband is Chinese so we would have his father give her a Chinese name instead of keeping the name that was likely given by a caregiver.
I found the following interesting because I did not know the trend had changed. DH has a two word Chinese name (it is hypenated as his middle name).
From Wikipedia:
Traditional naming schemes often followed a pattern of using [url=""]generation names[/url] as part of a two-character given name; however, this is less used today, especially in the [url=""]mainland[/url] of the [url=""]People's Republic of China[/url], where many given names use only one character
Hi All,
Just thought I'd share that some people in our DTC group had names that when translated had meanings of "small cabbage" and " book educator". So, they didn't keep those names.
Also, I want to share that often a child has a nickname in the orphanage that is not related to their name. In fact, Lilianna has never responded to Li, Xi, Li Xi, Li Li or Xi Xi. We suspect she wasn't called any of these names
Take care,
We are thinking of giving her a Chinese name as a second middle name and are considering Mei, like so many others are too!
I'm too impatient to wait until we get a referral to see what her Chinese name is to use that! I want to know her name now! Plus, the whole orphanage name thing is too Oliver Twist-ish to me, so I'd rather not use it.
As someone else said, the tone matters a lot. Mei, as in beautiful or mei guo ren uses the third tone. Which I think is a bit more difficult to pronouce right, but I would like to use it anyway. I think the same character for Mei as used in the words above would be used for a name too, but I will ask some of our Chinese friends about that sometime for certain. Meimei uses a different tone for mei and a different character, I don't know if that one is appropriate for a name though.
Does anyone know what if any legal complications there might be with using two middle names? Would it be better to use a dash between them?
I also read where it is becoming more common for the Chinese to have 2 instead of 3 characters (such as the actress Gong Li).
Also the press usually combines the first name characters (so Zhang Zi Yi turned into Zhang Ziyi and then when she came to Holloywood, she's now Ziyi Zhang).
We have 3 biological children and we adopted our daughter from China in July. Her given name in China was Hai (ocean) Mo (Jasmine). Given the fact the "Hai" surname was named after the orphanage, we decided to give her a first name chosen by the five of us and use her Chinese first name as her middle name (MO). The name is not only unique but she will carry her Chinese name with her throughout her life. We were going to give her another middle name as well (after a grandmother) but decided we wanted to make her name similar to her siblings and they only have one middle name. We use her middle name as her nickname too! The kids call her her whole name often.
I am planning on keeping at least one of her Chinese names as a middle name, probably a combination of the first two names, but I am not absolutely positive. It will depend on the meaning. I have met a child who whose Chinese name meant "Blue Stain" because she had Mongolian spots. In a case like this one, I would not keep the Chinese name. I have an added difficutly as I am from France and no one in my family speaks any English. So, I have to pick out names that can be pronouced in English and French. So far she will be Margaux Chinese Name Last name.
For both our girls we kept their Chinese names as their middle names. They also have an additional middle name so like others here they have 4 names. For Mira we never use her English middle name when talking to her; we only use her Chinese name, and for Shona we never use any of her middle names but the nickname the nannies gave her! So the girls are often called Mira Bei Bei and Shona Fa Fa!
My hubs picked out Danika(meaning "morning star") and I'm partial to Fae(meaning "fairy") for a middle name, but depending on what her Chinese name is, we will probably incorporate it.
Regardless, I'm getting a tattoo to symbolize our family. It will most likely be a dragon(husband) and a phoenix(wife) with a ball that bears the child's Chinese name.
My husband is going to get a circular tribal dragon with all 3 of our Chinese zodiac signs. It will be ox for me, boar for him, and rooster/dog for the lil one. Cool! Mom and Dad's signs will flank the middle sign reflecting our daughter.
It's a way of preserving her heritage forever.
We've said all along that we would incorporate her Chinese name into the whole name. Our daughter's name is currently Qing-Rong. (Pronounced Ch'ing Roong).
From her SWI report, "Qing means delightful, Rong describes her beautiful as FuRong flower (lotus)". We are naming her Cadence Fae Qing.
It might be difficult for others to pronounce, but how many of us use our middle names when introducing ourselves?
It will be something she carries with her for her entire life, given to her from her Mother Land. We think she deserves to keep this identity.
I wouldn't use her Chinese name as her first name, because people would always mispronounce it. Her name is who she is though, and I also would not toss it. Out of respect for my daughter and out of respect for her birth country that gifted her to us, her name is staying. I can't imagine it any other way.
Oh my goodness, Angie-
You picked the same spelling of what we chose!!! Not too many do. We chose Cadence (rhythmic movement) Fae (faery) because of two reasons, DH and I created short stories together that involved a Fae creature, and her name was Cadence, and because I've always wanted a girl. Through the years, It's as if she's been the dancing faery that's kept me wanting a girl.
Before splitting up a name, I suggest speaking with someone who is fluent in Chinese and/or knowledgable in Chinese custom.
Also just a note, not many people know my daughter's middle name. It's not asked for and when it is, they don't ask for the meaning. For me, it was easy to make the decision before even knowing what her name was to keep it.
Naming is a profoundly personal decision and, like so many things in this world, there is no correct or incorrect way to do it. Here are some of my thoughts on naming:
I view the name we will give to our daughter as one of the first gifts she will receive from us. It is a formal welcome and inclusion into our family. We will be giving her a Chinese first name (Xian Li - pronounced "shen lee") and a Western middle name (Lilah).
In many cultures, including some Chinese, children are often named or renamed at major developmental transitions. I like looking at naming from this perspective because she will be making a major transition in her life with this adoption. The way she learns, plays, sleeps, eats, and interacts will all change. There will be new people to love and share here experiences with.
We do not want to keep the name assigned to her at the orphanage for her legal name because we do not feel it is one that was given out of love. I would be more inclined to keep a nickname used by a caregiver out of love than a name given by the orphanage for institutional organization. That said, there are always exceptions and what is good for one family may not be good for another.
One last thing and I will wrap up this long post. In an effort to support Chinese culture, my wife and I and our two biological daughters have all taken Chinese names in addition to our Western names. We have been taking Mandarin lessons and celebrating Chinese cultural holidays. It is fascinating to see our family's culture changing before Xian Li even arrives! I think it is important to note that this change is not superficial. I believe that we would continue to be a Chinese-American family even if our adoption does not happen (It will happen, though! :) ).
For those of you who are already home and decided to change your child's name, how did you go about doing it? Did you just start calling her that new name from the start, or did you use both her Chinese name and new name together and then gradually dropped the Chinese name?
I actually called our daughter by her orphanage nickname for about the first three or four days (Shi-Shi), hoping that would make her a bit more comfortable. After that, I interspersed using her nickname and her new English name. By the end of the trip, she responded to both. I still occasionally call her by her nickname, but she's started shaking her head no and saying her English name.