When pregnant, some couples get nearly as much satisfaction in choosing their baby’s name as in preparing the nursery, buying clothes, and preparing in every way to welcome the little one home. And often name suggestions are accepted by the parents. I knew one family who found out they were having a little boy. Their older daughter was devastated that she wasn’t getting a sister. Finally, the daughter was comforted when her parents said that she could name the little boy. Personally, the name was one I might have given a daughter, if hard-pressed, but certainly wouldn’t give to a son. But it worked for them!

This begs the question: Who should have input in naming your adopted child? Maybe you’ve been anticipating being a parent since you were just a kid yourself. And maybe you’ve had your children’s names picked out for decades! But maybe you’d be willing to let others help in this most joyous of joyful baby-prep tasks. If so, consider inviting the birth mother to share her list of names she would choose for the child. Maybe there’s not a single name in that long list that appeals to you. If that’s the case, perhaps you could live with a middle name for your baby that’s something you might not choose on your own. For your child, knowing that one of his/her names came from the birth mother could be of great solace. It could be one of those things that adds to your child’s security, knowing that the birth mother really is, voluntarily, a part of the child’s life. Besides the gift that is to your child, imagine the peace and happiness that will give to the birth mother—being a part of something so important in your child’s life!

What if you have older children wanting to participate in the naming of your child? We had two kids when we adopted our infant son. We accepted all their suggestions, even wrote them down. But they were so ludicrous it would have been cruel to give any of those names to our new son. Still, we held a family council and, through careful parental manipulation, our kids thought that they narrowed it down to three names. All three were acceptable to us, and we chose our favorite.

Maybe you’re adopting an older child who is coming to you with a name already. What if you encourage him/her to choose what name they’d like to be known by? Some children want to hang on to parts of their past and keep their names. But others are excited at the future and want a brand new start, including a new name.

However you decide to name your child, remember that there are ways to please many people. Think outside of the box and see if it doesn’t offer opportunities to please all. (No one was ever hurt by having five or six names! )