Can you change your child’s name after adoption?

In this blog post, we will answer the question “Can you change your child’s name after adoption?”. In doing so, we will look at various aspects of adoption such as its types, what it looks like for younger/older adoptees, the ethics behind changing names, and finally end the blog by seeing the factors that ought to be considered.

Can you change your child’s name after adoption? 

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to changing a child’s name after adoption. This is primarily a personal choice. 

Some parents choose to change the name of their kids, while others do not. This is likely to spark a heated argument. There are others who believe that the surname given at birth is a link to their biological family and that changing it is inappropriate. 

Others say that changing a child’s name is a parental right and that all parents enjoy coming up with new names for their children. Adoptions should be treated similarly.

There appear to be people on both sides who will reject your decision, regardless of which side you lean toward. 

This is an excellent illustration of why each adoption is special and should be handled as such.

If you adopt a kid soon after birth, you might be able to name him or her right away. 

Provided your adoption is open, you may be able to choose a name and have it written on your birth certificate immediately if your mother agrees. 

When the baby is born, the mother, on the other hand, can choose a name for her and later alter it.

Changing the name of an infant

Name 

When the child was born, did you agree to keep the name chosen by the child’s mother? In this instance, you must honor the contract in a trustworthy manner.

Did you pick a name that all of your parents (both biological and adoptive) agreed on before you were born? Are you considering a different option right now? 

You must think about it before making any modifications if you choose everyone together as part of your birth plan. It’s appropriate to discuss the adjustments you wish to make if you’ve discussed the matter before it’s legally recognized. 

That isn’t to say that adjustments can’t be made; nevertheless, because of the relationship and the need for honesty in an open atmosphere, they shouldn’t be made without discussion.

When it comes to infant adoption, it is typical for adoptive parents to name their kids. 

Although birth parents may give their names first, many adoptive parents expect their names to alter during the adoption process.

What if I really like the name my birth family chose for me and choose to keep it? 

As an adoptive parent, this is definitely something you can do. Maintaining a child’s name is a wonderful gesture for a natural parent in many ways.

Surname

Although it is usual for families to have children with names other than their parents’ (divorce, illegitimacy, etc.), most adoptive families prefer to name their children. 

There are, of course, exceptions. As I previously stated, there are no hard and fast laws when it comes to naming children.

As a result, while naming a child after adoption, you have a lot of alternatives. You are free to use your given name. Your first and middle names will remain the same, while your first and last names will be changed. 

You can keep your given name but alter your middle and last names. You can even modify your complete name if you choose.

Changing the name of older children 

If you’re adopting an older child, you have the option of changing the child’s name completely or not at all, including preserving the original name. 

When adopting older children, it’s possible that they’ll wish to preserve their given names. It might be fine if it’s not a security concern for them and you’re cool with it. 

There are numerous factors to consider if you truly believe you need to rename your family. As the child approaches adulthood and obtains a driver’s license, changing the name may become more challenging. 

The youngster may desire to maintain his name at this point since he feels attached to it.

Younger children who are still in primary school, on the other hand, maybe willing to change their names. 

Because this child will be your legal responsibility for many years, it will be easy to share your name. 

It becomes more vital at some stage to examine the child’s feelings, how the renaming affects the youngster, and what emotions the child may experience.

Ethics of changing name post-adoption 

Types of adoption: 

Adoption can be divided into three categories:

  • Adoption of infants
  • Foster parents’ adoption
  • Adoption on a global scale

Adoption of infants within the United States mainly entails the placement of neonates. 

Adoptive parents can collaborate with future birth mothers to come up with names for open and semi-open adoptions. Alternatively, the adoptive parent may have complete control over the name.

We mostly talk about foster parents and intercountry adoption when we talk about renaming a child. 

Because older children are involved in these forms of adoptions, the children involved already know their names. On the basis of their foundation, they built attachment and identity. 

As a result, adopting an older child and giving him or her a new name is a more challenging option for parents.

It should be highlighted, however, that this can also be a concern in the case of domestic baby adoption. 

Some parents pledge to preserve the name provided by the child’s mother at the time of birth but afterward change their minds.

Why change name after adopting?

Some adopted children have suffered severe early childhood trauma as a result of their adoption. 

This isn’t true for all children. However, for many people, the years leading up to adoption are difficult.

As a result, some adoptive parents assume the new name has authority. It signifies the start of a new life in which the terrible events of the past no longer control you.

Furthermore, some adoptive parents believe that giving their child a new name is the greatest approach to make them feel like a full member of the family. 

Adopted children are given new names on their wedding day, just as children are given new names at birth.

There’s another reason for parents to change their children’s names: it’s more practical. 

Children who have been adopted internationally may have names that are difficult to pronounce or spell in the United States. 

As a result, adoptive parents may choose to give their children a more traditional American name, despite evidence that name discrimination is real.

Experience of adoptees

This specific argument is unusual in that it allows you to hear the voices of individuals who are directly impacted. Older adoptees, including those whose names have been altered by the adoptive family, can speak for themselves.

Everyone has their own point of view Being renamed is received in different ways by adoptees. 

Being separated from their biological ancestors.

Understanding your origins is essential for developing a strong and good identity. Many adoptions, particularly international and private adoptions, face unique problems as a result of this. 

The adoptee’s name is one of the few that can be traced back to their biological, racial, and ethnic ancestors. Giving a new name will most definitely cost losing any link to the child’s past. 

Having a say while changing the name 

Many adoptive children are willing to have their names changed by their adoptive parents. The child, however, might want a say in the process.

Each child has distinct needs based on his or her age. If your child has an opinion regarding their name being changed, be sure to inquire if a new name is required. Do not brush off their request or opinion just because they’re young. 

If they do, you could even enlist their assistance in naming the baby. In the adoption process, a kid often feels powerless, and this is a method for them to reclaim some personal agency.

Questions to ask self 

These questions aren’t meant to influence you in any way. Pay attention to your gut feelings. 

If all of the responses lead in the same direction, your plan may need to be changed (or confirmed).

  • Is this for my child’s benefit or for my own?
  • Do I have any unspoken thoughts regarding my child’s biological family, and do they influence my decision? 
  • Do my children want a new name right now, and will they appreciate it later? 
  • What does their biological heritage have to do with the name change?
  • Will their new name make a difference in their life?

Factors to consider

1. Safety and security

When picking a name, there are numerous variables to consider. The most crucial requirement is security. Is there a new name for the protection of children’s and families’ privacy? 

This is particularly frequent in adoption when the adoptive family refuses to locate or contact the family in an anxious situation.

Age of the child

The child’s age is also something to think about. Renaming may be unfamiliar to older children. 

Older children, on the other hand, maybe able to clearly express their thoughts about the name change, and if the change is wanted, the child may be interested in selecting a new name. 

Adoptive parents can only estimate how their child will feel about future renaming because young children, such as newborns, are unable to communicate their wishes regarding their names being changed. 

A parental rite of passage

Finally, it is critical that adoptive parents give their children a name. It’s a rite of passage for parents who have waited years, if not decades, for a real long-awaited parent. 

Adoptive parents should be aware that wanting to name their kids after themselves is totally natural and acceptable. 

They could want to give their child a surname or a name that starts with the same letters as the child’s new siblings.

Name changing procedure depending on the type of adoption

The adopted child’s name is officially changed at the conclusion of the adoption process. If the adoptive parent changes the child’s name, the new name will be put on the new birth certificate, and the original birth certificate will be sealed in most states. 

As a result, in the vast majority of circumstances, the procedure of renaming an adopted child is not overly complicated.

Ethnicity and intercountry adoption factors

Intercountry adoption raises a lot of fascinating issues. It can be difficult for a US parent to adopt a child from another nation and then try to alter the child’s name to an American name. 

Adopted children in some nations claim to keep a name that reflects their birth country, regardless of whether the name is used as a first or middle name. 

This naming arrangement, according to Adoption.com, can be reversed after a kid enters the United States.

Problems like the ones listed above are much easier to solve if the child is under the age of two and has a limited understanding of the world. 

However, older children adopted from other countries may choose to keep some of their cultural heritage, therefore names that they believe can adequately represent their heritage should be carefully considered.

Adoption that is open to all

When the adoptive parent and the birth parent come to an agreement that permits the birth parent to remain involved in the child’s life, it is known as open adoption. 

Because the exact terms for an open adoption are usually set by both parents, and the adoption usually holds the rights of all parents, not all adoptions have renaming issues. 

During the adoption procedure, when compiling legal paperwork, renaming must be decided.

A disagreement may occur later if the birth parent claims a part in naming the child and the adoption agreement includes such requirements. 

This does not rule out the possibility of a naming conflict in all public adoptions, but it should be taken into account while drafting legal paperwork.

Baby’s name and gender

Names frequently carry preconceptions and conjure up images and experiences in people’s minds. 

Because names are such a prominent characteristic, you must give careful consideration to your kid’s name selections and be open to the opinions that an adopted child may have during the process. 

You might want to make these ideas a priority so that your child can see how they affect their personality.

Conclusion 

If you’re in a bind, you can refer to your child by a nickname rather than their full name. As a result, youngsters have options. 

They can if they like Monica and feel empowered by moving on from the past. They can, however, preserve the name assigned to them at birth if they grow up.

Adopting a child and renaming him or her is a life-altering decision. Consider whether this is the best option for you. 

All adoptive parents want the best for their children, we know. We hope this guide helped you understand what this means for you and your family.

References:

  1. https://adoptionnetwork.com/adoption-name-change-factors-to-consider/ 
  2. https://consideringadoption.com/the-ethics-of-renaming-an-adopted-child/ 

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