Q&A: Thinking of changing an adopted child’s name. Thoughts?

Question by Mel: Thinking of changing an adopted child’s name. Thoughts?
My husband and I are adopting a child out of the foster care system. He is 5 years old and named Miguel. We are thinking of moving his first name to his middle name and then adding a first name that we have picked. While we don’t want him to lose his identity we would like to have a say in our child’s name. We are thinking Parker Miguel, Simon Miguel, or Harrison Miguel…thoughts???

Best answer:

Answer by MJacobs
It would be different if he was a baby but considering he is already 5 it wont work very well. I suggest leave it

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12 thoughts on “Q&A: Thinking of changing an adopted child’s name. Thoughts?”

  1. Hi, The child has already lost his parents, his home and extended family. When he is placed with you he will also lose his foster family. Through out his young life, the only thing that has remained stable is his name, his identity. I wouldn’t change it.

    Some of the children we adopted had names I would not have chosen. Even the child adopted at 4 month old already responded to his name. We grew to love their names. I would advise keeping his first name and changing his middle name to reflect your choice.

    Accepting your child’s name is accepting your child and his history. Best Wishes !

  2. He’s five. He already has a name and he’s had that name for his whole life. He’s already lost a lot, why take his name away from him as well? His name is one of the few things that has been a constant in his life. You have a say in the rest of his life- his name, though? That’s his. I’d let him keep it.

  3. The social done that to me when I came out of my dads care, it was weird and confused me and I was 13, it will confuse a 5 year old even more.

  4. My thoughts are that it is wrong to change his name. It looks like you’re trying to Anglicize him. Parker? Simon? Harrison? Really?

    The boy has a name already. Too bad for you if it doesn’t “fit” into your family. How about if you change your names to Jose and Juanita so that Miguel “fits” better. Sounds fair to me.

  5. Why on earth would you change a 5 year old’s name?

    He should get to keep the one thing that belongs to him and was given to him by his parents. Everything else in his life has changed, why not just leave this one little tiny thing alone.

  6. I agree with the others, he’s lost everything he’s ever had in life. At least let him keep his name. He’s five. It’s been well established that his name is Miguel. Calling him a different name is only going to confuse him and make him think you don’t like him because of his name. That’s the way kids think, especially when anyone who he’s ever been close to has abandoned him. It’s not a good idea at all.

    And I have to agree that it sounds like you are trying to Anglicize him by giving him a first name like Parker, Simon, or Harrison. I’m assuming by his name that he’s of Hispanic decent. There’s nothing you can do to change that. If you’re that dead set against the name Miguel, you can always refer to him as Mike.

  7. I know I am probably gonna get some bad replies, but I don’t see what the problem is with changing his name. You can change it, but still call him Miguel or maybe shorten it to something that you do like. I really don’t think at 5 that it will matter a whole lot to him. The important thing is that you love him. When I was adopted, my birth name was gwendolyn. I was called cathy by my foster parents and my adoptive parents renamed me patti elizabeth. I turned out just fine. The only problem for miguel is going to be if you cause one.

  8. I think that you are required to do what is in the best interest of the child. A lot of people think it would be horrible to change the name of a 5 year old but I think it is sometimes the right thing to do and it is your decision. I am a foster parent of an infant and if we do adopt her, we may consider pushing her first name to be her middle name or keeping it. It is definitely not a name we would have chosen but it is a pretty name. I would rename a child named something such as Nevaeh for sure regardless of her age unless she really felt strongly about it.

    I don’t think you should change his name just cause you want the ability to pick out a name as if he was a baby but if a different name would suit him better long term, you should do it.

    I wouldn’t change a name for a 5 year old unless I could get him on board. I like Simon best of the names you chose. Parker or Harrison are very much ‘white’ names and if he is black or hispanic may not suit him well.

  9. What about doing the opposite and changing his middle name? You can call him both and move to the middle name after awhile if he likes it. Kids often end up with nicknames anyway – I figured our daughter Shannon’s name didn’t have any nicknames but at school they call her Shemega. Go figure.

  10. he’s 5 so ask him, if hes fine with it i see no problem, i too asked a similar question and got pretty nasty relpies…but it did help me alot bc i can see that alot have been thru getting their name takena way and it hurt them alot obviously, we are adopting a 2 year old and he has his fathers name, the father denies the baby and hasnt seen him since the child was 6 months and said he wants to never know the child and lives in another state, so it huets me and i wanted to change his name for that reason and a few others too, i feel that alot of a mother and fathers joy goes into picking out a name, something many adoptive parents dont get to do, and i had a name picked long ago for a boy bc i knew if i evr got a child itd be a miracle however it came, so the name meaning is gift of god, he is 2 now and weve been calling him by our name and his own to get him ‘used’ to it, the adoption hasnt been finalized yet and we’re still unsure what to do, so my advise is do what ever ur heart says

  11. Ann is completely right.

    It would be wrong to take away such a big part of his history. He’s had it very rough to be in the situation he is in. That name means so much more to him to keep than it ever would for you to change. It may be one of the few things he has left to take with him, from his original family, into adulthood. Even if they are the scum of the earth-they will always mean something to him.

    Please don’t. Our first son was named by his mom. She eventually lost custody but we wouldn’t have dreamt of changing it. Our second was named by his mom too. He was a newborn. And it meant much more to her (and will to him) to have it that way. It’s hard for me to understand being territorial about choosing a name in this situation.

    Leave things the way they are. Please. For him.

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