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Adoption baby name tips: Birth name dilemmas and more


SheKnows writer and editor Laura Willard (pictured below with her adorable family) picked baby names that were meaningful to her family, but also maintained a connection to her children’s birth countries.

Laura Willard and family

“When we were adopting and choosing names for our children, we wanted to retain connections to their birth countries with their names while at the same time giving them names that had additional meaning to our family,” she said. “We kept my son’s middle name he was given by the orphanage and for my daughter, who was only given one name, we used that as her middle name. We also gave them each a family middle name! Right now, they love that they have longer and ‘special’ names. If they decide they want to flip their names when they are older and use their original names as their legal first names, my husband and I will happily help them do that. We are so proud of where they were born, and we want them to know that and have the same pride.”

Should I give my child a popular American baby name?

If you adopted your child from another country, many parents consider giving him or her a popular American name or a traditional family name, as Manewith did, to help your child fit into this new culture. By giving your child several names, such as a family name as their first name and birth name as their middle name, it will help them feel connected both to the present and the past.

Randolph says she went about her baby name search keeping these important thoughts in mind:

“Culture is important to my family, and I want my child to feel included in that, so I want to give him a name that will connect him to the culture of my family. In the same way, I do not want to strip him of his birth culture, so the new name will only be an addition. I am prepared that at different points in my child’s development, he may want to be called by different names. That is OK. I want him to be able to choose his own identity. At times he may identify with my family, and at times he may prefer to identify with his biological family and his first culture.”

Consider family naming traditions

If your other children have names that follow a certain baby name theme, such as all destination names like London and Austin, or all start with the same letter, you should consider carrying this baby name tradition on to your child you are welcoming into your home.

“If everyone else in the family has a name that starts with J, not having a name that starts with J may make a child feel too different from his or her new family,” says Randolph.

Last Note

“Naming humans is tough, and it comes with a lot of pressure,” says Randolph. “Adoption seems to add several layers to this important decision, but each parent must make the best choice that they can for their child and family, often with little information about the child joining their family.”

More on baby name tips

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