Saturday, January 22, 2011

Names: To Change or Not to Change

The purpose of this post is to ask a question.

JD and I are on a quest to better understand the whys or why nots to keeping birth names for adoptive children or changing them.

If you or someone you know have adopted (whether you changed your children's names or not), would you weigh in for us? We'd love some wisdom around this. We've talked about it off and on, but are at a point where we'd like to start getting our heads around the pros and cons to both sides of the issue.



  1. We kept one and changed the other. It just was what worked for us.

  2. This is a huge decision!!! Good to think ahead, but not too far. Depending on how old your kids are and what type of personality God has given them, can determine whether you want to ask them how they feel about their names or changing them. Some don't want to change names, since it is obviously a large part of who they see themselves as and where they have come from. Others see that changing their name can mean leaving behind a life they do not want to be a part of any longer ( Saul to Paul...for an adoptee, someone that now has a family and a new start in America..instead of a boy/girl with no family and maybe tragedy in their past)

    With Hope, we asked a Korean-American friend of ours. He has an "American" first name and traditional Korean middle names. As a kid he said he did not like his middle names, but has as an adult learned to appreciate them. So taking that into account and knowing that we did not want to try to totally clear her slate (so to speak) of her Korean history, we decided to go with Hope JungYoon...JungYoon is the name she had from birth...that she still was when I picked her up. Infact even though we had been looking at her pic and calling her Hope for 3 months before meeting her, to me she was JungYoon-ah for a quite a while after I picked her up. And from time to time, I still wonder if we just should have kept it.

    But now she will have the choice. International Adoptees have very different feelings about their heritage and the circumstances of their adoption. If she wants to use her Korean name she can. Won't hurt my feelings one bit.

    Another idea is to come up with a list of new names together. Some that even sound similar to their current names.

    Good Luck! This is really diffucult.

  3. We've always cared that they have a biblical or family name, as our 3 oldest birthchildren each ended up with Grandmothers middle names. We wanted our others to have that same "blessing". We chose not to change the first names of our 4 American adoptees, but we changed the middle to be about OUR family and each has a family middle name. We knew the lovely name of Suyenish, just would not do for many reasons, including a boy named Su, so we gave Sam and grandfathers name for his first (and it has a biblical meaning, as it talks of praying for the biblical Samuel like we did for our Samuel) and moved his first name to his middle to not totally lose that. We thought our girls' names were beautiful and they were older, so we kept them and gave biblical middle names... from their dedication: Fedila, we’ve given you the middle name Hope because now that you have left a place where there was little hope and where you were being taught of another god, you now have hope, hope for an eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:5 says “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
    Temima, your middle name Ruth was given because Ruth was a woman from a foreign land, worshiping other God’s, but left that life and came to know and love and serve the one and only God that we love. Ruth 1:16 says” …Your people will be my people and your God my God.” This is our prayer for you, that you will know our God and be used by Him.
    And Isaac-he will have the choice as an 11 yr old when he comes, but we hope to make his Kyrgyz name, Emir, his middle name (he will be able to see that we did the same for Sam) and Isaac because, well, we're old like Abraham and Sarah and they laughed and we've laughed and hope to laugh more! Isaac was a great man of faith who endured a great deal, something Isaac has done.

  4. We kept aili's middle name which is what she goes by, and changed her first and last names. She was 7 and her name didn't set her apart like an asian name might. And it was fast and easy to get used to, just like getting married :) I think it could be nice for him to Have an element of his heritage. I pray that you will find the right name!



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