What You Were Born To

I’ve got a confession, a question, and a request.


Before I ever got pregnant or really seriously realized that I could, I had two girl names and two boy names; I wanted to have two kids, probably, you see. I kept tweaking the second boy name, but the others were sure. And then, when I was pregnant with Cricket—knowing that his name would be changed—I didn’t give him any of them. They’re all family names, or at least all have family names in them, and Cricket wasn’t going to be part of our family, so. I gave him a family name after all—his first name is the same as his birthdad’s—and then I picked out an excellent saint for the middle. I’d give that middle name here, but in the end, they kept it. Who knew. Here’s the thing: I didn’t give him the name I would have given a boy I thought of as my son. I feel a bit guilty about that now, but I can’t imagine giving him one of the two only to see it changed and gone.


Which brings me to my question, which is also my request. How have other people done this? If you’re an adoptive parent, do you know whether the name on the OBC is the name your child’s firstparents would have given a child they planned to raise? Did you all pick out a name together? Did you keep whatever name the birthparents chose? None of the above? For other birth/first parents . . . shoot, you can see this one coming. Did you give a name you would have named a child you planned to keep? Did you get to name your child at all? And any adoptees: What do you think about all of this? That one’s also for everyone, I reckon.


I also want to know how bad I should feel, which probably no one but Cricket can tell me. Joey’s name is top to bottom Book ancestral stuff, first, middle, and nick-. It is very not Jewish. I think a little of my guilt on this is tied up irrationally with the fact that when Ruth and Nora were deciding between their top two name picks (and wanted my opinion while I was in labor, I suspect as a tiebreaker) I didn’t like either one, and don’t like their choice still. Of course they still would not have kept his birth name if I had given him one of the “really my child for real” names, and I still wouldn’t like his name now, but I’m not a super logical person.

38 thoughts on “What You Were Born To

  1. My daughter’s name story is actually pretty heartbreaking … She’s the youngest of four, and her two oldest sisters, who also were placed for adoption, had matching names at birth — along the lines of Mei-ru and Mei-lu. The third oldest, who lives with their mom, has a different name — let’s say it’s Yao-ting.

    When our daughter was born, her mom brought her home from the hospital and wanted to name her something like Yao-ling (=matching the name of the daughter she is raising). I don’t know exactly what happened to make her place, but she told me her own mom chose our daughter’s name, which is something like Mei-su (=matching her placed sisters).

    Like I said, I don’t know exactly what happened, but that bit of information makes me think mom and grandma disagreed about the placement, and grandma won. I can’t even imagine what that was like for my daughter’s mom.

    However, all that aside, the name is lovely (implying “tall and beautiful girl”), and her foster family used it, so it was familiar to her by the time we met her (11 mos. old). We kept it as a middle name, and her lifebook explains that her grandmother picked it out (without getting into the rest yet).

  2. When I was still a kid I picked out six kids name, thinking I would have six kids. As I grew older I still really liked those names, and although the older I got the more I thought six kids was unlikely to happen, they still stayed as my favorite names (and possible name for my kids).
    Then I got pregnant with a child I wasn’t planning to parent. After my son was born and I met him, after I had talked to the aparents who said they would keep the first name as his middle name, but give him a new first name, and after I met my son who didn’t fit into any of the three boys names I counted as my favorites, I decided to name him something completely different.
    It’s slightly the opposite of your situation, the name I gave my son is actually steeped in family tradition (I thought it would be a way for him to have a connection to me especially as it would be his middle name) where as my favorite names, well none of them are in any way related to my family.

    The truth is I don’t think you should feel guilty at all. Honestly you gave him a name that still meant something to you. I know how strange it is naming a child who in a few days will have a different name. It doesn’t feel like the name means as much, so I don’t think it’s a cop out to not name that child something that you’ve been holding onto for so long.

    • Sometimes I feel bad about not doing the “meet the baby and see what his name is” thing—I know that Ruth and Nora were big on that, themselves. But of the two children I’ve named so far, I picked the names months before their births, I stuck with the names, and I still like ’em on those kids. I think part of that for me is that I have a sister with an “old lady name,” but I always just associated the name with her—that “what name fits” thing works backwards for me, or something—little Joey will shape for me what “Joeys” are like.

  3. Our children’s birth mother named them and those names appear on the OBC. But she knew we would be naming them, so gave them the nicknames she used when she was pregnant. For instance, our son’s birth name is Texas Storm because there were a lot of storms that summer in Texas and every time it would thunder, he would wake up and start kicking. This is not a name an older child or adult could ever use and be taken seriously. (Unless they were the child of a celebrity, apparently.)

    With both children, we gave her a list of names we were considering and she picked which ones she liked. Those are the names on their new birth certificates.

  4. I can say I have regrets about naming. Here’s how it went for us. we spoke with N. only on one occasion prior to her giving birth to Woob. At that time she volunteered the info that she would not be naming him, that she wanted us to do so. Of course, being kind of selfish and removed from her side of the situation, we were all “yay, us!”. When Woob was Born, she indeed, did not name him. His crib in the nursery was marked “BUFA”–standing for “baby up for adoption” which made my stomach churn. However they could not change the tag until relinquishment papers were signed. His adoption paperwork lists him as “Infant Male (Last name)”. So. We didn’t really know her, though we spent time together in the hospital. We were told that she wanted a closed adoption. We have never seen his OBC, but again assume it says “Infant Male (Last Name)”. His first name given by us was my mother’s maiden name. His middle name is for a few reasons–both Biblical and after my hubby’s brother, who is since deceased and who loved Woob and us ever so much.” And of course he has our last name. I have to admit that I felt a little guilty giving him our family names, knowing that was OUR history, not his, but still love his names and what they stand for. Where my regret falls is that, not knowing that our relationship would someday be so familiar and freindly and well, daily…not knowing how much we really do believe that family history is so important…we could so easily have given him another name to reflect her family. Her last name is a common male name and would fit so easily with his others, but alas, it was some time before I thought of that. Well after his first year, I bet, though I can’t remember. Certainly if he ever wants to add it, I’ll be all for it. I don’t know how she feels about hsi name, really…we’ve never discussed it. I do wonder if she regrets not naming him.

  5. We have three stories and they are from my (adoptive mom) perspective. However, we adopted from foster care so our children’s moms named the children expecting to parent.

    Our son was easy. We loved the name his mom gave him, at fifteen months he knew and answered to it, so we kept it. However we did change his middle name to one that was connected to our family history.

    Our daughter was more complicated. Both my wife and I have names that are almost always misspelled. We are both tired of that. As a result we both wanted nice, simple, common and EASY TO SPELL names for our kids.

    We didn’t like our daughters name for a variety of reasons, and she was placed with us at 12 months, so we figured we would be able to change it. However, then her placement became uncertain and the uncertainty lasted until she was three. At that point it was too late- she knew her name and everyone knew her with it. So we kept it, but again changed her middle name. We also changed the spelling because, frankly, it was misspelled (like saying my name is Kathy, but spelling it Katie). Her name has grown on us, and lots of people like how unique it is. We gave her the name we’d chosen as a middle name.

    Her mom is very angry that we changed the spelling of her first name and changed the middle name. (And here is where I get petty although I try very hard not to. The name her mom is so upset we changed is not actually the name listed on her birth certificate.)

    Then there was our daughter’s brother. He came to us from the hospital and we didn’t like his name either (It was like the song A Boy Named Sue). So we gave him a nickname based on his actual name. After a bit over a year, he was reunited with his mom and obviously she used his full original name. Now he is in foster care with a paternal relative and he has another new nickname.

    • Hmm, the story you’re telling about your daughter’s name is somewhat similar to what we’re going through with our foster daughter, who was called by a nickname in her previous foster home and whose birth certificate name doesn’t quite match the full name that was most commonly used for her. We’re going with the full name as we were first told it rather than the birth certificate version and know from records the social worker has that her mom used both versions, but I really do wish I knew her mother’s thought process there.

      • We haven’t been Abe to have very productive chats on this topic with our daughter’s mom, but we do now how she chose the first and middle name and what she thought the middle name was. Our daughter (5) knows all this and if she wants to use any different names at any point, or even change them, it will be fine.

  6. i’m an adoptive parent. we kept the full name that our son’s mama gave him when he was born and added a second middle of our choosing, along with my last name. so his name is [birth first][birth middle][“our” middle][my last][his first mama’s last]. we had never really thought about keeping his name but after we met him and his mama, we couldn’t do anything else. we realized we weren’t just adopting a baby, we were adopting a specific little person, with a specific name. (we kept his first mama’s last both because we wanted her name in there — he’s of her family as well as ours after all — and because he’s a different ethnicity than us, and i thought that it might help him to have at least one last name that matched his ethnicity, especially if he wanted to avoid revealing himself as adopted in circumstances when we aren’t around.) he downside, of course, is that he ended up with the world’s longest name, but he’s free to keep or drop or go by any or all parts of it, as he gets older; i love all his names and will love whatever he chooses. for now, we call him a nickname based on “our” middle name for him, because that short little nickname fits him perfectly right now, in his current crazy toddler form.

    • That sounds like the world’s best reason for the world’s longest name! 😉 Little Joey’s name is sort of long and heavy for a tiny child as well, which is part of why we’re so nickname-happy.

  7. I know you probably know this because I’ve written it but Madison has the name Pennie gave her. I don’t know if it’s the same name she would have given a child she planned on parenting because she came up with the name after she decided to make an adoption plan. She found Madison’s first name on a top ten baby name list, which I remember because she said to me, “You can find a lot of great names on those top baby name lists!” Madison’s middle name is Pennie’s brother’s first name (and Pennie’s dad’s first name but Pennie named her after her brother).

    We happen to have Madison’s OBC because it was sent to us by mistake and Madison’s name is exactly the same on her modified one because we kept her first and middle names and Pennie listed Brett’s last name (the kids use Brett’s last name) as the last name on the hospital forms and on the OBC.

    Names are complicated. Frankly I was hoping for something a little less common since Noah’s name surged in popularity a couple of years after he was born, which was annoying but it wasn’t THAT important to me.

    We would have likely discussed changing a name under two circumstances: 1) Brett’s last name is a fairly common first name. Think Heather Heather. So yeah, that would have been a good reason to change it. 2) Brett’s last name also has a strong SH sound, (which is why Noah didn’t get named Asher after my grandfather!) so if there had been a very strong SH sound, we would have talked that over with our kid’s first mom, too. Fortunately neither of those two deal breakers came in to play so we were able to just keep Madison’s name.

    I’m hoping some adult adoptees weigh in on this. I am very interested in the topic of naming.

    • I did remember Madison’s story and have it in mind while I was writing—I’m a little jealous, honestly, of Pennie on this one.

  8. D and I discussed names briefly before J was born. We only spoke the one time before we met in person in the hospital the day after J was born, but including a name she chose was important to me so I asked her if she’d had any names in mind and she told me what her “girl name” was (she has boys who she is parenting) and also told me a boy name that is used a lot in her family. We had names picked out already – family names from both of our families – and I liked that she gave me a boy name that was a family name for her because I thought it would be cool for the baby to have one name each from all of our families.

    Her “girl name” actually gave me a lot of trouble – the first name was the name of a very dear friend of mine & has long been my “second” girl name (that is, if I ever had two daughters, it was the name I wanted to use for my second daughter), and so when she told me what it was I thought, “Oh, wow – if the baby is a girl we should name her that” – because really, how often do you hear that everyone loves the same name & an adopted child has the name his or her first mother would have chosen had she parented. But then I thought – I can’t take that name from her. She is my age & I thought it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility that she might have a daughter she parented in the future, and if we used that name for J, then her placed daughter would have the name she’d always wanted for a daughter and her potential future parented daughter wouldn’t, and that didn’t seem fair.

    In the end, we used the middle name from D’s “girl name” as one of J’s middle names – it is also a name taken from someone in her family, so it seemed to “go” with the theme we had with the names we had chosen – and left the first name for her to use. In hindsight…I wish we had talked about it more. Knowing now that she didn’t plan to have any more children, I wonder whether she would have liked Julia to have the name she would have chosen. But I was so awkward about everything then, I just didn’t know how to find out.

    As far as their OBCs go…I think J’s OBC has the names we chose for her – that is, her name as it is now, but with her first mother’s last name – because the nurses asked us as we were leaving the hospital to write down her full name for them. (And later on, when we hadn’t received her ABC almost a year after her adoption was finalized, when I gave the clerk that name she was able to pull up the OBC info & help me out, so I must have had it correct.) So I think D told them to use that name on the OBC rather than putting the name she would have chosen. I’m not sure about A’s OBC; since we didn’t know anything until after he was born, all our communication about him before we saw D in hospital was through the social workers. Our caseworker told us D had names she wanted us to consider for a middle name, and we chose one of those. When we got to the hospital the first thing D and her caseworker said was, “What is his name???” because they didn’t know yet. So I think she may have put the names she chose on his OBC, but I’m not sure.

    • Those conversations about naming while you’re matched can be so awkward; I was grateful that most of ours were by email, so that I could try to disguise my awkwardness. So hard to communicate clearly when everything seems so potentially fraught.

  9. Our son’s birth mother did not give any input for a name. She totally left that in our hands. When I asked what she thought about my using her last name as his middle name, she really had no response. In the end, we did not and given how little she seems to want to stay involved/updated with him, I am glad we did not.

    I do wonder though what she thinks of the name we chose for him.

  10. You’re right about Cricket being the only one able to tell you how he feels about it down the line. I get that he didn’t feel like your son, and he will, most likely, understand that, too. Whether it’s hurtful to him or not, only he can say.

    I think it’s great you named him ANYTHING. I am glad that R&N kept the saint’s name you gave him, as well.

    My OBC says “Baby Girl” because my own first mom didn’t feel connected to me or that I belonged to her. When I asked her recently if she’d held me or named me, she said that she hadn’t. She was told that all of that was the responsibility of my aparents. That hurt rather a lot because in her family, the names are held tight and recycled through the generations. There aren’t even all that many girls. I was the only granddaughter and only girl cousin for a long ways out on the family tree. But I don’t exist to them, and never was a Newman, even though I have Newman blood in my veins.

    But so many friends of mine who are my age have meaningful names on their OBCs–at least according to their mothers–and I think that’s a wonderful thing. It’s one of those small details that shows we did matter to our first families, at least a little bit.

    I am sorry that you feel guilty, but I want to tell you that I believe you did the best you could with what you had at the time. As you said, only Cricket can absolve you, but this adoptee thinks you are doing a great job of being honest and trying to build a future nonetheless.

    • My situation was a bit different because my mother believed she was going to parent me for the first 8 months or so of her pregnancy. The name she chose is very unlike the names she chose for the children she kept but I think that has a lot to do with her state of mind and it being the 1970s.

      Honestly, the whole conversation about naming is so triggering to me, I have kind of a name fixation, if that would be there without adoption is quite possible.

      My advice in re: Cricket would be just never tell him what your thought process was. People like to be really honest with adoptees some times, in an unprotective way they wouldn’t be with children they keep. When I became pregnant with my son, I was terrified. He doesn’t know that, he doesn’t need to. I tell him how much I loved him instead, which is also true.

      • Excellent point, Joy. There is no need to share every thought process or feeling with children. I doubt that Susie would recount in detail the joys the babymaking sex it took to make Joey *to* Joey, nor is it necessary to tell Cricket he was very unwanted in utero and placed as a result, nor that it was not expedient to “waste” a family name on a placed child.

        Adoptees do, IMO, tend to be burdened with the weight of adult thoughts and decisions more than kept children, who get to be just kids.

    • While I feel as though I can understand why a woman placing her child wouldn’t name that child—“Maybe I can not attach at all and then this won’t be so hard”—it makes me terribly sad. It was my birth day present to him.

  11. We kept our sons first name that his bmom gave him because we thought it suited him (he was already born and was in foster care prior to placement). So when we saw his picture at a match meeting we knew his name suited him. We did change his middle name to the name we had initially chosen for favorite name. I wish though I would have added another middle name of John as its my husbands name and also a way to honor our bmom father’s name that passed away shortly after our DS was born.

  12. While waiting we had been very careful not to talk or think about names for the child we would one day adopt. We didn’t want to get too attached to a name and then be matched with an expectant mom who felt strongly about naming. I so desperately wanted to name my child, but also felt strongly that I wouldn’t change a name if the child had already been given one.

    Our son was a last minute placement and his mom had already checked out of the hospital by the time we got there. We had no idea what her thoughts on the subject were. All of his original documents list – “Male Child (last name)” . We frantically (among other things) came up with a short list of names within those first few days and ultimately settled on a first name that we both liked. Again, we tried not to get too attached to it until we had talked to her, she signed papers, etc – drove our families crazy.

    We met his first mom when he was 5 days old and asked her if she had any thoughts about names, if she was ok with the first name we picked, if she wanted to give him a middle name, etc, etc. She said she would think about it. We waited for 5 months before finally “officially” giving him a middle name that we picked.

    Our son is a different race than we are and we STRUGGLED with giving him a name that reflected his heritage. His ethnic background is VERY mixed and we couldn’t really figure out how his first mom identifies culturally (and we’ve never met his first father and know absolutely nothing about him). The few conversations we’ve had with her it seems she is simply – american suburban kid, so our choosing a culturally specific name seemed insincere, or rather some white person’s view of what it means to be x race. Ultimately, he is a mexican-chinese-portuguese-german little boy with a very white name and an irish last name.

  13. L’s story is interesting/crazy. Mom (40 years old at the time) hid her pregnancy from everyone, including her three teen kids. She ended up giving birth at home, and having not made a plan (she says 90% denial, 10% oh shit I am having a baby) stayed right there for a couple of days (her kids were away), then brought her in secret to the closest hospital, with the intention of using safe haven. The hospital called authorities- horrible and bad long story. My agency became involved, our daughter was placed in interim care with them while mom received counseling and help deciding what to do. The hospital refused to issue a BC because she refused initially to submit to a DNA test. By the time she did so, she had chosen us to parent. She had been calling baby R, but was open to a different name. We made R her middle name and discussed our chosen first name, which she loved. It was not until finalization a year later that I found out that when she did finally fill out the OBC, she used our chosen name. We also saw that there was another name that was listed on hospital paperwork- B. I asked bmom about it and she said she hated it, she is not sure why she said that name. I just came to learn her birthfather’s name after 2.5 years, and I see the B. name is a derivative of his last name. That makes me sad, having not incorporated it in any way. While our last names are similar- hubby and bmom are the same ethnicity- I now wish I had kept both her birth last name and ours. I am still waitig for bmom to give me a copy of that OBC, I desperately want dd to have it.

    • We are lucky in that Ruth and Nora have a copy of the OBC, as do I. I still pull it out and look at it occasionally, weird as that sounds.

  14. The middle name I gave the tiny human is thoroughly ridiculous, and was something I had always joked about doing (or pretended to joke about – really I was deadly serious). My parents thought it was the dumbest thing ever, but at one point when we were discussing it they said, “Fuck it, just get it out of your system now. It’s not going to matter.”

    I dunno how to feel about that, really.

    But I never had names picked out. I never thought about what I would name any child I would have – childbirth and child rearing seemed LIFETIMES away to me before I got pregnant. But I like the name I gave him – it’s a product of much discussion and it has its meanings to both me and MP. Plus, they kept it as a middle name, which I think is very sweet.

  15. My husband and I had a short list of possible names for boys and girls and when we were chosen our daughter’s birthmother was just about to go into labor with her. On the plane we knew that it was likely that this baby was bi-racial (African American/Caucasian) and that the names on our short list were really whitey-white. So we started a conversation (and a google search) that lasted a couple of days after we arrived to find a name that was more suitable for a mixed race girl (and eventually woman).

    Our daughter’s adoption counselor (not the one from our agency–but that’s a longer story) told us that she had told our daughter’s mother that she shouldn’t pick a name because that would make it harder for her to let go. We told the counselor that we welcomed a relationship between our daughter and her first/birthmother and that it was completely her right and find by us for her to name her whatever she liked, and that we would like to talk together with her to choose an adopted name.

    Her birthmother did decide to name her a name that she chose herself and I’m glad she decided to do that. I don’t know whether it’s a name she would have chosen if she were parenting. We told her the name we liked and she said she loved it. We also said that we’d like to have some part in choosing a name and for her to have a part too. Her bmother said she would like her to keep her original middle name because that’s her (bmom’s) middle and the name of her grandmother. So we chose her first name, bmom’s middle, and her last name is a combination (no hyphen) of my last name and my husband’s last name. Her OBC has her full birth name on it.

  16. I think it’s great that Cricket has a middle name you picked out for him, in honor of a saint, and that you gave him Mr. Book’s first name (still special, still a family name). My husband doesn’t have a middle name, and he’s pretty indifferent towards them. My FIL seems more vested in names. By way of example: when his nephew was born, he asked/persuaded his younger sister and her husband to give their son a different name than the one that they had originally selected, in order for the cousins to have very similar, rhyming names. Fun times in store. 😉

  17. We discussed names with the bmom beforehand & because this was our fourth child (but first — & only ) adopted, we had a tradition of dad’s last name (easier–given that you know mine!) & a middle name from the maternal side (mine in the case of the three i gave birth to, bmom’s in the case of this fourth baby). For first names, we had two & asked bmom whether she liked either name. She liked what was our probable favorite so that seemed to work out well. She hadn’t planned on having children & did tell me one possible name, which is lovely. It is one that I’d considered in theory but my husband felt differently, & really the other piece was that the name we used his father (who died before our second two children arrived) loved the name. Saskia suits her perfectly — her bmom & family agree on that point & the name on her OBC is the same. Bmom put the last name she was getting. That felt like a gift to the child’s wholeness but all these stories above are such a patchwork that whole isn’t exactly it. I think more now that her name is lovingly stitched together.

  18. Our son was adopted as a toddler, so already had a name. His first name wasn’t a name I would ever have chosen. I don’t like its meaning at all. I don’t like how common it is or that it doesn’t fit with the names of our other children. But it was his name, so we figured we should keep it both to minimize his confusion and out of respect for it and for his mom’s wishes.

    After bringing him home, we learned from his records that he had never even been called by that name, but by a nickname loosely derived from his middle name (an even worse and more doomsday-related Biblical name). That nickname violated my #1 naming rule–it began with a certain letter that I hate– so there was no way I was going to use it.

    In the end, we gave him a new middle name, which “matches” the other names in our family, so he has that commonality with the other kids, but we kept and have always called him by the first name his birth mom gave him.

    I don’t know if it is the same name she’d have given to a child she planned to raise, but it matches in theme and in ubiquity the name she gave to the child she is raising, so it seems possible.

    Names are very important to me, which I guess ironically is why both 1) I thought he should be allowed to keep his name and 2) it bugs me literally every day that he has the name he has, which I still don’t like, and which actually doesn’t seem very “him”, either.

    I’ve heard plenty of parents who adopted from foster care say things like “Oh, sure, when we brought him home we thought Cecil/Jihad/Elvis was a crazy name, but now we love it–it’s just so HIM” and I would have thought that by now –five years later–his name would have grown on me, but no. It has not. It doesn’t seem like him. It doesn’t seem like me. It just seems random.

  19. We changed MG’s name. We had already discussed with L what first name we wanted and why (deceased family members). It actually incorporates L’s name into it, which we all thought was a weird co-incidence but for me, it solidified our choice. When MG was born, the hospital had her foot prints done and at the bottom margin, was the name L gave her. They left the form blank for us to fill in the name we had chosen and MG’s bracelet simply said “baby girl” (last name)
    While it’s conjecture on my part, I don’t think it’s a name that would have been given if she was to parent. Why? Because she had a first name, 2 middle names and 2 last names. I think that L figured this was her only chance to name a girl and the last chance to name a child and used every name she ever loved. MG’s first name also incorporated the nickname L used for her during her pregnancy, based on her love of cats.
    To be honest, we had a match so quickly into the process that we were very uneducated and it never dawned on us not to name the baby. We did discuss it though and tried multiple variations but nothing felt right. Sadly, we had our hearts set on this particular name, which means “dream” in Gaelic. Luckily, I did get the OBC and copied it before we had to hand it over.

  20. I think naming is such a big topic in adoption: interesting to read all the different responses. DS’s bmom didn’t offer any suggestions, although we asked. Weirdly – if you knew my DH – he’d picked out a name for a boy years ago. It isn’t one I’d’ve picked but he felt strongly about it. I’m not sure how DS’s bmom feels about it, although it’s of an ethnic extraction that she identifies with, so i like that. We had picked 2 names and then I mentioned to DH that some adoptive families put the birth-mom’s last name as a middle name. I thought he’d think it was silly but he liked the idea. Her last name didn’t work to us as a middle name, but the male version of her own middle name worked beautifully with his first names, as well as being a link to her, which I really like.

  21. we chose our daughter’s name together, but her birthmom never actually suggested any names. we spoke about names ONLY with her and no one else. she raised the issue with us. we did not want to plan so far ahead, in case, well you know. but she kept pressing, saying ‘this baby is going to need a name, SOON!”

    we decided early on the middle names, because we wanted to honor her and ensure that she liked the name/s we had in mind. it was the first name that stumped us. so she was our sounding board. she told us what she liked and didn’t like. she helped us narrow it down to a few.

    we all wanted to meet the baby first before deciding. in the end, we named her together about an hour after she was born. after we agreed, it was like, OF COURSE that’s her name! so we went downstairs and told the midwives while they were eating breakfast, and they started to cry. it was so sweet.

    her OBC has the full name that we all agreed on, plus her birthmom’s last name. we have an original and a copy for her. we even have a photo of baby J at 10 days old sitting in front of the county clerk’s office, from the day K and I took her so K could sign the application.

    interesting thing though. in K’s family, the firstborn daughters (including her and her mom) get a special middle name. so we talked about that. like what happens then? she and her mom were adamant that she would have to save the name for her (next) first (parented) daughter, even though she would get TWO middle names because she doesn’t like the family name.

    such a fascinating topic. I remember rambling on about it on the OAR last year: http://lifefromhere.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/open-adoption-roundtable-naming/

  22. M’s birth mom didn’t name him at all and initially wanted a closed adoption — we met M when he was a few days old and his birth mom had already checked out of the hospital. So, we ended up naming him with no input from her. It has always made me sad that she didn’t name him and that he was “baby boy” for his first few days of life. (Actually, it made one of the nursery nurses sad, too, so she gave him a name which was displayed on his crib while he was in the hopsital. So, for a few days he was alternately called “baby baby” and “Michael” which is not what we named him!) I think the name we gave him suits him well, but now that our adoption has opened I am positive that it is not a name his birth mom would ever have chosen for him. I would have liked to have told M that his birth mom gave him a name and why that name meant something to her.

  23. As soon as our son’s birth mom officially asked us to start proceedings (ours was a designated adoption), she asked us if we had any names in mind. Though not due for three more months, we knew he was a boy, so I threw out the boy name I had really wanted for my older son. Hubby had gotten really attached to a different name, so I had let him choose, and even though I love my older son’s name, I always secretly regretted not using my favorite. She loved it, much to my relief, so it was an easy pick. His first name is a biblical name and his middle name was my mother’s (now deceased) maiden name. In the hospital, it didn’t occur to any of us that she should name him. His bracelet said “baby boy K”, but we all called him by his chosen name, knowing that it would be official soon.

  24. Pingback: schwa « Mother Issues

  25. Susie – I ended up asking L why she chose the name she did. It explains the two last names (the reason is really touching) and I’ve made a note for MG in her baby book so she’ll know too. Thank you.

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