Open Adoption Roundtable #6: Naming

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table.

Publish your response during the next two weeks–linking back here so we can all find one other–and leave a link to your post in the comments. If you don’t blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

Since the topic has been stirred up a bit and I’ve seen posts popping out here and there:

Write about names/naming and open adoption.

You’re all smart, creative cookies, so I’ll leave the prompt at that. If you want to use a previously written post, just edit it to include a link to the roundtable.


First mom Ginger at Puzzle Pieces: “I was terrified that insisting on the naming issue, or even giving my opinion on the naming issue would chase away the parents I wanted…and so with much regret, I gave that up.”

Adoptive mom Debbie B at Always and Forever Family: “I still get a bit teary eyed when I think about our daughter having both her mother’s middle names. I hope that it will feel like a bond to both of us one day for Isabel.”

Adoptive mom Tracey at Grace Comes by Hearing: “Richard and I had chosen a boy’s name long before Samuel was ever even thought of.”

Adoptive mom M de P at Reservado Para Futura Mamá: “I think back now and part of me wonders whether or not there should be more counseling around naming – for both adoptive parents and first parents….It’s not that I feel she may have felt pressure give us that option, but I just wonder if she had had more time to think about it, talk to someone about it, would she have preferred something else??”

First mom KatjaMichelle at Therapy is Expensive: “Maybe he will grow up and resent that for a few days he had another name. Maybe he will confirm that it was selfish on my part to name him. Maybe he’ll enjoy that for a few days he shared a name with this first father and grandfather. I didn’t know the right thing then, and I don’t know it now.”

Adoptive mom Spyderkl at Evil Mommy: “When I told my sister about School Girl’s original name, her reaction was, ‘My God! You don’t even get to give her a name?’ I’m guessing that would have been mild in comparison to the reaction of…others.”

Adoptive mom Dawn of This Woman’s Work at Anti-Racist Parent: “I wanted our daughter to know that we welcomed her, the child she was before she met us. Changing her name seemed like a symbol of wanting to change her.” (The comments to that post are worth a read, too.)

First mom SJ at From the Mind of a Bmom: “I didn’t want to become attached even more to my child by giving him a name and I justified that stance by saying it wasn’t my child anyway. Now I look back and wish that I had taken a little more interest in the subject so one day I can tell Cory that I participated in giving him his name.”

Prospective adoptive parent A at A+A Adopt a Baby: “Our child’s first mother may want to give her baby something that will stay with him or her forever, like a name.”

Adoptive mom Karen at Clio: “There is really only one thing I can think of to write about this topic: we ran our name ideas by both couples and seriously considered their input.”

Adoptive mom CubanaYogini: “Even though I encouraged D to choose her own name, I have to confess that at the time, I was grateful that she declined.”

First mom Britney at Beauty For Ashes: “Since it would be an open adoption, I started introducing him as C right after birth… at least publicly. In our quiet moments alone, he was Michael.”

Adoptive mom Lavender Luz at Drama 2B Mama: “‘How would you feel,’ Rob tip-toed, ‘if we chose another name? Would you like us to keep “David” in some way?’”

Adoptive mom Chantel: “[I] wanted him 1) to have the name his first mommy chose with love and 2) to be able to go by it any time his chooses as he grows up.”

Adoptive mom Luna at Life From Here: “One thing was clear. We would not discuss names with anyone but K. No one.”

Adoptive mom Meg at Momosapien: “With the reading, learning and understanding we have now, almost 3 years after adopting our daughter, I think we would have made a different choice about naming. I think we would have kept her first name as LaTasha, setting aside our ideas about gender in favor of her first mom’s ideas about race.”

Adoptive mom Okiemunchkinsmom at But, Aren’t You Afraid?: “[B]ecause we had witnessed how much a child in foster care looses we knew that their name is sometimes all they have when they move to a new home, and often the only thing they have left from their first mom/parents. Sometimes it’s the only thing that stays constant in their lives as they move around. We couldn’t take that away…it wasn’t ours to take.”

Adoptee and adoptive mom Andy at Today’s the Day!: “The one thread of information that I had growing up in my own closed adoption was my pre-adoption name. Colleen. It has always been important to me, a small connection to who I may have been.”

Adoptee and first mom Valerie at From Another Mother: “Looking back, I certainly wouldn’t change his name just to suit what I liked and preferred at the time. I think they did try to include us–but in the end, he is their son, and it was their decision to make.” Read also her thoughts on the name her own birth parents gave to her.

Prospective adoptive parent DrSpouse at What Am I?: “I’m not comfortable with the ‘did you give the birth family a say’ question – perhaps it would be more honest to say to a child when they are older ‘your name before was X and your name now is Y’; acknowledging that the birth family did name them (if they did).”

First mom Thanksgivingmom at I Should Really Be Working: “Looking back on this moment, I will be shocked, saddened, and annoyed that I wasn’t even strong enough to ask what my daughter had been named. That I just called her, ‘the baby.’”

First mom Leigh at Sturdy Yet Fragile: “I am not sure if, had I elected a fully open adoption, things would have been different, but participating in the selection of naming my daughter wasn’t offered to me. This doesn’t really bother me, even now, many years later.”

Prospective adoptive parent Jacksmom at Hoping for Another Little One: “A lot of my coworkers and friends have said, ‘Well, it will be your child, you should get to name them.’ For us, it’s just not that simple.”

Adoptive mom Snickie at The Tales of Snickie, Honey, Bear and Puddles: “We really did not have a name chosen at all, until two weeks after the ultrasound we received a frantic phone call. The birth mother had gone into premature labor, they needed to do an emergency cesarean but she was refusing to let them take the baby because she didn’t have a name.”

Prospective adoptive parent Karlinda: “I can’t imagine the two of us, plus the expectant mother, and possible the expectant father, being able to agree on a first name before the nine months are up! They have to have some input into the name though. If this child is to belong to all of us, then their name needs to come from all of us.”

Adoptive mom Jess at The Problem With Hope: “In a long line of compromises and having things be hard building a family, our daughter’s name was easy and magical.”

Prospective adoptive parent Bon at I Can Haz Bebe?: “Since I am not pregnant, and we are adopting, this is one of those things I’ve had to give up and let go of.”

Adoptive mom Cynthia at In the Night Kitchen: “I love too that we got away with this hippie name–we might have caught some slack if we came up with it on our own, but who’s going to front us on that now? Just try, people.”

Adoptive mom Camille at Adventures in Mommyland: “I know in the online adoption world it is not PC to say that anything about adoption was ‘meant to be’. But even when D & I talked about it later we talked about how we felt this charge & sense of… I don’t know.”

First mom Brown at Coming Clean: Confessions of a Secret Birthmom: “She would never know who Ann Jones was, none of us would, since it was the path not taken. Almost like she would have two separate identities in two separate families. The significance of that was not lost on me.”

Adoptive mom Robyn at the open adoption blog: “I’ve known since I was 8 that I’d be having a baby girl named Cassandra one day. If my potential daughter’s potential birthmother hated the name Cassandra, would I change it? No.”

Adoptive mom Tammy at You Just Never Know Where Hope Might Take Ya: “We chose to name our kiddos with three names, one for each of their families… first, Hubby’s, mine.”

Adoptive mom Heather at Production, Not Reproduction: “It never felt like she was trying to take something away from us. It felt like she was asking for something on behalf of Firefly. For continuity, for wholeness in her child’s name. Recognition that this baby would be coming to us with an identity already in place.”


39 thoughts on “Open Adoption Roundtable #6: Naming

  1. i don't have a blog but i'll get involved. we used the name our son's birthmom chose as his first name. we picked two middle names. one we took her name and turned it into a boy's name and the second is a family name from his new family. we call him by his first middle name for now. the one we came up with. but i wanted him 1) to have the name his first mommy chose with love and 2) to be able to go by it any time his chooses as he grows up. we'll see what he thinks as substitute teachers get confused in school…for now he's just 2!

  2. Pingback: Open Adoption Roundtable #6: Naming | Wenrich Family Adoption: Becoming a Family of 4

  3. if they loved HER and not the imaginary baby they thought up while on the beach during their honeymoon they would not have changed her name. her thoroughly thought through name given by someone who already knew her for nine months… one that fit her and her situation perfectly. they would have let her be herself. but in denying her name, in denying her history, they deny her truth and who she is.

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