Saturday, August 22, 2009

Naming your New Child!

If you are adopting an infant or an older child- naming your child is very important. For us it is part of the early bonding that happens between parents and children- whether our child is in the womb or on the other side of the world. It is part of the suspense as we wait to meet them. It help us to begin to bond with them even before we have met them. As parents we dream about our children - what they will be like, their interests, their sense of humor, things they may fear and what will make them happy. We may have a picture of them that we think gives us a little insight into who they are and what we think their name should be. We say the name over and over in our heads and then at some brave point we may utter it out loud and share it with others. When I share the name that we have decided on with others I like to be to a point that whatever reaction I get it will not change our minds because we know that name and that child belong together.

For us naming our child is a very important part of the bonding process and we always have so much fun with it! We will say an idea and then later go back to it and try a couple middle names with it along with our child's Chinese name. It feels so good when we can say "that's it"!

It is easy to name a younger child in adoption situation BUT an older child is a different story. They have a name and an identity attached to it. They are already losing so much of their past it is debatable whether taking away their name is even a good idea. 

When we went to China for Sarah we went with a name picked out but we were prepared to continue to call her by her Chinese name. After having Sarah with us for only a day our guide had a conversation with her regarding what her american name would be ( we did not start this conversation)- she was eager to hear it and then wanted to be called by it for the rest of our time in China. We ended up calling her by both names Sarah Ming Ming- so that she could get used to it and to give her the opportunity to change her mind. There have been a couple times while home that she has asked us to call her by her Chinese name and we do but then slowly everyone forgets and we call her Sarah again and she is once again happy with her new name.

We have found that many older children that are adopted from China like to have an American name. They want to fit in and this helps them to fit in.
We like to keep their Chinese name as part of their new name- if they someday feel it is too long they can choose to drop their middle name or their Chinese name or be called by their Chinese name- it is their choice.
If any of our children have strong feelings about their name we would do whatever necessary to help them- such as let them choose. We would never want this to be an issue or an obstacle in their attachment or adjustment into their new life. 

As we prepare to adopt 2 new girls from China we have once again played the name game and enjoyed every minute of it! Our daughters names will be-
Emma Joy Fuyuan and Ella Mei Fuquan. This will be the third time these girls will have been "renamed"- we will again play it by ear. I hope that maybe someday they will be able to recall their original names. What precious girls they are and we are so excited to bring them home!

Since the process is going at a snails pace I will share with you every teeny tiny itty bitty step in the right direction! We have heard from USC*S they have received our paperwork and they will be sending us the date of our fingerprint appt! Yippee Jesus!! Our LOI has been translated and is ready to go as soon as we have C*S approval.

Our daughters at home are named Sarah Grace Jiangming and Anna Violet Leyi. Sarah is after my favorite relative, Grace is for the grace of God, Anna (Ann) is my middle name and Violet is Jim's Mother's name. Emma is a favorite name for all our children and Joy is the joy of our Lord, Ella is my grandmothers name and Mei means little sister in Chinese. 

Choosing a name for your newly adopted child or choosing to stay with their chinese name is a choice each family needs to make. Their is no right or wrong answer. Each family has to decide based on their child's reaction and adjustment.. Because we feel strongly about it- it may influence how are children feel since most children like to please their parents. Our two children at home seem happy and content with their names and who they are. It will be interesting adopting 2 siblings- will it be hard for them to call each other their new names?



Chris said...

Do you have your PA already?
How old are your girls? I probably read it already, but I can't remember.
It will be quite a journey, but exciting

Pam said...

I love all the names you have chosen. Beautiful!

David and Sarah said...

Your girls will certainly know the love that has gone into the choosing of their names. They are beautiful names!

We called Grace by her Chinese name (Xiao Li) for about 6 months. I thought that we'd just keep her Chinese name, since she seemed to respond better to it. Then, one day, she told everyone that she was "Grace". She has wanted to be called Grace ever since. God definitely gave us that name for her, so I was glad that she became so attached to her name (although I love her Chinese name, as well, and we still call her Xiao or Xiao Li sometimes).


Sue said...

You write so beautifully and so true. It gives me things to think about and makes me understand things that seems so complicated to explain. Thanks for being such a great friend

Sally- That Girl! said...


Boy this can be a hot topic. I have had people get mad at me telling me we have no right to change our children's names. I say in reply, do I want to tell my child that they were named by a social worker who didn't even know him/her at the time of naming and just came up with something or do I want my children to hear the story of how we chose their names just like our biological children?

I agree it is up to every family to make their own decision on whether to use their given name or their new american name or both.

When we took a parenting class for one of the adoptions, we were told that naming a child is one of the gifts that we can give our children like we did our biological kids. When I think of it as a gift to them, it makes me glad that we chose their names!

a Tonggu Momma said...

I used to feel very nervous about this topic, but I think you hit the nail on the head - the key to this is flexibility. I love our Tongginator's name. And I am happy we chose it for her.