What's In A Name?
Adoptive children enter our families, even as babies, with loss. Adjustments may go swimmingly, attachments and bonding may thrive, but the original loss for adoptive children can not be denied.
Consider international adoption. A child loses not only their birth family, but the sights, sounds and smells of their culture. Their language, in many cases, changes. In some cases, their birthdate is unknown--or changed to reflect a more "adoptable" child. Last, but definitely not least, their name--for any number of reasons--may be changed.
As for our children's names, Hannah is her Ethiopian name. Baby T and Baby Girl's first names were given by us, but we kept their Ethiopian names as their middle names. That way, they have their *first* names as a part of their name, but growing up in the US, have a name that is more Americanized. When they get older, we'll call them whichever one they prefer---even if that changes. I have a couple of non-adopted relatives who did that with their names for various reasons. Some Ethiopian names translate easily to English (obviously Helen or Hannah or Samuel, etc...but some do not. There are others Eyob=Job or Eremaus=Jeremy or Yosef=Joseph, etc...that people keep the Ethiopian spelling but make the accent more Americanized--or change the spelling entirely.) We also felt strongly about not changing Hannah's name because she was older and we wanted to allow her to feel as though the few things she was bringing from Ethiopia would remain unchanged. But I know of people (even in ) who changed the name of an older child with no adverse reactions. Usually, the child had a say in the new name, which I would imagine helped.
Any other adoptive parents out there who would like to weigh in on this issue? Any adopted children who might share their perspective?