Sunday, August 30, 2009

OA Roundtable #6: Names and 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 have a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table.

I missed the Open Adoption blogger Roundtable #5 for some reason, but no worries I will jump in here for #6. It's about names and naming.

Since we don't know who our child is we obviously don't know how the naming is going to go. But I have had more than one conversation with people who seem concerned about whether or not we will "get" to name the baby. The answer is, quite simply, we're not sure. There are a lot of ways that this naming thing could go. To read more from families who have been through it go check out the post at Production Not Reproduction that links to all of the bloggers who've written on this topic already -you'll see a wide variety of approaches to naming.

We have names picked out. To be honest we've had names picked out since before we were on this particular path. Andrew and I have been noodling about with names since before we were married, probably, considering this one and that one, trying one out for a while and so forth. We've got a girl name and a boy name that we really like. But we're not married to the names. We're open to the possibility that our child's first mother will want to name him or her, or collaborate with us on a name. In fact, that's a prospect that I find sort of exciting.

If you have a hard time understanding this, which more than one person I have talked to has, here's how I think of it. My child will crave connection to his or her first family. That's not a bad thing, it's a good thing. Our child's first mother may want to give her baby something that will stay with him or her forever, like a name. That's also a good thing. I will be with my baby everyday, I will get to sleep and wake with him, see her first steps and comfort her the first time her feelings are hurt. I will get so much. Put in that perspective, the name isn't so important. Or, it is, but it's not so important that it comes from me. Unless that's how it works out. In which case, we're more than ready.


  1. I like the idea of two names. We're adopting a baby from Korea, and we plan on retaining and initially addressing our baby by his/her given/birt Korean name. We will also give our baby a more "American" first name (whatever that is - probably something in the US top 100 list) in case one day he/she would like to be called something more in line with the culture he/she is raised in. I agree it is important for the baby to have that connection to birth parents/culture. In the book "I Wish for You a Beautiful Life," letters from Korean birthmothers to their adopted children, some mothers did talk about agonizing over names and that being the only thing they felt they sent their children into the world with. I'm so glad to hear someone else has put as much thought into this. I can't wait to hear what your baby's name is!

  2. Beth - each post I read from you puts me in awe. I love your whole outlook on this process. I don't think you have any idea how amazing of a mother you are going to be. Your child will be so blessed. I can't wait for you and him/her to meet!

  3. I love the way you said this:

    "Put in that perspective, the name isn't so important. Or, it is, but it's not so important that it comes from me."

    I often hear how important names are - when in reality, I think the author of that sentiment really means that it's important where the name comes from. I think your perspective is an amazing one, and one that I wish more expectant aparents would embrace.

    I can't wait to hear what your child is named - no matter WHAT process it takes to get there!

  4. I agree with thanksgivingmom and you completely. I hope you get to collaborate with your child's first family on his/her name! Good luck!

  5. Your prospective on this is great. Too many AP's rename to claim. I understand the need to do this but as you said it's important where the name comes from and what better place then letting our children know that at least part of their name came from the first mother.

    I hope the first mom that you are matched with is willing to consider names with you.