Choosing a Name: Naming your child is a complex decision for all parents--and for adoptive parents there may be even more considerations. Tell us about your child's name and how you made this important decision. Did you pick a name you've always liked? Did you name him or her after a family member? Did you ask the birthparents for input? If international, did you "Americanize" the name, or keep the given name as a middle name? If you adopted an older child, did you let the child choose?Notice anything missing?
Like maybe keeping the name the child already has?
Obviously I'd be a big old hypocrite if I said adoptive parents are wrong to rename. I don't think it's as simple as never/always. But I do think the usual discussion about this issue is incredibly lopsided toward our interests. It's awfully telling that this set of questions (a) pretty much assumes the adoptive parents are going to do the naming and (b) cheerfully hands all the authority* to them. ("Did you ask the birthparents for input? ...[D]id you let the child choose?")
This was my response (hey, they asked):
It's odd that the set of "Choosing a Name" questions gives no nod to adoptive parents who opt not to name their children. A child's given name can be a powerful connection to their pre-adoption life and identity. Given the many families who maintain this continuity by not changing names--or who name a child in partnership with the birth parents in open domestic adoptions--I'm surprised this viewpoint wasn't represented. It is often assumed that adoptive parents will change their child's name, but I would hope any AF piece would help us think about naming in adoption in new ways and include a wide range of options.Maybe they'll reprint Dawn's essay on not changing her daughter's name and get everyone all riled up again.
* I'm not talking about the legal authority to name/rename an adopted child; that's never in question. This is about our moral authority to re-name someone, which is much murkier to me, especially in a multi-party situation like adoption.