Newborn portraitMany adoptive families struggle with what to name their adopted baby or child. When adopting a newborn, often times the baby does not have a name given by their birth mother yet. In an open adoption situation, you might consider choosing the name with the birth mother. This allows you to offer the best name that ties the baby’s past with its future.

How do you give your child a name that will relate to their heritage and still be a part of your family? A name is more than just something a person is called. It becomes their identity, so it’s important to choose wisely when picking a new name for your adoptive child, or choosing to keep their original name.

Another idea for families is to use your child’s original name as their middle name. This way, your child will always have the name that was given to them by their birth mother, but they can also have a name given to them by their adoptive family. This type of name selection works well for domestic infant adoptions.

What if we are adopting an older child?

Adoptive parents adopting an older child often find the decision more difficult. Sometimes the child has a given name that is difficult for the adoptive family to pronounce, or the family would like their child to have a name that will assimilate better with the culture he or she is going to be raised in.

If you decide to give an older child a new name, know that it may be hard for them to adjust. Your child might also think that their given name was bad or their culture was bad. To help ease the transition, you might want to use both their new name and their original given name. Then, as your child grows and feels more comfortable within your family, they can decide which name they would prefer.

Naming your child is an important part of making them a member of your family. It is a personal decision that will take time and consideration to determine what is the right choice for your family. Take the necessary time to consider what your child may think about the decision when they get older. As your child grows, offer them the option of going by whatever name they feel most comfortable being called.

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

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