“What’s in a Name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
— William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene II
Naming your child is something parents dream about. Collect for their “name toolbox.” Fantasize about. However, choosing a name can be as stressful as it is exciting. Especially when you consider that whatever name you choose will be with them forever. It will become a large part of their identity, which includes all that goes with it.
While it’s impossible to avoid all potential drawbacks with any choose name, there are some factors that you can consider to help you select the best one for your adoptee.
A Name’s Meaning
Despite that Juliet’s argument that a name is just a meaningless label, the meaning of a name does, in fact, carry weight. Immediately following your child’s birth, from the first moment their name is uttered to them, it becomes part of their identity. As they age, its given richness. Deeper purpose. Their personality breathes life into it.
Identity, especially to an adoptee, is monumental. Their name has significant meaning.
Thorough research is highly recommended. It may surprise you what specific names mean, and where they come from. Having a baby book of names is an excellent way to find or eliminate name options. Online sites can be good resources, such as Behind the Name, work as well.
Pronunciation and Spelling
It’s all happened to us at one point or another. Our name has been mispronounced or spelled incorrectly. Sometimes more than once. This can be a clear clue that certain names don’t work as well as others. If you are adopting a child internationally, you may choose to rename them to ease their transition and curb future issues if their birth name is complicated.
To help you decide, consider how you would feel if your name was misspelled or mispronounced. Would you shrug and smile, or would it get under your skin and upset you? Whatever your reaction, imagine if that happened to your child.
Names are selected for a reason, as are the spellings. So be sure to pick something that’s going to be easy to remember and say to save your child any potential for grief or embarrassment.
Every name has meaning and significance.
Nicknames and Initials
Along those same lines, pay attention to any potential nicknames your child may accrue from their name, or how their initials look. Do any unfortunate combinations result? It may be a lot to think about, but it’s definitely something important to keep in mind.
For instance, in 2014, a university accidentally branded a young woman with the filthiest email address in their history. Email addresses were assigned from a student’s last name and using the first two letters of their first name. The young woman’s name was Megan Finger. It was a humiliating experience for her, to say the least, and she never lived it down.
In a world of technology, usernames and internet handles are a standard reality. Workplaces, schools, and social media pages all use them on a regular basis. Try as best as you can, to select a name that may save them from potential incidents.
Nicknames, initials, names — they are all significant.
There are many families who have traditions of passing down names of loved ones. Parents, great-grandparents, extended family members, friends, etc. Often these “nods” are found in someone’s middle name.
For your child’s sake, though, please carefully consider before naming them after a past crush or former relationship. That in of itself is tricky. Both parents would need to agree on a decision like this. If it’s a name that you both like that also happens to be someone from your past, then alright. But, purposefully naming your child after a particular relationship might not be the best option.
Remember to always have your child’s best interest at heart, and know that every name carries meaning and significance.
Trends and Popularity
Ever heard the phrase, “there’s nothing new under the sun”? It’s almost guaranteed that no matter what name you pick for your adoptee, someone has already used it, making originality increasingly more challenging. Despite the endless wealth of sources, many names are known to be more common than others.
Names inspire parents from all avenues. Books, movies, music. Cities. Brands. Virtues or qualities they hope their child will emulate. Fruit. Nature. Some parents even choose to name their children after certain letters, to maintain a particular pattern in the family.
Before making a definitive choice, consult the latest “top baby names of the year” article, and see if your proposed name comes up. If it does, and you’re looking for something a bit more unique, maybe go with a second option.
Remember that trends are temporary. Your child’s name is not. It carries meaning. Significance.
Many variables go into naming your child. Moments of self-doubt, second-guessing and anxiety are sure to pop by multiple times during the process. No name is going to be one-hundred percent free of potential snares, so be sure to go with the one that you feel most confident about. The one that you feel is best for your child. After all, having their ultimate interests at heart is first and foremost.
For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can reached via our website or our phones: 303-670-4673(HOPE).
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc. in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
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