Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Name Game - Part Two

Naming a baby can be a complex craft. Naming a child who has been adopted from another culture can be even more complex.

The topic of naming adopted children is raised every few months on various discussion boards, with many schools of thought around this... particularly with regard to China adoptions, where abandoned babies are often named by the orphanage director.

Some people believe that the name is the only thing a child brings with them from their birth culture, so it must be preserved.

Some believe that because the name is given by the orphanage director, often as a required task and not as an act of love or genuine consideration, that it does not hold great meaning or significance, so it shouldn't be kept.

Some believe the child should be given a new Chinese name, picked by the adoptive parents.

Some believe that if a child looks Asian, their name should reflect that.

Some believe that their child is beginning a new life, so they should have a new name.

Some believe that their child is now [insert nationality] and therefore should have a name that reflects that nationality (eg. American, Australian).

Some say that with the identity issues an adopted child goes through, they usually want to fit in with their peers, who have 'regular' names.

Some say that it depends on the age of the child at the time of adoption and whether or not they know their name yet.

It seems (not based on any statistical research, just my own observations) that most children adopted from China are given their first name by the adoptive parents and keep part of their Chinese name as their middle name. Some suggest that this gives the child the option for which name they may choose to use later in life.

There are worthy arguments and reasons for all the above thoughts. I don't think there are any easy answers. I don't even know yet what I believe most or what we will choose to do when it comes to naming our baby. It's an area I'm trying to learn more about.

There's an extremely thought provoking post over at Twice the Rice called Naming, Renaming and Reclaiming. She talks about growing up as a Korean adoptee in America with a name that is obviously not Asian. I'd like to read more from adult adoptees about this topic, reflecting on their own thoughts and experiences. Sure got me pondering...

8 comments:

amy said...

Hi! We are waiting on our LID and I just stumbled on your blog. I have been thinking about this and we have recently been thinking about names! Nice post!

a&mg said...

So many things to think about. I really like the idea of choosing a name that we like, and having her Chinese name as her middle name. Then if she chooses when she's older, she can always go by her middle name.

Susie said...

When you think about your child's future, this is a very difficult thing to do. Would she like an asian name or would she want an American name. Many children feel many ways on this issue...so I feel that it is something you should definitely ponder about it first.

Jeff, Abbey, and Reed Land said...

thanks for visiting Flat Reed. I think you are the furthest distance of anyone who has ever commented!

~*~Sandie~*~ said...

Our plan is to give our daughter an Australian name and keep her Chinese name as her middle name. Then, when she is older I would like her to choose Chinese middle names for the rest of her family.

Michelle said...

This is a topic I recently discussed on my blog as well. It is a tough decision, and like you said, everyone has their own opinion. I am still struggling with the decision I've made as an AP with my dd and the decision I will soon have to make again as a PAP to my ds.

Ray said...

You might be interested in this post I did about how we arrived at Ally's middle name:

http://defreses.blogspot.com/2006/10/du-juan-chinese-supermodel.html

I hope she doesn't hold it against us.

Monica said...

We gave our kids first names that have significance within our own family and then for their middle names gave them a full Chinese name (a Chinese family name that sounds like a name of one of their aunt's and then the given name that they had when they were referred to us). Makes for a REALLY long name...but, my oldest (now almost 12 years old) really likes her name and thinks it is cool that she has such a long name and that none of her friends are ever able to guess her middle name. Her name is Darcy Lin WeiQian C. We also have a Rayna Lin ChunFang C. and a Douglas JenGwo C. (We couldn't give him the "Lin" because of complications with the Taiwanese court system--too long a story to tell here.

None of their names really "flow"...but they don't mind. They just use whatever part of their name they want to use.