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Should You Change Your Baby's Name After Adoption?

Adopting or considering adoption? One of the choices you may have to make individually or as a family is whether or not you’ll be keeping their given name or choosing a new one.
changing baby name after adoption
Updated: May 23, 2019

Choosing your child’s name is likely one of the biggest decisions you will ever have to make as a parent, but for those who are adopting, is changing their name your choice to make? 

More: 50 Unique Baby Names You've Never Heard Of

If you are not adopting a newborn who doesn’t already have a given name by their biological parents, it may be a consideration for your family to change their name to something new. However, if your child is already older and aware of their name, it’s a change that you should discuss and make with them.

Here, we’ll break down some of the potential pros and cons of changing your child’s name after adoption:

Pros of Name Change

Cons of Name Change

The new name offers a fresh start for the parent and child

It’s a big change and will take some getting used to, especially from the child

You can give the child a family name

You or the child could regret the choice down the road, or the child could later feel resentful

Protection from potential safety concerns with biological parents

Could be seen as controversial to other parent

However, it doesn’t have to be an entirely black or white choice, there are also ways to incorporate their given name into their new name. One of the most common ways to blend the two is to use their given name as their middle name, or their given middle name as their first name.

Especially for those adopting outside of the United States, it is common to use their native name as a middle name or second name, and legally change their first name upon adoption. Another factor to consider is the meaning of their new or existing name, which can be determined using our baby name meaning tool. You could incorporate their heritage by choosing a name that has meaning in their native language or that is from their heritage.

Ultimately, the choice is a highly personal one and is up to the parent or parents to make, but also the child’s depending on their age.

For more baby name ideas and inspiration, follow FamilyEducation on Pinterest:

Jacqueline Weiss

About Jacqueline

Based in Los Angeles, Jacqueline is a freelance writer and social media strategist. She… Read more

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