Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Naming an Adopted Child

I've always loved baby names. I doodle them when I'm bored. I think of all kinds of cute matchy-combos for twins. I have a list of possible future baby names and I love my list. Naming my babies is important to me and is something I've had A LOT of time to think about.

Seriously... this is a screenshot from my "baby names" Excel sheet... don't click on it, it's embarrassing. Ha ha.

In adoption, naming the baby can be a touchy subject with some birth moms. Some want to do the naming themselves, or have a lot of input. And I understand that want, because it's their child too. And part of having a child is getting to name him/her.

I also believe that naming your adopted baby can be a chance to honor their birth family. But when it comes down to it, the adoptive parents have the final say in the child's name - because they will be the parents. And this is hard for some birth moms to accept.

Some adoptive parents will say anything that they think an expectant mother wants to hear, including agreeing to a name that she wants. If the adoptive parents hate the name, that's not cool. They are the ones who have to live with it (and the child, of course). If they decide later to name him/her differently than promised, that's not cool either (breaks trust in the open adoption relationship).

We're really specific about what we like in baby names and we like to take input from expectant mothers, but we usually don't agree on the same names at all. In the future, if adopting a second time actually happens, I want to be clear and firm about that. It's important for me to name my babies, so that's just the way it's gonna have to be if we adopt again. And the right birth mother for our family would at least be okay with that, if not totally supportive of the idea.

I think it's important for the adoptive parents to name the baby because it helps with bonding. I like the idea of hearing what she would have named the baby (if she had a name in mind) and thinking of her while we name him/her, but I think it should be the adoptive parents' privilege and responsibility - part of parenting. And with adoption, SO MUCH is out of our control. We should be able to control something so fundamental as naming our own child.

In the future, if we end up being able to adopt a child from foster care (or international adoption), they will (most likely) already be named. I still think we would change their name. It's symbolic of becoming a member of the family. A new life. A new start. A new family. A new name. (In international adoption, most likely a new country and a new language as well.) If they're old enough, I'd make it an exciting thing to get to change their name and hear their input and have them agree on a name first.

With both of the failed adoptions in the last year, we had baby names picked out. Each one felt specific to that baby and that birth mom. But the name we had for Baby Girl we kept to ourselves and didn't share with (hardly) anyone and somehow that helped the name not get tainted by the situation and I think we'll use it whenever we finally do have a daughter. Part of the pain/hurt from each of those failed adoptions was not getting to use the names we wanted, and knowing they are named something differently now. That pain was small compared to these babies not ever knowing us or us not getting to be parents again obviously, but it still hurt.

Maybe that's an "adoptive parent privilege" attitude that I shouldn't have, but I do. Adoption has worn me out... there's so many things we miss out on. I want to be pregnant. I want to experience a pregnancy and the birth of a child without being deathly afraid the entire time that someone could take my baby away from me at the drop of a hat. I want to name my child and not worry about offending a third party.

The loss of control of when to have children, how many children, and how to bring those children into our family is the worst. THE WORST. I don't think the average fertile couple can understand how much that sucks.

I'm ready for fertility treatments again because now I am armed with more information. I know what's wrong with me. I know what's wrong with Zay. I know it will most likely just be a matter of time and money and patience and effort with the right doctor. We've sunk money into adoption that didn't get us anywhere. I want to put that money towards getting pregnant. I need more control.

I didn't feel this way before and that's why we stopped fertility treatments and pursued adoption. But I definitely feel this way now. It's my turn and I'm determined to make it happen.

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