Join Angela, Axel, Abel and Asher as they welcome their new sibling home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On re-naming

 I think I mentioned previously that it starts with a "B". Yesterday we found out our new little guy's name.

A couple people have left comments about names in general and inevitably the subject of why we re-name comes up. I have had comments in the past stating "Their birth name is the only thing they have left that is "theirs", and "Re-naming adds to the trauma of adoption."

We take into consideration several things when we choose to rename our kids. The first thing is where our kids come from. Let me tell you something: There is nothing positive associated with the birth names of  our kids. In many cases, particularly in institutional care, their name was used only when they were being disciplined or abused. In particular, Asher's name was only used when he was being ordered around. There was no affection ever associated with his name. Their birth names have already been associated with trauma. Their new names have only positives associated with them. New start, new life, new name. Both boys knew their new names within a couple of days. In the dog training world there is a game we play to teach dogs their names. I play the same game with my kids when they get their new names. Work's great!

Then there is how the name sounds or looks in print. Axel's birth name is Djordje. It's a beautiful name, however American's butcher it to pieces when they see it, and understandably so. My kids aren't able to speak enough (or at all in the case of Asher) to correct someone who cannot say their name. Asher's birth name, "Lazar" is pronounced similar to "Lah Zer", Because we haven't done a legal name change yet, whenever we're dealing with insurance companies or anyone else that comes across his legal  name, they pronounce it "Laser", as in a beam of light.

Next is our kids ability to pronounce it. We have three kids with significant speech impairments. They need to be able to pronounce their own names. Granted at this point we don't know if Asher will ever talk or even attempt to say his name, but from an articulation perspective, "Asher" is much easier to say than "Lazar". ( Which is why Axel is able to say it. LOL I don't think he'd ever be able to say "Lazar" and there is no way he'd ever be able to pronounce his own birth name.)  Based on all that, we know enough about our new little guy now that he will likely be getting a new name. If I had known this before, Angela would have a very different name because hers is quite difficult for her to say. All my kids have name signs. It's also a safety issue. We have one who cannot write legibly enough for her name to be read and she won't tolerate an ID bracelet (or jewelry of any kid, for that matter.)  and Asher may never write, so they need to be able to SAY or somehow spell their name.

As for "A" names, the jury is out. We weren't going to have another A name the last time, but God pretty much decided for us. (there's a story about how that verse was brought to my attention.) As expected we constantly stumble over the kids' names, but ...well...I have three dogs with very different names and I stumble over them too, so I don't think the problem is with the names. LOL

So..that's where we stand on the re-naming issue. 


  1. I agree, re-naming is good, especially when the first life is nothing but heartache. I like the idea of an "a" name, but I know you guys will feel led to give the best possible name, whatever that happens to be for this lucky child. So happy for your family. Looking forward to following along on this new journey. :o)

  2. In cases such as with your sons. I fully agree with renaming! I'm sure you will find a perfect name for your new son!

  3. What and why you give your kids the names you do is really your choice only. I am an adoptive parent....we kept our daughter's name as her middle name...our choice. Her name when we adopted her was given to her not by her mother, but by the woman who ran the orphanage. The orphanage director was the one who obtained our daughter's first birth certificate. We used her name because we like it, not because it tied her to a "history".

  4. Completely agree...We kept K's birth name as his middle name, because I couldn't take it away from him. But, he has two middle names and will likely never use it. We only heard one or two staff members call him by his first name, and he didn't seem to respond to it (had no reaction when we said it with American accents). Typically, the staff called him a nickname derived from his birth last name when they used a name at all.

  5. We kept Kristina's birth name but she was used to having her name said lovingly to her, and she has often told us that she would have been VERY upset if we had changed it. She had a hard enough time changing from her Russian last name to her new last name. For Katya, her legal name was something different, but they always called her Katya or another dimunitive. She didn't respond at all to her legal name, but clearly knew Katya as her name. We chose to keep Katya for her . . . rather than the name her birth mom had given her. I think it's important to do as you are doing and consider all aspects for YOUR child before making a decision. Hugs!

  6. LAZAR is a Serbian form of THE LAZARUS, the one who rose from dead. Very symbolic meaning, perhaps it should be his middle name.

  7. LOL Woody, it is his middle name. We also kept Axe'ls birth name as his middle name, and our new son's birth name will also remain his middle name if we choose to change it.