Naming Your Baby: Who Chooses an Adopted Child's Name?

For adoptive parents, naming a child represents an opportunity to accept a new member into their family. It’s a monumental moment that signifies personal preference and unquestionable love. While most prospective parents imagine themselves selecting a name for their adopted child, it is important to understand that birth parents may struggle with having their child’s name changed.

While a birth mother may be relinquishing parental rights, she still holds a deep connection to her child, which makes it harder to accept this change. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the questions you may have over renaming an adopted child and help you embark on a new and exciting journey with the newest member of your family.

Who Names a Baby After Adoption?

When it comes to adoption rights, you might be wondering: can you name an adopted baby? The short answer is yes. Amidst all the concerns, questions, and legal matters surrounding an adoption process, adoptive parents are allowed to change their adopted child’s name. If they wish to keep the child’s original name, they are free to do so. If they wish to change it, they can do that as well. 

When birth mothers voluntarily decide to place their infants in the custody of other adults, they are giving up all of the legal parental rights they have and turning them over to the prospective parents. In every adoption process, there are two birth certificates to be aware of:

  • Original Birth Certificate: This certificate is a government-issued document that contains the baby’s basic birth information. This includes a date of birth, the baby’s given name, the names of their biological parents, and the location of birth. After an adoption process is finalized, the original birth certificate is sealed by the court. Even as adults, adoptees may find it difficult to gain access to their original birth certificates.
  • Amended Birth Certificate: After a child is adopted, an amended birth certificate is issued to the adoptive parents. For the most part, the information listed on the original certificate is included in the amended document. However, an amended certificate reflects the changes associated with adoption. For example, the new document will list the adoptive parents as the child’s legal guardians. If the adoptive guardians proceed with an adoption name change, the amended certificate will reflect this change.

Whether or not the new parents decide to proceed with a name change after adoption is a matter of personal preference.

Why Do Adoptive Parents Choose To Rename Their Children?

Adoptive parents may choose to change their child’s name for several reasons, not the least of which includes the desire to fully integrate the child as a member of their family. For some adoptive families, renaming an adopted child is a symbolic gesture of family continuity. For example, they may wish to pass down the name of a deceased family member or a loved one and ensure that their memories live on through their adopted child. Some adoptive families hold religious beliefs and prefer that their child’s name reflect the values associated with their faith.

Cooperating With Adoptive Parents in Selecting a Name

Understandably, some birth mothers may struggle with the question “Can you name an adopted baby?” Going through an adoption process can be emotionally intense. Even though the child’s parents relinquish their child into the hands of an adoptive family, the connection with that child never ceases. Because of this, they may wish to continue that bond by giving them their name.

One way to avoid any conflicts or tension would be for birth mothers and adoptive families to establish a bond and decide on an adoption name change together. In an open adoption case, this can be beneficial since both families remain in contact. Some solutions include having the adoptive family select the middle name while birth parents select the first name, or vice versa. Other alternatives include compromising on a name that is both meaningful and special for the child.

Contact Texas Adoption Center for Adoption Support

So can you name an adopted baby? The answer is yes. However, while adoptive parents have the final say over changing a child’s name, it is always a good idea to collaborate with a child’s birth parents, especially in open adoptions, so that both families feel honored. 

If you have any post-adoption concerns or questions, Texas Adoption Center is here to help. Our post-adoption services are designed to facilitate child supervision, examine ongoing family adjustment, and provide emotional support.

Get in touch with a specialist and take control of your adoption journey.

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