My husband and I have never taken naming our children lightly. In fact sometimes I think we spent too many excruciating hours that we found ourselves on more than one occasion with babe in arms and no name! Our first was easily named and it carried great meaning and still does, Zachary Louis was named after our beloved grandfathers and maybe because of that, the other eight children’s names needed to be as special and that was not easy to do.
I am happy to say after all these years, we genuinely love our children’s names and as far as I can tell, they do too. In our earlier parenting years, we strived to be unique but not too different, yet some of their names later peaked as some of the more popular names. Jordan for example not only became a popular boy’s name but a girl’s name too. Jared, our third son’s name is spelled various ways by others. Susanna Miriam (is a combination of both birth family and adoptive family names) and Alyssa was named by her birth parents. Our last four children, Eden (I fell in love with it, even though I found it in the “boy section” of a baby name book … I should say we loved more than one name, so Eden Ariella Sarah she became!). Next was Elisheva, a name given to her by her birth parents. Her nickname is “Sheva” which is the Hebrew word for “Seven” as she coincidentally became our seventh child! Then came Yale (a family name on my side of the family, although, Poor Baby, waited one week before mommy and daddy agreed on that one!), and finally Zenobia (because we met someone years earlier with that name and filed it away as “maybe one day!”).
Though some of our children never could find a toothbrush or keychain with their name on it, they seemed to enjoy the story of how their name came to be. They seem proud to introduce their name (and nicknames) to others and have taken on a personality to match their special names!
You may have had a name in mind for your baby for a long time now. Or you may not have allowed yourself time to think about such a thing. Before you start naming your baby, I would like to share a few things with you that I hope you will consider:
- The expectant parents will be the ones to first name the baby. It doesn’t mean that you need to keep the name they give to the baby, however we ask that you sincerely consider keeping the name, or at least in some capacity. You will often find adopted children with two middle names!
- If this is to be an open adoption and you are lucky enough to meet your child’s birth parents during the pregnancy, this is an excellent topic to discuss. Many children have been named together by their birth parents and adoptive parents.
- Your child’s life does not start on the day you take him or her home, but rather it started before you even learned you were matched. It is a beautiful way to preserve your child’s biological heritage by asking the birth family to add to the name of the baby.
- Your last name is always given to the baby!
In 2004, Adoption STAR published a Baby Name Book of all the names our STAR babies were given. It was a beautiful compilation of names and their meanings. Here are some additional tips we shared in the 2004 publication about what to consider before naming your baby:
- Think about the surname. Does the name go well with it?
- Consider what the initials will spell out.
- Family names are great, but if the name is not what you want to call the child, consider using the family name as a middle name, or plan to call the child by the middle name of your choice.
- Children must live with the name for the rest of their lives, so while unique names and spellings are very favorable, consider that the child could always have their name mispronounced or misspelled.
- Consider names that are of ethnic origin. They don’t even have to be your own ethnic origin. Ethnic names are beautiful and unique.
- Choose a name based upon its meaning. Sometimes the meaning of a name can steer you away from it, or draw you closer to it.
- Consider the possible nicknames that could arise from your baby’s name. Do you like the nicknames?
- Say the entire name out loud many times. Does it sound good? Does it rhyme? If so, does the rhyme sound good?
- Consider popularity. Some people are excited to name their child a popular name; others prefer not to know many others with the same name.
- If you are stuck on 2 names, consider combining the two. Do not be reluctant to choose to name your baby with two or even three names. This is a good way to compromise if you and your partner are having a challenging time selecting a name. It is also a special way to include the name the birth mother may have given to the child.
Deciding on a name for your new baby is an exciting and awesome responsibility!