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Name change for an adopted daughter?

She wanted to name her adopted daughter after her great-grandmother. But the girl had already been named by her birth mother.

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Bonding: What to name a new baby? Some parents prefer family names and others want something unusual. But when an adopted child already has a name, should it be changed?

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Lydia. My beloved great-grandmother bore that name, a name I hoped to bestow upon my little girl. When my husband and I decided to adopt a child through the Department of Human Services, a social worker handed us a thick binder bursting with photos and profiles of adoptable foster children with legal names such as "Peanut," "Lil' Debra," and "Squirrel."

We laughed and shrugged off the bizarre nomenclature. "It doesn't matter what her name is," we told each other. "We'll change it."

Judge Rob Murfitt of New Zealand would probably agree with our decision. Recently, the family court judge declared a 9-year-old a ward of the court so he could change her name.

"The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name," Mr. Murfitt wrote of the girl, who is currently involved in a custody battle. "It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily."

Her name? Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.

New Zealand law doesn't permit names that would offend a child. Murfitt cited other names blocked by the registrar, including "Sex Fruit," "Yeah Detroit," and "Fish and Chips."

When compared to "Number 16 Bus Shelter," a name that the New Zealand registrar actually allowed, the name "Peanut" sounded positively conservative.

Nevertheless, I wanted my Lydia. Then our social worker called and told us we'd been chosen to adopt an 18-month-old girl named Mariah from southern Oregon. "Mariah," I groaned to Jonathan. "It reminds me of that song from the musical, 'Paint Your Wagon.' "

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