What’s in a name?

When J and I got married, I thought seriously about keeping my maiden name. I decided not to, for a few reasons which I don’t really want to discuss here. But the point is, that I know what it’s like to be attached to a name and to give it up.

Still. it’s different for my kids of course. When the adoption was finalized last year, we changed their last names to ours. Unlike me, they really didn’t have a choice about it. And, BE made it clear that she was not happy. She kept referring to herself by her original last name and told me she didn’t want our name. I wasn’t offended, because I didn’t see it as a rejection. I explained that we did it because usually family members have the same last name, and we wanted everyone to know that we are a family.

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard BE complain about this issue. Although I don’t think she’ll be mortally wounded by this, sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t have kept their last name as a sort of second middle name. I’d really like to do as much as I can to keep them connected with their biological identities. And, families aren’t  like they used to be. I’m sure there are many families out there with as many last names as there are members.

I’ll be interested to hear BE and BC’s opinion about this as they get older.


4 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. When my mother was adopted at 12 years old her whole name was changed first, middle and last and even as a very little child I was outraged. I think I have always kind of under stood the last name, but to change a child’s first name at 12, just seemed like stealing. I always thought she should change it back…it was her…it belonged to her…and nobody should have the right to take her name away.

    When I got married I kept my last name and added my husbands. It was the one thing my parents never managed to ruin or take away from me. For many of us our names are the only thing our parents gave us that we have left.

  2. I wrestle with this often. When I got married, I kept my last name. Now my husband and I are entering the foster parenting world, and maybe someday, we will adopt. Which could mean there would be 3 different last names under one roof. Whoa – that seems confusing.
    I think about adding my husbands name onto mine.
    This will be interesting to see how the name game plays out in our family.

    1. So many women keep their own names now and there are so many blended families – I bet you won’t be the only ones with 3+ names!

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