Did you know # 5: Changing the name of your adopted child is another form of taking away their rights to their culture, language, and history. (Article 8 of the UNCRC)-the child must consent to a name change and children can not do that.
You want to empower your children?…..DON’T change their names to something easier, better, more spiritual, nicer, prettier…..leave their name just as their original parents had it. If you HAVE changed their name, be open to giving them the option to change it back and support them throughout the entire process.
Children are not dolls. They are not commodities.
Names are so important and it helps us better understand who we are. If it were not so-we would all be called he, she, it, or they. Names help us understand culture, and reasoning in so many ways.
One of the ways adoptive parents continue to take ownership of children who were not born of their womb is by changing their name. Only in adoption are children basically stripped of themselves. No other form of institution does that. Only in adoption does the US government really not believe in the rights of the child. They say “as if born to you” but children will grow up and know they were not born.
Now, I am not talking about love here, i’m talking about action. To help kids grasp who they are, their essence, their culture, their language, we have to leave them with the last thing they were left with before they were relinquished/given up/stolen (from many Birth mother’s perspective). We need to leave them with the last thing their orphanage, mother, father, extended family called them.
In so many cultures, a name is very symbolic and it helps shape the person. Some name their kids Hope because in the hospital they may have been dying and the child persevered. Most names have some kind of meaning attached to it and families all over the world pick out Baby Names from a Baby Names Book to choose the perfect one that fits their newborn child. Some even go as far as to name the child while in the womb, so as to get them use to hearing it.
Names are so precious and important and when adoptive parents decide it is within their rights to change it, they are continuing to strip them of their right to be connected.
Keeping their names empowers them. Of course there are cases where an AP wants to protect their child-and that is justifiable just as long as there is open dialogue and the option to change it if the adoptee decides in the future.
Of course there are cases where a child does not have name and you are unfamiliar of the race of the child. Of course there are names that mean one thing in one culture and a totally different thing in the new culture. Seek counsel and think about why the names will be changed. Could there be an equivalent with a different meaning?
When an AP changes their adopted child’s name, they may be communicating 1. we are now your parents and we can do what we want. 2. Your parents, orphanage, institution didn’t give you the right name that matches our family. 3. Your name is not good enough 4. What we have for you is better 5….so many other things.
I’m not saying this is YOUR intention, I’m saying the impact is what is left on the adoptee.
Think about this: Who are you really changing their name for?
You really want to respect their birth culture, family, heritage, history, lineage…..you want to show you love them….keep what was given to them.
One of the goals for raising adoptees is to raise them in a way that they are able to return to their birth culture, family….are you preparing them to reclaim part of what they have lost?
According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, there are red flags adoptive parents do not pay attention to.
Article #9 is what many adoptive parents don’t look into.
Article #8 deals with this “Did you know” post.