Wednesday, January 23, 2008

To Name or Rename

Adoptive parents are sometimes hurt when they tell their families about their plans to adopt or they begin to discuss issues about ethnicity and whether or not they should change the names of their children. I wrote this post in one of the forums in response to the many stories that we hear. Someone said that I should add it here, so her you go.

On naming your children and even on telling your families about your plans to adopt who and from where, here is the rule I've always used for myself. I never discuss my decisions with anyone until I've done my own research and have made a decision based upon what makes sense for me and my life. By the time I tell anyone anything about my plans I am so committed and sure about what I want to do that other people's comments don't even phase me. I sometimes find there thoughts interesting or humorous but in most cases people that you are pouring your feelings out to:

  1. Will not have to live with any of the ramifications of your decision.
  2. Aren't really that vested in the process.
  3. Have so many issues to deal with in their own lives that this is nothing but idle chatter for them and they never even give what they say a second thought while you are off worrying about it.
No matter what you decide someone will always disagree. It's possible that even you will wish that you had or had not taken a different path. One person mentioned that there are many studies that speak to the impact on ethnic names and how they are viewed in the school system or job market. To that I say, that people will give you a statistic of 30% of children with this or that name... but they never tell you what happened to the other 70%.

Today there is a man named Barak Obama and another man named Mitt (using his middle name) contending for the White House. There is a Secretary of State named Condeleeza and a congressman named Kweisi Mfume who gave up his American name to claim an African one. By contrast their are John's, Mary's and Jane's that haven't fared so well. Yes there are people who may look negatively on a name but always remember that if they do, the fact that they do speaks to their limitations as a person and not the limitations of the name or the child.

I think that there has to be a difference in sharing thoughts, plans, and ideas and looking to others for validation. This process is tough enough. We may always want support and excitement from others but we cannot expect it nor can we be upset when we don't get it.

My mother used to tell me when I was young, that when people come to you to talk about their issues, they are not really interested in your opinion they just want to be heard. I believe like in the stories that are often reported here that my mother was probably usual.


graceling said...

Mother knows best.

Valarie- I wish I knew you in person. You are always so well-spoken and bring a lot of thought into any conversation you are a part of.

VALARIE - Single, Ethiopian-bound, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...

Grace do you really live in Streamwood? One of my best friends live in Streamwood. You are only 25 minutes and an Elgin expressway away. We will have to meet IN PERSON!

Katy said...

I have now read both your blogs in their entirety. Thank you for sharing so much of your self, your experiences, and your knowledge. I look forward to reading more, and learning more, and to seeing you bring children into your home.

VALARIE - Single, Ethiopian-bound, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...

Kathy thank you so much. Blogging is becoming a compulsion. I think it is taking up my nervous energy until I can have the children with me.

Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]