Do Birthmothers Get to Pick Their Baby’s Name?
The expecting mother’s bookshelf likely has at least one “baby name book,” tucked away and highlighted with her favorite names for her child-to-be. Naming is ceremonial, and a great honor for the parent because it gives their child a unique identity that represents who they hope their child will grow up to be.
As a birthmother, you may not have thought about naming your child before. But it’s important to consider since some adoptive parents choose to keep their child’s birth names after adoption. Giving your baby a name that is special to you could be special to your adoptive parents as well. It represents your heritage and your love for the child.
However, be aware that the adoptive parents may want to change the name to something they’ve chosen too. You should have a conversation about this with the adoptive parents, so it won’t come as a shock. Many open adoptions encourage parents to pick the name together, or combine both the birthmother and adoptive parents’ desired names.
If you place your child for adoption long after the birth (a year or more), usually the adoptive parents will keep the name you’ve chosen. They may want to change the middle name to something they wanted; but, after a year most children start to associate with words and primarily names.
It can be hard if the adoptive parents decide not to use your chosen name. Legally adoptive parents have the rights to change the child’s name; but, many chose to honor the birthmother by keeping the name. Open adoptions encourage birthmothers and families to communicate their wants and feelings so that both can come to a mutual understanding. If you build a relationship with the adoptive parents that extends past the birth they are more likely to want to know why you’ve chosen a particular name for your baby.
Even if you choose to have a closed adoption you may want to pick a name for yourself to call your baby. It will help you bond and will honor the special place in your heart for your child. After the adoption you can always refer to your baby by the name you give him or her regardless of what the adoptive parents decide. It’s for your emotional healing and your connection with the child you so lovingly brought into the world.