Check out the Latest Articles:

This week’s Tuesday Topic comes from Elizabeth, who simply asks, “Did you rename any of your adopted kiddos?”

This is a great question and one that brings up all kinds of opinions and emotions.  Don’t hold back, unless you are going to say something really snarky, otherwise, let’s hear from you.  I have lots of friends who are adoptive moms and many of us have made different decisions about names.  We’ve even made different decisions among our four adopted children.

If you have a Tuesday Topic you would like to ask, please email it to me at  I’m ready for a few more.

Let’s have a great discussion and encourage one another.


  1. LMR (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

    We strongly debated this with our daughter who was adopted from Ethiopia. She was nameless as an infant and then assigned a name for paperwork purposes. We liked her name, and officially it is still her legal first name. We are now debating changing it, since we have been calling her by a different name and unofficially using her given name as a middle name.
    We are still torn as to what we should do.. So until we make up our mind we are leavin things as is.
    Right now we are leaning towards changing her first name to be her middle name and using the name we have given her as her first name.

  2. Kristi (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

    Thanks for this post. We are STILL in the process of deciding about this. Our son is 6 years old, has been home 6 months. Thus far we haven't done anything legal with his name – he has his birth first name and our last name, which is how the paperwork is processed from his country. We love the meaning of his African name. His African name is easily shortened to an "American" name – Paul – which we all love, including him. So we plan to keep his African name legally and let him go by his nickname. Our bio daughter also goes by a shortened nickname. We're just waffling on middle names.

  3. Tanya (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

    We have adopted 5 times. Our oldest was 2 when we met him and had planned on keeping his birth name. When we met him, his bio grandma encouraged us to change it. He had been going by a nickname (that we still call him by) so we made his first name the full version of that nickname an gave our own middle name. Our next 3 children came to us as infants and we gave them all new names that we chose. Our youngest will be coming home from Haiti very shortly. We plan to keep her first name (which my 3 yr old has already shortened to a nickname for her) and giver her a new middle name.

  4. Marleigh (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

    I have been adopted as an adult and do plan to change my name. The first name I'm taking is a nickname I started going by in college that I much prefer, makes life simpler, and pretty much everyone, including my adoptive family, knows me as. I am taking their last name because I want to really be a part of the family and do not want to keep my birth father's name for personal reasons. This left me with a dilemma about the middle name. I didn't want to keep my old middle name but it seemed weird to just make something up. Then I read on a lot of adoption blogs and youtube channels about how much it meant to the parents to name their children (with the children's consent of course), so I decided to ask my mom and dad if they would like to choose my middle name and they accepted, so I actually don't have a middle name as of right now. :)

    • Lisa Qualls (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

      Marleigh, thank you for sharing your thoughts – how lovely to find your family as an adult. I have to take a look at your blog and read your story.

  5. Margaret (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

    We did not change our children's first names when they came to our family from Ethiopia. hey were 5 and 9. Both went by several nicknames, not their full Ethiopian names. We did give them middle names which are names that matter to our family, and our son has since chosen a confirmation name for himself which is a saint how is also important in Ethiopia, but whose name is familiar to English speakers. now our children have each found ways to use more American sounding nicknames of their Ethiopian names in situations where they think it might be easier. I think that the complexity of their names reflects the complexity of their lives and some of their ambivalence about being part of two families. i think they feel fully claimed by us, but they a also loyal to their first families and I think that is OK, not holding them back or anything. And I love it that they share with us and each other all their thinking about how to present
    themselves to the world, names, adoption stories, etc.

  6. Vicki (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

    I adopted my daughter when she was seven from foster care. We didn't know her middle name only that it began with a P. She didn't know her middle name either. One night I shared with her what I was going to change her middle name to. She didn't like it. Then she announced she wanted to change her first name too. I had previously made a list of names that I liked that had about 50 names on it. I let her look over the list and she picked her new name. She immediately connected to her new name and corrected anyone that didn't use her new name. Kids have had so little control over their lives I wanted to give her am opportunity to get some control back. It's been almost three years and I asked her if she is glad she changed her name. She said yes. It gave her a chance to have a fresh start.

  7. MapleRidgeMom (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

    We adopted two children from the foster system (brother and sister, ages 3 and 6 when they came into our home). They were 6 and 9 at the time of adoption. Our daughter had 5 names pre-adoption and had asked to be adopted for more than a year before we were able to make it happen. Our son was torn between us and his birth family. He had been told all his life he had 4 hames, but it had been changed at 1 year old…so he didn't even know his accurate name. Our daughter told us for a year that she wanted to change her name, and she chose what the new name was. She changed all aspects, first, middle and last. She asked on the night we told her we would be able to adopt her if she could change her name on her AWANA books, in front of her birth father. Our son kept his first and middle names….every child is different.

  8. Elifas Nafuka (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

    Wow, renaming others as one pleases just because one adopts them. To me, this is wrong. God adopts us many a time, but he renamed a few that we know of; Abram to Abraham and Saulus to Paulus, the Apostle Paul as we know him today those that read the Bible. What God did not do is changing their last/family names. With this reference, I do not agree with adopting families that change children last names to theirs. What good reason do they have to do that? Whatever the argument, it equates to none because all people around know that somebody is an adopted kid from an Asian, African, European, and or American family. Who is fooling who? Adopt them and what they brought with, which is names for they will still grow appreciating you adopting them and eventually know where they came from. Are you children adopting families afraid of not being acknowledged by these kids if they do not have your family names? I agree with one to name a child any names, but my argument should be clear, let them keep their last names.

  9. MamaLove (Reply) on Tuesday 4, 2012

    We adopted our daughter from foster care. We became a family when she was 9. She told me (with wisdom beyond her years) that she wanted a new name for her next chapter. When we asked how she felt about her birth name, she said she was made fun of for it but as our relationship developed she told me and my husband that she associated it with "abuse and hate." Our hearts broke for our gentle and loving girl. We had conversations about how it's the actions of those who fail her but she was consistent – she wanted a new name. So we made a list of names she liked and names we suggested with the meaning of each (that was important to her). And we made her fun work sheets where she could try out writing the names, doodle journal style. We wanted her to claim this new moniker. She settled on the name, and embraced it. I saw my girl light up when her name was called. Glow like she had never glowed before. It was an amazing thing to watch her she'd fear. And for us as parents, to not break a little when we'd watch our sweet girl cringe instinctually when she heard her birth name. It was one of the more beautiful things I have seen in this life. Then her social worker who had ADVOCATED for this name change told us we couldn't use it or the adoption would be in jeopardy and we had to go back to the birth name and my girl retreated into herself. Her spirit faltered. That worker took her hope. Brought back her fear. But when my girl officially changed her name at finalization my kid came to life. She giggles! She is thriving. And for you mammas out there fighting so hard for your kids, rocking their sweet little selves, trying to do anything, anything, to make it so they swim above the trauma of the early days, you know what it's like to hear a real giggle or to know she is soundly asleep. I don't know that name change is right for every person but what is? I will tell you I am an advocate for exploring it because, it is giving my kid the restart in life she so very much deserves. When I write her name on a gift she is now excited, where as before she'd be afraid to receive it. When I call her in for dinner she'll skip in instead of hide. Sometimes, there is a lot in a name – just do what your kid needs.