Friday's Answers: Naming Your Adopted Child

This week’s Tuesday Topic was from Jamie who wrote,

We have 4 children Simeon(he died at birth), Josiah, Abigail, Anna (our names jamie and andy) as you can see our 3 children that are with us on earth here, (and our names) “ironically” start with the letters A and J- I’m not sure if i’m thinking about this too much but really want your input. Is it key to name our next child with an A or/a J? I would never want any of our children to feel like they were left out in any way and for me especially our children that will be adopted. I don’t want them to feel that way! does that make sense? is it crucial to have one of their names be Bulgarian. Another theme in our children that are living is that their middle names are missionaries! We really want to have a Biblical first name, as we like to pray verses of that person over their lives!

I loved reading your responses and the spirit in which they were offered.  You are a wonderful group of wise and kind women.  You can find the complete answers in the comments of the original post.  Here are some excerpts:

Karin Katherine wrote:

Since you say, “ironically” I would say that the A and J thing wasn’t a set plan for naming your children. With that in mind, I would say you should name your son whatever you feel called to name him and not over think it. Apparently when you named your other children you chose the name you felt was right for them. I think you should do the same for your son…

Eileen wrote:

Our first three children, Adam, Madeline, Abigail, went in an A-M-A pattern. When we were adopting our fourth child, the kids wanted another “M” name. We all agreed on the name Maya, not to stick with the pattern, but because we just really liked it. I liked not only the sound of it, but I loved the meaning, “God’s creative power.”

However, when we met her in China…, we felt it was important to call her by her Chinese name, Qiu Ju. We called her almost exclusively Qiu Ju for weeks and had to make an effort to call her Maya. Qiu Ju is her middle name and at home, I’d say we call her Qiu more than Maya…

Shannon wrote:

I think you should follow the same protocol you did when naming your previous children. I am not sure if i believe the name will affect the child alot – not saying it won’t, i just dont know…though i do believe whatever the name, this is going to be a blessed child to be a part of this family. I would think that how he is treated and loved and nurtured and accepted will be what’s most important.

Teresa wrote:

My stepmom is Bulgarian and there are quite a few Bulgarian Christian names (I have no idea if of missionaries).
What about Joseph/Jeremy/John/Julian/ Jonathan Samuel (Samuel is a name definetely used in Bulgaria) and the others start with J.

Laurel wrote:

It seems to me that you should probably continue with your name themes for your adopted child. Even if your theme of letters was unintentional up until this point, because being an adopted child has issues that come with it, I think you should do everything possible to make him feel like a complete part of the family.

Anita wrote:

One thing we did decide to do with our adopted ET son was to give him a name important to us. We surrounded his ET name with a “western” first name that was important to my husband’s family and we gave him my husband’s last name. We did this because we felt this “claimed” him to our family. We kept his ET name (both first and last) as his middle names because we wanted to honor his heritage ( in ET, children’s last names are their father’s first names).

Catherine wrote:

Jedidiah! This is my husbands name and I love it!
2 Samuel 12:25
and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.
2 Samuel 12:24-26 (in Context) 2 Samuel 12 (Whole Chapter)
Because the Lord loved him!!!

Andrea G wrote:

I am wondering if there is a Bulgarian missionary? Then all can have a biblical first name and a missionary name for a middle name. Can’t wait to hear what you decide and praying for the baby no matter what!

Jessica wrote:

I wonder if your heart already has the answer about the J and A… It’s on your mind to be as inclusive as possible and I think giving this sweet baby the honor of a J or A name is fantastic. Names are SO important! Since this is an international adoption you’re also wanting to honor heritage

BJ wrote:

All five of our children’s names start with C. It started with our three older bio boys and when we adopted our oldest daughter at birth it was just natural for us to do it again. Our youngest daughter came to us thru foster care and was very young we added a first name starting with C to her name , too. Now we are getting ready to adopt a 15 and 9 year old. We will leave it up to them if they want to add a C name.

I am out of time this morning to add my thoughts, but I hope to get back later today.  If not, you can read some of my (much) earlier posts on how we named our children Naming Children and Let’s Talk About Names.

Have a wonderful Friday!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Our Private Quarters
    August 15, 2010

    My husband and I were discussing this very topic this morning and he suggested that I ask or look around for answers as it pertains to an older children adoption, a 5 yr old and a 3 yr old, from foster care. We really don't like their given names yet my husband thinks that changing their names this late in their lives would be disastrous. On the other hand, their names are of ethnic origins and could potentially be damaging to them in school system, especially where we live currently.

    Sigh… I am still perplexed as to what we should/would do. Thank you for your posts and your links. Just what I was looking for.



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