One of the most important things an adoptive parent is asked to do after they decide to adopt a child is to choose a name. This is a very personal decision and helps create an instant bond with your child. No longer a nameless, faceless little person, your new addition now has a name by which she will become known.
Naming your child is often a difficult decision. Many people plan and think about names for their children for a long time; they may have already chosen special family names or ones that they like. In most cases, when you receive a referral of an internationally adopted child, you will be given medical and developmental information along with their Russian name. Many people struggle with how to change or keep their child’s Russian name. Some of the factors that must be considered are age, cultural ties, and the complexity of the existing name.
A common misconception is that a child’s name may have been chosen by her birth parents and thus deserves special consideration. This is not always the case, especially when children are abandoned at a young age. Instead, orphanage workers, or government officials may have named your child. Even more perplexing is that the child’s legal name may not be the name one that they go by. He may be called a derivative of the name, a nickname, or another name that someone else may have chosen.
Cultural considerations help foster a child’s heritage. These may be especially important to help maintain the cultural identity of a child who is of a different ethnic heritage than her adoptive parents. Keeping at least part of a child’s given name can help provide an important link between birth country and adopted country. This may not seem important to a child when they are younger, but it may be when they begin to understand adoption and their origins.