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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Choosing Names for Adoptive Children

There are many reasons why Adoptive Parents (AP's) may want to keep their child’s given name or change it.

One reason AP’s may change their children’s Indian name is because it could sound like something not so pleasant in their new country and the parents don’t want their children to be teased and so they pick something new. Sometimes parents want to give their child a new name to welcome them into their forever family. They may want to name their child after a relative or even after themselves. Or this may be their first child or 4th child and they have picked out names they love and want to use for their child. Maybe the child is older when adopted and even wants a new name to sound normal according to the town they will live in, perhaps with parent’s permission they will pick it out when they get there. However, I have heard some different baby names lately and having an Indian name here, especially if it is easy to pronounce, is not such a big deal. Even in small towns people are getting used to names from different countries as there is more of a mix of people groups moving to the U.S. All parents get naming rights to decide whether they will keep the child’s given name or give them one of their own they have chosen. This is part of the fun of parenting!

This is how we choose our youngest daughter’s name. When we decided to adopt from India to the U.S. A. I was excited, but wanted our child-to-be to bring with her as much as she could from India. She came with all the splendor that she is, an outfit, and her name. While we were waiting for our referral I kept hoping that she had been given a name that was easy for Americans to pronounce when they saw it.

I also hoped it would have a nice meaning behind it. One of my friends had adopted 2 girls from China and their oldest daughter’s Chinese name meant ‘pleasant’ and I thought that would be so nice if our daughter’s name had such a wonderful meaning too. Well, I was really surprised when we looked at the name on our referral and it said “Sananda” Wow! We and everyone else could easily pronounce this and when I found out the meaning of the name I was so happy. It is a very meaningful name to me and in Sanskrit also. It means this: Sa refers to ‘good’ or ‘pleasant’ and Ananda refers to ‘Joy’. She is definitely all of these! What a wonderful meaning, I was sure we would keep the name and we did. If the name would not have been pronouncible to most people we would have kept it as a middle name and I think I would have called her that at home.

It would not have been strange to her because we have nicknames for all of our kids and use them frequently so it would have been normal for her to hear us call her more than just one name anyway. And yes, we do have nicknames for her at home and also use her given name. Well, sort of, let me explain. When we saw our daughter’s name on the referral sheet we asked everyone we could how to pronounce it for sure, just in case it did sound a little different than we thought. Everyone told us the same-that is was Sananda. Easy enough! For the many many long months we waited to go and get her we told everyone we would be calling her that and that’s who she was to us.

Then the day came when we got to the orphanage to pick her up. I was sitting in the director’s office as she talked to us and just waiting for sight of our beautiful daughter, but I wasn’t facing the doorway. My ears were tuned to hear any sign of her entry and all of a sudden I heard someone say that Shananda was here. It took me about 1 second to realize that they were talking about my daughter and I turned and looked and saw the most beautiful baby girl. It was then that I realized also that we had all been mispronouncing her name this whole time. Well, we had already told everyone the way we thought it sounded and that was the way it was spelled and could cause confusion for her in the U.S. , so we decided to keep calling her Sananda.

It didn’t phase her really as it sounds much like what they had been calling her at the orphanage. She knew we were talking to her and I think she had other larger things on her mind anyway, like who are these people and why am I with them. She has her name figured out and us now, too. I thought it was sweet that when we were at the orphanage getting her, the Ayahs told her we were her mommy and daddy, she even called us that from the first day. I am glad that they loved her enough to help her along in accepting us as her parents. I am happy to know that they loved on her and in turn she could bond with us, I am sure it was hard for them to say good-bye to their Shananda when we left. I hope we can take her back there someday to visit them and they can see our sweet Sananda is still such a wonderful loving girl.

4 comments:

Nimmi said...

Hey lynda, nice to know that you kept the same name that was given to your daughter. We are planning to name her neelima blueness. This was his younger sister's name and he is very very attached to it. We have got around 45 days left to hold our angel in our hands and as you said I have started a blog. am planning to start posting from today. Will give the address in a day 2 so that you have something to read.

Love, Nirmala

Lynda said...

Nirmala,

Great! I can't wait to start reading your blog! It is sweet that you are naming your daughter with a name that is so special to your family. May the 45 days fly by as you get ready to hold your little Neelima Blueness!
Hoping for pictures of her in your arms. :)

Lynda

Lin said...

Lynda - Neelima means 'Blueness'

Nirmala - Congratulations!! Cuddles to Neelima. Her name matches yours..

I had renamed my daughters. The older one is called Jessica-Lucy. Jessica, my husband's most fav name. Lucy after St. Lucy, the patron for eye and my mom. My younger daughter is called Kezia-Mercy. Again Kezia is my fav name. And Mercy is my husband's mom's name.

Lynda said...

Lin,

Thanks for clarifying the name. :)

Lynda