Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Can we talk names?

OK, right from the outset I want to say that I don't want any comments on how I'm overthinking things, or worrying too much. I'm not overthinking, or worrying. I'm musing. There's a difference. I'm musing because I'm not even going to the adoption orientation seminar for a couple of weeks, and I've got nothing else to muse over. It means nothing. I may or may not act on my musing, but to me, it's a harmless diversion. A bit of fun. Something to think about.

Right, with that out of the way, I'd like to talk names. Over the years that I was TTC, one of my favorite 2WW diversions was thinking of baby names, which helped keep me positive. They changed a bit over the years, and the boy name especially went through various incarnations. But with the girl names I had two early favorites and they stayed favorites. However, I'm now not so sure.

See, here's the thing, I wouldn't name a child until I saw them. I would wait for inspiration as to what I thought was a good name that "fit" that little person. But I want to have 2 or 3 (or 5) front runners for choices that I would go to first to try on for size. Now that I have decided to adopt, in all likelihood I won't be specifying a preferred race. But the thing that I keep musing over is if a child is placed with me of, say, Haitian heritage or Guatemalan heritage (two BIG local groups), whether giving that child a really "Anglo" name would seem as if I want to try to ignore that heritage. I would want to be sensitive to whatever ethnic background a child has, and try to include something from their culture into our lives as they grow up. Same as if I adopted from China, I'd want to, I don't know, take the child to Chinese language lessons, buy some cute silk Chinese PJs, eat lots of yummy Chinese food and have a name that either at least has some sort of Chinese "ring" to it, or reference, or a Chinese middle name (presumably the child's birth name that I might not necessarily want to keep as their first name). That sort of thing. I want to be able to celebrate and incorporate the child's cultural or ethnic background into our family.

Of course, by adopting from the State I won't have much notice of when the child is coming or what ethnic background they are. They may or may not already have a given name (presumably a safe haven child would not but others would). I may or may not want to change that or switch it to be the middle name. And, more importantly, I wouldn't have much time to make the name decision. I am one of those people whose minds tend to go completely blank if I have to come up with a decision quickly. And I don't want to make a decision on the spur of the moment that I might regret later. Of course, it may all be a moot point. It's probable that I'd have absolutely no information on their background anyway. The kid may be a white kid who could be named a very anglo-sounding name without a second thought. I don't even know if I should care anyway, but I am clear in my mind that I want to celebrate a child's heritage not just pretend it doesn't exist.

So it would be nice to have a selection of names ready to go that could be varied slightly to give a nod to a child's ethnic background. Or an all-purpose name that works for anyone. But what names are good all-purpose names? I'm looking for ideas! [Not boys names at the moment as my preferred boy name already seems fairly multi-purpose.]

Here's an example of my thinking.

Charlotte - a bit Anglo. Would it be right to name a Guatemalan-looking kid Charlotte? I don't like Carlotta so much so don't necessarily want to just vary it.
Josephine - nice French ring to it, would be lovely for a Haitian background kid as well as plenty of others. Could be changed slightly to Josefina for a hispanic kid. Josie is a cute nickname.
Juliana - seems more all-purpose - could use for any kid.


bleu said...

I personally like all purpose names. I love Willow, January names like that. There are tons though.

A great place to play with names is here.

calliope said...

oh boy does this post bring me back! I love to chat baby names. I think having a list of go-to names in your bag is good, but I also think that you should allow yourself to be inspired when you meet your child. Of course having typed that I laugh because I happen to know the inspired name you gave your cat...heh

Stephanie said...

I really like the name Juliana. It's pretty.

How about boy names, though?

Melissa said...

Interesting that you automatically listed all three girls names.....

Are there typically more girls available via the foster/adopt route? Just curious if that was a concious thing or if your mind just went there....

Selmada said...

How about a middle name to match the ethnic background?

Try some combinations, with your last name and see how they flow off the tongue.

I'm glad that you like plan to meet the child before confirming a name.

sarah said...

I like Juliana.