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If You Give Your Baby Up for Adoption, Do You Name Him/Her?

Understanding Naming in Adoption

Naming a baby when he or she is born can be an important way to start a life. When you’re placing your baby for adoption with their adoptive family, the rite of passage of giving a baby their name may seem a little more confusing. You might be wondering, “Do I name the baby, or do the adoptive parents? Do we name the baby together? Once you give your child up for adoption, can the other person change their name?”

Here, find the answers to these and other common questions you may have about naming your baby in adoption.

If You Place Your Baby for Adoption, Who Names the Baby?

Many expectant parents wonder if they’re the one who is in charge of naming their unborn baby. For some, this is a source of excitement. For others, this is an unwanted responsibility.

If you’re asking, “If you give your baby up for adoption, do you name it or them (the adoptive parents)?” know that you can have input about your baby’s name if you prefer. Sometimes, adoptive parents are happy to let you name the baby. Other times, they may prefer that you help choose or contribute to the name in some way. Sometimes, the adoptive family will name the baby themselves.

While the prospective birth parent is the one in charge of all the decisions in every other aspect of the adoption process, the baby’s name is the one choice where the adoptive family usually has the final say.

A common way to name a baby in an adoption situation is for the birth and adoptive parents to name him or her together in some capacity. We’ve listed a few ways that you can do that at the bottom of this article.

If You Name Your Baby, Can His or Her Adoptive Parents Change the Name?

In adoptions, there are two birth certificates. The original birth certificate will list the biological parents. The amended birth certificate will list the adoptive parents. Both birth certificates will have a place for the baby’s name.

When filling out your baby’s original birth certificate, you can include a name for him or her if you want to. This can be a name chosen by the adoptive parents, a name you choose together or a name you choose yourself.

When you sign your consent to an adoption, you’re voluntarily terminating your legal parental rights and placing your child with their parents. If you’d already named the baby on his or her original birth certificate and, for some reason, the adoptive parents decide to change the baby’s name, the amended birth certificate will reflect that name change. At that point, the adoptive parents would be legally within their rights to do so. However, out of respect to birth parents, adoptive parents will rarely change a baby’s name without consulting the birth parents.

To avoid hurt feelings or confusion, it’s always best to discuss these things together with the adoptive parents and your adoption specialist as soon as possible, preferably early in your adoption planning process. Here are some other ways you can reach a naming decision:

How Do You Decide Who Should Name the Baby in an Adoption?

When in doubt, ask! Talk to your baby’s future parents as well as your adoption specialist. If you feel really strongly about being involved in naming your child, let them know that.

Maybe the adoptive family is the one who feels strongly about naming the baby. If you’re fine with letting them choose a name, let them know that, too. Many prospective birth parents feel that, as the parents who will be spending every day with their child, it’s alright if the adoptive parents name the baby.

However you feel is perfectly fine. Just be sure to check in with the adoptive parents and let them know how you feel about naming the baby, whatever those feelings may be.

If you and the adoptive parents both wish to have a part in naming the baby, there are several solutions that you might discuss together, even if that means reaching a compromise together. Consider:

  • Choosing a name that you all like together. This could be a fun way to grow closer.

  • Letting the adoptive parents choose the baby’s first name, while you choose the middle name, or vice versa.

  • Choosing a family name from either your family or the adoptive parents’ family that you all like, and that’s meaningful.

  • If you and the adoptive parents are both of the same faith, choosing a name that has religious significance to you both, like the name of an important religious person, saint, etc.

There a many different ways you can approach naming a baby in an adoption situation, but one of the most fulfilling ways to do so is together. That way, your child will always have a special story behind how he or she received their name from both their birth and adoptive parents.

At the end of the day, remember that your child’s name is a minor detail compared to the big picture — that they’re able to grow up safe, provided for and loved. To learn more about how to place a child for adoption, or to ask questions about how naming works in adoption, contact us online or call us at 1-800-ADOPTION now.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

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Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

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Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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