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Decision on potential name changes

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Hi


Does anyone know whose decision it is ultimately to request a name change. Is it the social workers or the judge at the final hearing after reason is put forward.


I am hearing different things and confused as when completing court papers its asking about new/same names.


Thank you


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Yours ultimately. If you want to change the name, you can say so via the application.


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It is yours ultimately. Sw tend to frown on it unless there are security risks but you can put your choice of name on the adop order paperwork if you have reached that stage. That will then be their legal name. .

There are strong views on this both for and against in the adoption world . A lot of people add a middle name and some then go on to use it as the main name. What stage are you at with your child/ren ?


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Thanks. My SW told me it was their decision. I thought it was down to me to put on the papers and then if a problem I could go to court to explain reasons.

They may agree with my reasons and I need not wonder about the next steps, just wanted to check.


I'm 11 weeks in.


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Yep, as the others say: your decision, new name put on application, not official until AO through. I'd be a bit irritated that the SW has fibbed.


Assuming you mean 11 months into placement, you don't need to worry about telling the SW now- they are not going to disrupt over this.


The SW may not be able to agree with you as a matter of LA policy. Ultimately it doesn't matter whether they agree, you are the parents. There are two things that do matter:


1. Get your reasons clear in your head. Don't say its for safety if there is no major risk. We changed our daughter's because everyone reacted to its chavvyness and we didn't want her lumbered- but she was very young. If the child is already old enough to recognise it then I think it's quite a big deal. Be sure its what you want to do.


2. Explain your reasons clearly to the SW so that there are no surprises on the application. Get them on side, even if begrudgingly. Its unlike to even be raised in court if the child is young.


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I am keeping her "known as" first name the same, I wish to change it to a formal name that's shortened to the same name :

for example :

Lottie - Changed to Charlotte

Currently still a baby, but I recognise there is some identity to acknowledge.

There is some security risk, but I wish for her to have the option of tracing, rather than being traced, in respect of how she is referred to, i can respect her decision at that time. I feel comfortable I can explain the reasons to her.


I am annoyed about being told differently as well. Grrrr its not the first time.


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I think that's a really nice way of doing it. You've obviously thought it through well. You can always give your own middle name as well, making her very unlikely to be traced. Identity issues are for much older and can be overstated for such a modest change.


I am, however, shocked that you've had a SW make an inaccurate statement more than once : -) Not to worry, you are on the home stretch now. Congratulations on your new(ish) daughter BTW.


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Our daughters FC did exactly that - used a shortened version of her name (which was an unusual culturally specific name with also an unusual spelling) with the thinking that whoever adopted her could change it to an expanded version of the shortened name which was more common. I think that is what you are saying? As she was FC she would not have been able to do this without SW approval - so it should be ok for you given the reasoning behind it.


There was a security risk here with BPs which might have affected SW thinking but we actually kept the original name and she doesn't seem to be traceable - in fact there is a famous actress with the same name and spelling who always comes up instead if you look. Her name is in fact an anagram of our surname - quite simple - and we liked it so we kept it.


Our son had a very common first name which could be spelled in various ways - but was generally known by his second name - we continued to use the second name (which is much nicer anyway) and changed the spelling of the first. He plays a particular sport and we never revealed what this was as he could be traced with a combination of his first names and the sport as a search would reveal youtube clips with a specific location and also school name (which had a clear place identification too - name of school = name of area) - as they did well in national competitions. So you do need to be cautious but often it is additional details that are needed to trace if minor changes can be made to the name. Also in letterbox he was always referred to by his second name so BPs weren't aware of change in spelling either


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One major risk to our kids these days is social media, which is making it so much easier for birth parents to track down the kids and make unwelcome, unsupervised and unhelpful contact in their teenage years. Particularly so if they have an unusual name. So that is well worth considering because it IS an issue.


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We were put under a considerable amount of pressure not to change first names even thought they were adopted out of county for security reasons. Listening to this SW advice was probably the biggest mistake we made in the process as both our children have unusual names spelled in a different way to normal. This is particularly important when there are two of them as this multiplies by factors the chances of a search algorithm finding them as a pair.

I think this also opens up the debate on what is identity anyway? Changing names does not remove your identity, it becomes part of your identity. I feel sometimes SW departments make the incorrect assumption that your identity is confirmed at birth and is fixed for your entire life. This is not the case, it evolves as you grow and change. It is added to and reflects the person you are at any time and how you became that person. It is not what you were on the day you were taken into care. Most importantly, what you are called is not your identity.


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We can all have our own personal ideas about name changes and identity, but at the end of the day, your child will have a particular response to having their name changed, ranging from not caring about it to caring very much. And that's what you are going to have to deal with. I currently have an 18 year old who wants to change her birth middle name because I didn't change it! You can't second guess what the child will think when older, just deal with whatever comes up.


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And when they are older you can help them make that change if that is what they want then it won't become an issue


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I really wish we'd changed our AS's name. We were offered a name change by our SW on security reasons, although it was made clear that they very much frowned upon this, but we decided that his name was common enough. Now birth family have moved quite close to us and seem very interested, I worry every time I say his name in public. Our decision, if I'm honest, was based on saying the 'right thing' and if I had my time again I'd have made a very different judgement call based on what was right for our family-not what I thought SW wanted to hear.


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Hey


To go back to the original question: it's your decision to put the name you want on the adoption paperwork - but as you need to have sws representing and supporting your application in court it's a case of needing to 'manage' them diplomatically to get them on side.


I won't go into the identity debate as its complex and interesting and brings up strong feelings on this forum too!


We changed child 2's name slightly (think Clare to Clara or Joan to Joanne).... The sws muttered and grumbled about it but we were in a strong position for other reasons.


A few years on, it's more of an issue that we changed one child's name and gave additional middle names but hadn't done that for the other. There is some resentment of that. Ultimately try to think sensitively about how it will play out for the child.....


I have a friend whose mum was adopted in the mid 20th century at a time when Irish people were very much discriminated against and second class. Finding out that her irish name had been changed to an English one had a big impact on her. In other circumstances, small tweaks might not, but it's food for thought.....


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It is, as others have said, your choice. Bearing that in mind, it is you that will have to explain why you did that when you child finds out later on.


(We didn't change our twos' first names but with some major disguised guidance let them choose a new middle name, they love their middle names even 4 years on.)


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I did the same as you, Jazz2003. My son had a shortened version of a full name, like (but NOT) 'Danny,' and I changed it to 'Daniel'. The SWs weren't particularly enthusiastic, but I said he could therefore still choose to be called 'Danny' if he wished, but also had the option of having a more formal (less chavvy, IMHO) name. It has ended up that I call him 'Dan', and he, at age 7, is perfectly happy being called any version of the name.


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We are changing the middle names of our two to our traditional family ones, and correcting the spelling of our AD5's name, partly for security, partly because we're pedants...We have spoken at length with her about it and she is very excited. She is known by a shorter version of it anyway, so it won't make a huge amount of difference to her. She loves the middle names, I think it has really helped her understand how much we see her as part of the family. Her brother is too young to care, she keeps trying to explain it to him though Smile


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We changed the spelling of one child's name (it was spelt strangely) and we changed the other child's name to a longer version, although still call her by the shorter version too.


Personally, with social media, names are a real issue for the future for our children...if I were to adopt again I would seriously consider changing my children's names.


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I'm new to this site but actually came looking for people's thoughts on this topic - this has been very helpful thread to read as it's something I'm currently battling over in my head.


I'd been FC to my little one for a few months prior to putting myself forward to be assessed to adopt. I had already planned a new name change due to close locality to the birth family. My SSW even brought up the topic and asked if I'd started thinking of ideas when I spoke with her about it. They never mentioned that LA doesn't approve of name changes.


It was only a month or so later that a different SW mentioned that I wasn't able to change little ones name - and if I voiced a wish to do so they wouldn't considered assessing me further and they would instead look to a different adopter, purely so birth name would be kept. I was quite taken aback as wasn't aware of this requirement when I put myself forward and had naively assumed that I would have their backing due to locality of birth family and little one was only 6 months at the time. It was madness to me that they would halt the process purely on the name, ignoring the unnecessarily attachment trauma from moving my little one unnecessarily from the only family they know.


I still wish to change first name, and reading the above replies I feel happier knowing it is my decision to make when the time comes for official paperwork. I had always planned, out of respect, to keep part of their first name and move it to an official middle name - so that they grow up with both mums choices. I also know it will be for me to explain to them when they are older why I chose to change their name. For me identity does evolve and doesn't just hinge on the first name you are given - plenty of people have different names/nicknames they are known by in their lives.


I've been left feeling like I'm selfish for wanting to change their name, and that it is too risky to even bring it up as a discussion point with SW's for fear of a them making a drastic decision that can't be reversed.


I have a mix of reasons why.

Locality- I feel their name is quite unique and distinctive, I would be nervous to call them in a park or school playground- very conscious a friend of birth family, or birth family themselves could hear and then approach us. A name change would lower this risk greatly. The SW's had previously mentioned they'd rather I uprooted and moved if I felt locality was a concern - so to move little one away from my family and close support network...makes no sense.


It is also very much my wish that it be their future decision to seek out and make contact with their birth family, if and when they see fit, and I know all to well the risk of social media.


Also their first name means something in a different language and paired with my last name it is a very bizarre combination that I would never have chosen for them. It isn't what occurs to everyone immediately but when I explained it to a couple of good friends they agreed and understood.


I know it's a topic that has very mixed views.


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I think when it comes down to it, we all parent in different ways and although we might have different views, irs nobodies place to judge the decisions we make for our childrens' best interests.


There is so much else that social workers fail to have strong opinions on - maybe they prefer to avoid certain difficult topics - that I'm never particularly prone to hold their usual bug bears with huge reverence!


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I think when it comes down to it, we all parent in different ways and although we might have different views, irs nobodies place to judge the decisions we make for our childrens' best interests.


There is so much else that social workers fail to have strong opinions on - maybe they prefer to avoid certain difficult topics - that I'm never particularly prone to hold their usual bug bears with huge reverence!


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How bizarre that they would rather you move than change name - did they offer to pay removal costs?


There is the option of having a 'known as' name. My son was nearly 8 when he came home and although he has a very distinctive name, changing it wasn't an option really. I do love his name though which helps. He suits it and it has a lovely meaning. So he ended up with


African First Name - English Middle Name - African Surname - with my English surname stuck on the end, although not hyphenated.


We have just completed very extensive therapeutic life story work, which has included a lot of discussion about his name. He wanted to to change his first name to a very old fashioned name ( think Stan - !! ) which I persuaded him out of. We have agreed that he will in future be known solely by his English surname. I've told him if he still feels the same when he is 18 I will help him change it legally.


Names are such a minefield!


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A real minefield!


Our reasons for changing his name are manyfold which I won't go into. But I do feel a pang of guilt about it wonder how his BM will feel and what she will say when eventually she's faced with the change. (ONE reason was a very distinctive name to 'find him and bring him back', so name obviously v important to her. Anyway, can't really go into to much, but changing his name has been a complicated web of emotions for us and we anticipate more to come! Saying that - what ISN'T complex in the grand life story work ahead?!).


As a side note, and this doesn't apply to our case, but there are cultural significances with names. For example I know that in Nigerian culture the name of a child is tied into beliefs and hopes and for the child etc. Sorry, just struck me as I was typing that up.


Smile


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It sounds harsh but I think you need to try and put birth mum's potential feelings aside. This is about the future of your family. If you think it's necessary then change it.


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Oh absolutely. His name is already changed legally. Just always a thought at back of my mind.


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Hi off topic but years ago I worked in a Life Assurance company.


Frequently people were know by their middle name and not their first.

In fact we had a specific field on the database to enter manually to ensure we addressed the letter to the correct name. On the proposal they were asked which name they were known by.


Loads of job applications do this I think.


Also years ago I watch Heir Hunters on TV and they stated few people have 2 middle names. No idea how Facebook works but thought I'd mentioned it


Sorry off topic & rambling but above might be interesting to some


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