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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


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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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