Wednesday, August 5, 2009


To change or not to change. We need your advice...David was abandoned and we believe he was given his name Abdulkadir by the police officer who found him. We wanted to use it as his middle name to preserve part of his Ethiopian heritage. We are now wondering if we should based on this: While we were in country, most every Ethiopian we told his name to said this - "His family must be Muslim." Well, obviously we have no idea and we (his forever family) are most definitely Christian.

What do you all think???


Jen said...

Hi Jessica,

Here's my 2 cents worth -- Keep the name as his middle name. It will be very important to him later as he searches for who he is and where he came from. It may or may not be a Muslim name, but that doesn't matter. What matters most is the values and love that you instill in him as a member of your Christian family. His name is not predictive of his future -- it is part of his history.


Michelle said...

Hi, I'm a complete stranger (also adopting from your agency) so take this for what it's worth. I would recommend considering another Ethiopian name as his middle name, not because of its Muslim roots, unless that is a concern for you, but because it could be a constant reminder of his abandonment. His birth parents did not choose the name; a police officer did. As an adult adoptee, that's the sort of thing that would bother me. Personally, I love the name my parents (adoptive) gave me and I don't think it diminishes in any way my history. I am their child (even though I'm 41!) and I respect their choice to give me a name they loved. I was the child they wanted for years; naming me was a gift.

I think as adoptive parents we struggle with these issues, frightened that any misstep we make is going to cause our children to blame us for the circumstances of their past and reject us as their parents. Truth is, they might, but that sort of thing happens with bio kids too. Some kids don't get over what happened to them in their childhoods, whether that's with an adoptive or bio family, but with love and empathy for what they're going through, I think you can see them through the struggles.

Very best of luck,

BTW - your family? gorgeous!

akinsfamily said...

We too are stuggling with the name thing. We just came home with our twins and had the intention of using thier birth mother's name as their middle names. SInce coming home we have found out that is not thier mother listed on the forms but the woman that brought them to the orphanage. It kind of lost it's meaning to us when we found this out. Now we are trying to decide if we should use their Ethiopian names as their middle names. We too got many comments while in Ethiopia about their names and they are hard to pronouce . . . I guess all that to say: Follow your heart. If it bothers you - change it. I think it is more important to be able to explain to them in good conscious why we did what we did and that we did it beacuse we love them and wanted to make the best desicion for them that we could with the information that we were given. Best of luck.

valeep01 said...

I'm going to agree with the first post from Jen. I think it will mean a lot to him when he is older that he has kept some of his Ethiopian heritage through his name. And that was his first name even if it wasn't from his parents. Changing it to another Ethiopian name would also work, but that feels more random and not as meaningful since that was never his name.

Kari said...

Hmm, tough call. We kept our daughter's first given name but tweeked teh pronunciation from Tin-say-e to Ten-say. We also kept her given middle name as her current first middle name. Our daughter was older however and knew her name. I really cannot imagine that his bio-family was Muslum. Number one they DO NOT relinquish children for adoption and would never allow a Muslum child to be adopted. And 2nd if he was found by a police officer how the heck would he know what religion his bio family is? So I agree that it does not matter if it is a Muslum name and I think keeping part of his given name will be really important to him someday.