Posted by: molly | August 19, 2010

What’s in a name?

I have always had a thing for names.  They are a funny thing–a word we assign to a newborn child that will follow him or her for all of life.  I’ve often pondered this ritual for choosing a name for a child.  Some people go for some sort of crazy family name, strapping a poor baby girl with a name like Brunhilda or Jezebel.  Others go for the common names, creating second grade classes full of Madison’s and Jacob’s.  Some parents just go ahead a make a name up (or make up the spelling if they are slightly less creative).  Some find a balance somewhere in there.  Regardless of origin, names are a big deal.

Even as a child I liked to evaluate names.  Maybe it is because I have a “somewhere in the middle” name:  I’ve met few people (my age at least) with my name, and yet any moderately literate native English speaker can read my name with little trouble.  To top it off, I come from a family that had names that all seemed to fit together–all short names ending in an “e” sound.  When rattled off in quick succession it just sounds right.  To me, that is how all the names in a family should be.

I have a feeling that my family’s names might not be so uniform.  As most couples spend 9 months planning, preparing, and naming their little one, my husband and I have started on a very different path to our first child.  As we talked seriously about doing foster care and adoption it final hit me:  I will probably never have the perfect matching set of stair step children with rhyming names.  A far cry from the typical American ideal, my family will more than likely be a conglomeration of Quantasias, Emilys, and Brydons.  But the conclusion I’ve come to?  That is okay because what’s in a name anyhow.



  1. If you actually adopt some parents do change the name of the child or let the child pick a name. Sometimes this helps the child feel like he really is part of a new family that will last. Obviously, if the kid is attached to his name, you wouldn’t want to do this. The Howertons have changed the name of the boy they are adopting, and he seems to love his new name. Their daughter kept hers, but got a special new middle name from her parents.

  2. Aww, so this means you’re naming one or more of your children Emily, after me? You’re the best! 😉

    Keep me posted on the whole fostering thing … I still have to take a child to Build-A-Bear 🙂

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