Sunday, August 23, 2009

Name Game

When looking into older child adoption I found stories of kids who wanted an American name and others keeping their given name from birth. Papa and I knew we wanted to give Jet an American name combined with his Thai name for his new name. He had a nickname we liked and his Thai name was a fairly easy to pronounce name, so we felt comfortable with encouraging him to have a say in his name. We especially felt this way as the adoption time frame stretched out and we were bringing home an 8 year old instead of a 6 year old.

In Thailand (and at home before travel) we used Jet's Thai name and nickname. If I remember correctly Miss Oh did ask us if we were giving him an American name and I am fairly certain she did mention it to him. But we never discussed it there. We had more important things to discuss, like potty etiquette!!

Once at home I used Jet's American name with his Thai name as his middle name when calling the kids sporadically. I am a full name kind of Mama. My munchkins get called by their first and middle names often. So it fit. And I used it as an explanation for him. Bug and Peanut have part of their Korean name in their middle names so it was fairly easy for him to grasp.

We had spent 20 months calling Jet by his Thai name, it was a hard habit to break. And quite honestly, Papa and I had never sat right down and said we felt it had to be done one way or the other. We had time and felt Jet had choices. We simply made him aware we had chosen an American name for him.

After we had been home about 7 weeks or so the munchkins and I went to a musical performed by dancers from Peanut's dance studio. We ran into a family from our home school group we hadn't seen since returning home. My friend was introducing one of her son's to Jet and I leaned down to Jet and said can you tell him your name? Jet immediately said his American name! I was stunned. I hadn't yet thought to put the question to him. It hadn't seemed like enough time had gone by to me!

Shortly after that we were getting ready to attend a 4th of July party and I sat Jet down and asked him what he wanted to be called. He chose his American name and said he wanted us to call him that too. So that was how he was introduced.

Some of us in our family are better at using his American name. Bug calls him by his Thai name almost exclusively. Papa uses his nickname the most. Peanut and I use his American name.

In typical toddler fashion, Jet uses his name when referring to himself as he is at that stage in learning the English language. He uses his American name. Except when talking about his time in Thailand. He uses his Thai name then. It is honestly quite funny. He will change the name if he gets confused and says the "wrong" name. The first time he used his Thai name when talking about himself in Thailand I was quite surprised!

He answers to all and doesn't get upset about any name he is called.

Just a little over 2 months left and we can let you know what his name is and show you a picture!! Can't wait!!


Angie said...

I can not wait to see photos of your little guy!!!

Jay and Chandra and Penny Regan said...

The same kind of reaction by our 14 year old. She wants to go by Penny even though we sent in the form filled out with a revised spelling of her Thai name. So her legal name is Penpohn Chanphan Regan. But, she prefers going by Penny C. Regan.

Ellie said...

Again, very similar to our Jacob! We called him "Jacob Wasin" for quite awhile, to get him used to responding to Jacob. After awhile, he would say, "I not Wasin! I Jacob!" Showing a strong preference for his American name. :) Now he is very proud of his Thai name as well, but it took awhile for him to feel confident and proud of his heritage.