I’ve always thought it appalling that we are forced to name our children the moment they are born. As if a newborn has any personality whatsoever. I mean, what if we label a child as Sally but two years later she doesn’t seem like a Sally at all?
My oldest went home from the hospital nameless. We eventually named her Heather for a childhood friend of mine who died at ten years old. It seemed appropriate for an infant who was lucky to be alive to carry on the name of a child who should have had the privilege.
So when my adopted children had the option to change their name upon completion of the process, we let them choose what they would be named. If you’ve ever let a ten year old choose his own name…you know where this is leading.
Anthony’s name has not always been Anthony. Two years ago when we transferred the kids to Ninilchik school I took him in to meet his new teacher. I had registered him with his legal name. When I walked him into meet his new teacher he stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Anthony.”
“What?” I said. His teacher looked at me like we were crazy.
“Anthony Hawk Riley.”
“Tony Hawk? Seriously?”
His caseworker wanted him to talk to his therapist about the sudden name change but I refused. Why wouldn’t a kid with his history want a chance to start over? New school…new family…new name. Makes sense to me.
And so it was. This last spring when we sat in the courthouse finalizing his adoption the judge looked down at her parerwork, looked up at Anthony and said, “Do you skateboard?”
“Yes,” he said, smiling slyly.
“I bet you didn’t think I knew who Tony Hawk was, did you!” said the judge as she signed her approval.
Mya is now Mya May…yes, same three letters…and she wanted to be Mya May Amy…but I had to draw the line somewhere. Though I allowed Tony Hawk, so perhaps I should have acquiesced. Looking back, I should have named her something like Attila or Stalin…would have been more suiting to her control freak nature. The red hair should have been a give-away.
Maybe a name should match the individual, like back in the day when a dough mixer was named Baker and the fellow who stitched boots was Shoemaker. Or perhaps we should all be given the option to name our children at three years old, when their personalities are in full swing. Though perhaps then there would be far too many children named “Terror” and “Maniac” and less John’s and Mary’s in the world.
Though at least when introduced, you’d know what to expect!