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Baby Name Advice: Changing the Name After Adoption

baby names
Reader Betsy is excited about her new daughter—but wants to welcome her to the family with a new baby name.

Help! We are adopting a baby girl from foster care and want to change her name. We are considering keeping either her middle or first name, to be used as a middle name. Her current name is Ariel Beauty. I know, she sounds like a Disney character. Can you offer any ideas? We are stumped!

Great question! There are lots of schools of thought about whether to change your child's name after you adopt him or her. Some people keep their child's original name, while others keep part of the name or change the name entirely. When we adopted our daughters, we opted to keep their original names as their middle names. That might be a good choice in this scenario—especially as Ariel is the stronger name of the two. (Ariel has ties to Shakespeare in addition to Disney!)

As far as the first name, what about picking a name that means beauty to pay homage to her original middle name? Belle/Bella usually means beautiful, but it sounds a little strange with Ariel. I would consider one of the following names that also mean lovely: Astrid, Rosalind, Jolie, Calista, or Mirabel.

Another option? Consider giving her a name that has special meaning to your family—the name of a grandparent or other special relative. (My daughters were named after a special aunt and great-grandmother.) You could always name her Elizabeth after you, and give her a different nickname, like Eliza or Ellie. That's a way to help welcome her into her new family.

Readers, what other suggestions do you have for Betsy? What name would you pick?

If you're still looking for a great baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder or email me at And don't forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.

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