I need to feel entitled to my children. I probably wrote about this a long time ago, but I had a difficult time feeling entitled to Little Bun because of the dramatic nature of the pregnancy and the near-loss during delivery. I worried that, because he had survived, because he was -- as he says -- "the boy who lived" -- I'd never put him in time out. I had a difficult time feeling entitled to Miss I because I know that she was loved very much by her first family, who cared for her for fifteen months. But the good kind of entitlement is necessary for effective parenting.
Because of the "bad" kind of entitlement ("our birthmother" etc) entitlement in adoption gets a bad rap. It's tied to all kinds of things -- including my concern here, "naming and claiming."
There have been many fantastic posts about name changing, why people did and why they didn't and whether or not they would do it again. Adoptees saddened that their names have been changed, first families wounded by a name change.
But I have to admit: I would never feel entitled to parent a child who had been named a "junior."
We were presented with a situation in which the child's mother said it was imperative that the child's name not be changed. The child's name connected him to his father. She was not ready to choose not to parent that child, and this is one of the things that communicated this to us.
And then we were referred our daughter. We had chosen names to add in some place, and left the placement contingent on her name. The meaning of her name broke my heart, and to share it would be to share too much of her story. And that was the problem. The meaning of her name communicated the reason for her relinquishment. Would everyone know what the meaning was? Of course not. Would I? Certainly. Would it impede the development of my "good entitlement"? No doubt, for a time.
And yet -- if I would have known that I soon would have connected a name of sorrows to a beautiful girl who was bubbling over with life, I probably would have kept it as her first name -- second names (and especially second MIDDLE names) are too easily dropped. But I love her name -- and so does she, and she is proud of the story and her name's meaning, and the way her name resonates with our family's other names.
Like all adoptive parents who've changed a child's name, we have every intention of supporting her decision to revert to her first given name at any point. For no clear reason, Little Bun has decided to go by his middle name at school, and we raise an eyebrow but no more.
But would we make the same choice again?
This is not hypothetical. I'm looking at the picture of a little girl, LittleOne, who has a name (it isn't LittleOne) and a life that has nothing to do with me -- yet . . .
I used to think, like most prospective adoptive parents, that naming was not an example of the bad kind of entitlement so much as a necessity for the good kind. Now I think it isn't necessarily "bad" but it isn't necessary for the "good." There are so many routes to the good kind of entitlement . . . and there's so much to learn along the way.