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Woman Who’s Gaining Custody Of Her Sister’s Kids Asks If She’d Be Wrong To Legally Change Her Nephew’s Name

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A woman made her Reddit “Am I The A**hole (AITA) debut by asking WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole) if she changed the name of one of her sister’s kids’ after gaining custody of them.

Redditor MrsLagg—who with her husband already has three kids of their own—began making preparations to welcome three of her sister’s children into the family.

But there was one thing that bothered her.

One of the three kids joining the family has a name the Original Poster (OP) fears could stigmatize the child.

She wrote:

“Hello Reddit, Long time lurker on the this sub first time poster. On mobile so sorry for any formatting issues.”

“I (34 F[emale]) am soon getting custody of 3 of my sister’s (31F) children.”

“She had them removed from her custody a year ago in July, they are 5, 3, and 2. I myself have three kids 11, 5, and 3.”

“Husband and I have been preparing to get them for about 6 months now including buying a 12 passenger van and we’re a few weeks out from closing on a 5 bedroom house.

The Original Poster (OP) indicated that her sister probably won’t be turning her life around.

“Husband and I do not think my sister will get her life together anytime soon, she and her husband have had a year to work through their parenting plan and all they’ve done in that year was 1 parenting class, no therapy, no UAs [drug screenings], nothing required by the state for them to regain custody.”

“It seems she is more in love with her addictions than her children.”

“The children’s guardian ad-litem (attorney for the children’s interest) has informed husband and I that after having the children in our custody for 6 months we could adopt them if my sister and her husband have not met their parenting plan goals.”

“We have talked it over and have both decided that adopting them would be the best path forward for us, we want to give these kids the best lives that we can.”

“Now that you have the backstory here is the question. When we adopt these kids the lawyer said we would have an option to change their names.”

“One of the kids who has pretty bad behavioral issues is named Chaos, we hate this name and we fear that the name could stigmatize him.”

“We already know that his life is going to be pretty tough with his delays and other issues and we feel that changing his name to Chase could be beneficial to his future.”

It turns out “Chaos” was given the name “Chase” when he was introduced to family members.

“It’s pretty close to his name already and this is the name that my sister gave my grandma because she knew my grandma wouldn’t like his real name.”

“I’ve talked to a few family friends and have gotten mixed advice for changing his name so I’m kinda stuck on if we should change it or not.”

“So Reddit, WIBTA if I changed my nephews name?”

The OP came back and gave more details about the child.

“He is 3 and non verbal, so him picking his own name is probably not something we can have him do though I wish we could.”

“He has been tested for autism but has never tested positive for it. He is in several different types of therapies that we will continue once we get custody of him.”

Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to weigh in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Many Redditors were ready to judge the OP as YTA based on the post’s title.

But they wound up changing their minds after discovering the boy’s given name.

“I figured this was a easy TA but I read the name Chaos and was like damn poor kid, just change it to Chase nice and simple.”

“You were well ahead on that and I will go NTA.” – Bnorm71

“NTA. I was really ready to go with YTA because of the title, but it sounds like you really want to give this kid the best future possible. A name like Chaos will haunt him for the rest of his life.”

“That being said, this child is going through a period of serious upheaval and stress in his life.”

“It’s worth having a conversation with him about this before unilaterally changing his name.”xxjustlurkingxx

Redditors suggested a way the child could ease into his new identity.

NTA – I would make Chaos a middle name ( he can have 2 if he already has one). Then .. If treatment does him well and he becomes verbal/higher functioning later in life he will still have that part of his identity and go by it if he chooses.” – IPretendIMatter

“Could you start calling him Chase as a nickname so he (and his siblings) can get used to it before you change his name officially?” – hobalotit

“I came over to say YTA, but after reading and the reasoning I change it to NTA. The little one maybe can’t chose his name, but what about the other two [siblings]?”

“If they are a bit older, I would say to choose a name with them, and maybe start using them already, so they can get used to them.” – InternationalDivide0

“I was getting my pitchfork ready to shout about he’s going through enough change and to lose his name as well because you dislike it is cruel…. but Chaos?”

“Yeah, no, that name will severely hinder him so changing it is fair enough although I agree like you said a conversation with the kid about it first to see how he feels about it, is the way to go.” – veggiebuilder

Not everyone had the opportunity for a name change.

“NTA I have a friend named Katastrophe.”

“She never changed but she goes by Phe because she absolutely hates her name and the stigma that comes with it.” – mother_of_dragons011

The OP appreciated the overwhelming response and promised to keep everyone posted.

“Wow guys, thank you all so so much. I went to bed with like 30 replies and woke up to more than I ever thought I would get.”

“I will update y’all at some point in time but we can’t even begin the adoption process for at least 6 months after we finally get custody of them but we probably will start easing him into ‘Chase’ as soon as we pick him up.”

“I’ll keep you guys posted eventually.”

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1