Adopting children comes with immeasurable joy, as well as a number of complications.
Especially if the children being adopted aren’t infants.
In addition to possibly living with the memories of their parents or former families, older children will also have to adjust to their new homes and all the changes which come with it.
Redditor Swatmosquito was initially touched to learn the daughter of her pastor would be adopting two children.
But she was shocked when she learned of a major decision the pastor’s daughter was making regarding the adoption, and wasn’t afraid to express her doubts about it.
Questioning if she was out of line, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling a woman to not rename children?”
The OP shared how moved she was when she first heard the news of the adoption.
“So I (33 f[emale]) went to a church event at my mother’s behest and she introduced me to the pastors wife (PW).”
“Conversation was fine and then she went on to say that her daughter (late 20s) and husband would be adopting 3 children from Africa (I don’t know which country).”
“PW then went on to explain the kids were between 5-8 years old and their parents had died a tragic death.”
“So far my heart strings are being tugged as that’s horrific.”
Her emotions quickly shifted, however, when the pastor’s wife revealed a decision on her daughter’s part which the OP found highly questionable.
“Here’s where I may have been the a**hole.”
“The PW then said they’d be changing their names to biblical names.”
“I was stunned and said ‘so they lost their parents who named them and you are getting rid of their names, do they even know this is the plan?'”
“They aren’t infants, they know their names, and you can’t just rip someone’s identity away like that.”
“PW was defensive and said that they’d allow them to keep their middle names and that they’d fit in better in America with those names.”
It wasn’t only the pastor’s wife who was shocked by the OP’s remarks.
“I was too pissed to say anything else and my mom broke the awkward silence by excusing us to the restroom.”
“I was then chided for being rude and that what I said was uncalled for.”
“A few days later I was spending time with my dad and he brings up that mom shared what had happened and that I shouldn’t have said anything as they are saving the kids.”
“Adoption is wonderful and I get if you have a newborn choosing their names.”
“But to take three children who knew their parents, that they’d died, and then change the names they’d given to me is awful.”
“AITA for telling someone to not make a blanket decision on someone’s name?”
“At least let them decide if they want to?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not being an a**holy by expressing her disapproval of the children being renamed.
Just about everyone agreed with the OP that giving the children new names was insulting and politically incorrect, particularly after the horrific experience these children have been through.
“This is performative piety. “
“They want everyone to think what wonderful people they are saving poor children in Africa.”
“Changing their names is wrong and reeks of cultural erasure.”
“Maybe they’d also like to open a missionary school.”- MyCanadianBonjour
“You gave her something to think about.”
“Adopting older children who have experienced loss is a huge undertaking.”
“The fact they hadn’t considered that losing their names was part of their losing their parents speaks to their ignorance.”
“I worked in adoption and this would’ve been highly advised against.”-alwaystasks.
“NTA, just because they adopt the kids they don’t get to do whatever they want with them.”
“The decision to change their names without even speaking to them is not ok.”-TheExaltedNoob.
“NTA – they were defensive because you highlighted the issue, and they were forced to look upon it.”-movieholic-92.
“You know what Africans were taken from their home country and culture and then had their names replaced by Christian ones?”
“That’s how unapproachable their actions are.”
“This whole situation is very suspect.”
“Are the children even really orphans?”
“There’s been a lot of child trafficking scandals in the last decade, so it’s worth asking some harsh questions.”-Beginning-Ice-1005.
“That woman is taking those kids from everything they’ve ever known.”
“Then, to top it off, she is changing their identities as well.”
“Saying the name change is to help them fit it is ridiculous.”
“I work at a school, and hear all sorts of ethnic names.”
“It’s more normal to not have a Bible name these days.”-nigerianprinceas.
“All I needed to read was “’hey are saving the kids’.”
“I seriously feel bad for these children.”
“They are going to grow up in this white household and good fucking luck to them.”
“If it’s so important to her for them to have biblical names, give the MIDDLE names as the biblical names and let them keep their birth names.”
“This is so wrong.”
“NTA this is not ok.”
“A lot of times POC’s people’s names are complained about.”
“These people have the White Savior complex.”
“This is not going to reduce their trauma.”
“Instead it’s ripping away part of their culture.”-CharmedBySnakes.
“These children and have faced enough trauma and will already be dealing with enough change landing in America.”
“Having their names forcibly taken from them is a horrible start.”
“If they want to change their names later on that should be their choice.”
“These people sound like the awful kind of adoptive parents who mostly want to save children for Jesus, not be good parents to them.”- Temporary_Badger
“I’m an adoptive mom and my child has the same name they have always had, we just added our last name.”
“She is going to damage those children.”- Noinix.
“NTA she is being disrespectful to the memories of these children’s’ parents to change their names.”
“How horrible for those kids.”-GardenDivaESQ
“How about giving them Biblical names as a new middle name so you can use those if they are okay with it and when they are older they have full choice, and have not had anything taken from them?”-OkapiEli.
“My mum grew up in various African countries (albeit, brought up as the rich kid), and I’ve been to a couple myself to visit family.”
“Africa is different, it’s not worse.”
“The fact that they didn’t even think to mention which country the children are from means they already have no respect for where they come from, what their culture is, and how they should keep these children connected to their memories of home and their parents once they’ve been flown to another country to live with a couple of strangers.”
“That’s like saying you’re going to adopt an Asian baby, it’s uncomfortable.”
“And if they don’t mean saving them from their lifestyle in Africa, do they mean saving the children from being orphans?”
“Or saving them from Hell for not being Christian?”
“Because stripping them of their identity, culture, and their roots to their actual family is not saving them.”
“It’s taking vulnerable children and messing with them.”
“It’s selfish, and performative.”
“And I dread to think what happens when they respond to, and react to things in a way that isn’t culturally acceptable in America.”
“You stood up for those kids.”
“If you ever see them, ask them what their real names are, and ask them about where they come from.”- higaroth.
“Yes, PW’s daughter and her husband are doing a wonderful thing.”
“But, you are right–renaming them is wrong for all of the reasons you identified.”
“I’m sure you said it in the hope they had not thought about your perspective, which was taking away the children’s identity, and you were hoping the PW would see it.”
“These young parents need to understand these children have been traumatized and need patience and love.”
“The whole family needs to commit themselves to doing their very best for these poor kids.”
“I hope they are less focused on the good they are doing and focus on the love and care these kids will need.”
“I am sure it will be returned tenfold.”
“But it all begins with allowing the kids the autonomy of keeping their names.”
“What you said needed to be said.”
“I hope it is heard.”-General_Relative2838.
One Redditor shared a similar story, and hinted at possible lasting emotional damage to children who are renamed.
“There was also a post on here about a lady (Ethiopian) whose next door neighbors did the same thing, and the kids would always come over and get their hair done, eat her food and speak in their mother tongue.”
“The AM got jealous and asked the poster to not see her kids anymore because she was jealous.”
“They worked it out but the kids later confessed that they thought their new mom would be mad at them for saying their own names at home, so they only used them at the neighbors.”
“Erasure is sad.”
“These are children, not puppies.”-OptimistPrime527.
Considering all that these children have been through, it is indeed rather surprising that the pastor’s daughter’s first priority seems to be giving them new names.
One only hopes that they will otherwise be welcomed into a warm, loving family as they make this big adjustment into their new life.